SK Telecom says 28GHz trials go well

SK Telecom said today that tests of equipment operating at the 28GHz mmWave band, carried out since August 2015, had gone well.

The company has been testing base stations in the frequency, along with a test mobile device within a vehicle since August 2015, based on test equipment from Samsung. One of the features under test was 3D beam forming – steering antenna beams both horizontally and vertically.

Although the companies released no firm details as to speed, performance, propagation etc during the tests, nevertheless Samsung said that the field trial was a “key milestone” for 5G commercialisation, and SKT described the tests as “successful.”

SK Telecom itself has stated it wants to bring forward the first commercial deployments of 5G technology from an industry recognised 2020 time frame to 2018. To that end it formed a small splinter group with a handful of other operators to accelerate 5G trials – it called that initiative the 5G Open Trial Specification.

Samsung, which recently defined it was the target of an industry take-over, has been bullish on its ability to create value from 5G R&D – in which it positions itself as a leader. Its relationships with Korean operators, especially, is critical to this sense of itself.

28GHz is not yet a globally defined spectrum band for 5G, is often used for fixed wireless access (the UK has a current consultation on its use for that application) and was not mentioned as a 5G candidate in the recent WRC-15 Conference. Nonetheless, as well as this trial in Korea, in the USA Samsung plans to test 5G access within the band with Verizon, another of the operators signed up to the 5G Open Trial Specification grouping.