SK Telecom, Ericsson develop new small cell technology

SK Telecom — in association with mobile equipment vendor Ericsson – announced the development of a new small cell technology that removes the need for inter-cell handover.

The Korean mobile service provider says this new technology – a world’s first – enables removal of the need for inter-cell handover which is the main cause of quality degradation in the small cell environment.

The telecom service provider, which has more than 27 million mobile subscribers in Korea, accounting for over 50 percent of the market, says this is a breakthrough technology.

Handover-Free Cell technology ensures improved cell system capacity and high quality voice/data transmission, even in cell boundary areas, through adaptive coordination between base station and mobile terminal, depending on the terminal location.

SK Telecom

When a terminal is located in a cell edge, multiple base stations adjacent to the terminal jointly transmit the same signal to it, thus removing the need for inter-cell handover.

Small cell technology development is important for SK Telecom, which has over 11 million LTE subscribers as of June 2013.

The key enabling technology behind Handover-Free Cell is Transmission Mode 9 (TM-9), a core LTE-Advanced technology that SK Telecom and Ericsson demonstrated in January 2013. TM-9 defines the transmission between mobile devices and base stations.

As part of its SUPER Cell strategy, SK Telecom worked with Ericsson to develop the Handover-Free Cell technology in March 2013. The technology is designed to improve the transmission rate by 1.5 to 2 times, and total cell system capacity by 5 to 10 percent. SK Telecom plans to apply the technology to its mobile network in the first half of 2014.

In addition, SK Telecom and Ericsson demonstrated a technology called Reduced-Power Subframe (RPS), which is an upgraded version of SK Telecom’s enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC), one of the core LTE-Advanced technologies.

“SK Telecom is delighted to announce the successful development of Handover-Free Cell and Reduced-Power Subframe technologies achieved through aggressive efforts with Ericsson,” said Choi Jin-sung, executive vice president and head of ICT R&D Division at SK Telecom.

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