South Korea’s largest mobile operator announced this Monday that it plans to deploy a new network service before the year ends that is four times faster than the existing Long Term Evolution (LTE) service. SK Telecom said that it has developed what is called as the “LTE-Advanced 3 Band Carrier Aggregation (CA)” which can provide speeds of up to 300 megabits per second (Mbps).
As a comparison, regular LTE has a speed of 75Mbps while LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) has a speed of 150Mbps. The new technology developed by SK Telecom doubles the speed of LTE-A and is made possible by aggregating two different bands, 10MHz bandwidth in 800MHz band and a 20MHz bandwidth in 1.8GHz band.
The company says that consumers will be able to download an 800MB movie in just 22 seconds with LTE-Advanced 3 Band Carrier Aggregation. This is a vast improvement compared to 43 seconds using LTE-A, 85 seconds using LTE, and 7 minutes and 24 seconds on a 3G network.
According to Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center at SK Telecom, “With the successful development of “LTE-Advanced 3 Band CA”, SK Telecom further strengthens its global leadership in telecommunications technologies. SK Telecom will continue to make strenuous efforts to provide unmatched service quality and speeds, which will lead to the overall advancement of the global telecommunications industry.”
Consumers who wish to take advantage of this fast mobile Internet speed will need a device that is compatible with the technology. The current Snapdragon 800 models out in the market can only handle 2 band carrier aggregation which enables speeds of up to 150Mbps. The upcoming Snapdragon 805 models will be able to take advantage of this speed since it already supports 3 band carrier aggregation.
South Korea is making fast progress in network technology but what about the rest of the world? In North America T-Mobile has promised that it would offer features that resembles LTE-A by the end of 2013. So far little progress is being made so it may take years before the North American carriers can catch up with its South Korean counterparts.
SK Telecom will demonstrate this new technology at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.