LG U+ and SK Telecom, two rival South Korean telecommunication operators, have both recently launched LTE-TDD networks powered by Samsung. The two companies are using different solutions offered by Samsung, both hoping to take the lead in the LTE lift-off in Korea.
SK Telecom’s network went live on July 1st and is using CS fallback techniques in order to provide voice services. Looking forward, they also plan to launch a high-quality video call service that will outperform those that currently function over 3G networks. They expect to have 300,000 domestic LTE subscribers by the end of 2011 and 10 million by 2015 after their projected offer of nationwide coverage in 2013. From now until October, we will be set to see the release of 9 LTE devices: a USB dongle, LTE modem, 5 smartphones, and 2 tablets.
LG U+, which also launched on July 1, approached LTE differently by adopting enhanced High-Rate Packet Data (eHRPD), allowing the existence of seamless service mobility between LTE and CDMA networks. LG U+ says that by providing base stations that support both LTE and CDMA services, they are reducing the time and cost usually required for such deployments. With the help of Samsung, they also expect to offer voice over LTE (VoLTE) in the future. LG expects to offer nationwide coverage by July 2012, months before SK Telecom intends to do the same, while hoping for 10 million subscribers by late 2014. Their LTE network is also being built with a commercial contract signing LGEricsson with LG U+ and the Nokia Siemens Network.
Regardless of their differences, it is obvious that both mobile giants were hoping to make a big bang with the launching of their LTE services. Needless to say, both companies have achieved one major goal: helping South Korea step in to the next-generation mobile world. Eyes will definitely be on the South Korean telecommunications market, waiting for a winner to be crowned or perhaps a tie to be drawn.