SK Telecom and Samsung trial the industry’s first 5G-4G SA Option 4

SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics have completed the industry’s first 5G-4G SA Option 4 (NE-DC, New Radio–E-UTRAN Dual Connectivity) trial in SKT’s 5G Standalone (5G SA) network.
SK Telecom 5G in Korea
SA Option 4 is a dual connectivity technology that connects both 5G and 4G radios to a 5G Core in advanced 5G SA mode, enabling mobile network operators to maximize their current network resources, said Jong-Kwan Park, Vice President and Head of 5GX Technology Group at SK Telecom in a news statement.

SK Telecom and Samsung verified the 5G Option 4 technology at the SKT R&D Center to achieve the equal data speed as the NSA, using 175MHz of bandwidth, and also completed the verification of SA’s specialized functions. SK Telecom used Samsung’s 5G SA Core, 5G radios and 4G radios, which are already deployed across SKT’s 5G commercial networks.

5G Option 4 is a more advanced option than the existing 5G Standalone mode (SA Option 2) and provides the equivalent level of speed and quality as the NSA while utilizing the specialized functions of the SA Option 2 such as network slicing and the evolved 5G Core network.

SA Option 4 helps operators deliver innovative services including Urban Air Mobility (UAM), automated vehicles, remote control for heavy equipment, remote control robots and more. Network slicing creates multiple virtual networks within a single physical network infrastructure, optimizing network resources to meet specific performance needs for various services, said June Moon, Executive Vice President and Head of Technology Strategy, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics.

In the early stages of 5G, operators used E-UTRAN New Radio Dual Connectivity (EN-DC) technology to combine 5G and 4G networks in 5G NSA mode. Mobile network operators can now use SA Option 4, which is a more advanced dual connectivity technology.

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