LTE in Korea 2013

LTE IN KOREA 2013

November 30, 2013

013
www.netmanias.com
NMC Consulting Group (tech@netmanias.com)

...
LTE in Korea 2013
Table of Contents
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1

1

INTRODUCTION: KOREA, THE MOST ADVANCED LTE MARKET IN THE WORL...
LTE in Korea 2013

Executive Summary
Korea, with its most innovative IT technologies, has been a leading country, frequent...
LTE in Korea 2013
 LTE-A devices: As of Nov. 2013, nine LTE-A smartphone models and one LTE-A smartpad model are
availabl...
LTE in Korea 2013
1

Introduction: Korea, the Most Advanced LTE Market in the World
SK Telecom and LG U+ launched LTE serv...
LTE in Korea 2013
Table 1-1. ARPU Q3 2013 [KRW]
SK Telecom

KT

LG U+

LTE ARPU

46,000

44,000

46,000

Blended ARPU (2G/...
LTE in Korea 2013

LG U+ (Korea)
SK Telecom (Korea)
KT (Korea)
Verizon (US)
Docomo (Japan)

4G (LTE)

61.1%

3G (WCDMA)

4...
LTE in Korea 2013
2.1

SK Telecom
As of September 2013, SK Telecom, with 27.2 million subscribers (accounting for 50.2% of...
LTE in Korea 2013

Figure 2-3. LTE Network Architecture Case Study: SK Telecom

2.2

KT
KT, the second largest mobile oper...
LTE in Korea 2013
16.3M

With this upgrade, competition among the three
operators to provide mobile IPTV services with the...
LTE in Korea 2013
In August 2012, LG U+, with SK Telecom, launched the world’s first VoLTE service, and it provides the
se...
LTE in Korea 2013

1. Prior to the August 2013
Auction

800 MHz
Band 26

2. The Result of the LTE Frequency
Auction on Aug...
LTE in Korea 2013
In the August auction, KT was allocated contiguous block at 1800 MHz right next to its current holding.
...
LTE in Korea 2013
Seoul metropolitan areas on September 14, 2013, for the first time in Korea. Also, in November, it
compl...
LTE in Korea 2013

All the KT and SK Telecom subscribers in Seoul metropolitan areas can enjoy maximum downlink speeds up ...
LTE in Korea 2013
Using this CA, SK Telecom and KT can combine up to 30 MHz while LG U+ can combine up to 30 or 40
MHz. Th...
LTE in Korea 2013

We have discussed the previous and scheduled commercialization of LTE FDD frequency in Korea. In
summar...
LTE in Korea 2013
Mobile users can subscribe to any mobile IPTV
service, and use the video service there, at no cost or
wi...
LTE in Korea 2013
In September 2013, SK Telecom commercialized “Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC)” technology,
co...
LTE in Korea 2013
No. of LTE-A base stations: As of September 2013, SK Telecom has 22,980 LTE-A base stations, LG U+ has
8...
LTE in Korea 2013
Table 5-3. No. of Wideband LTE base stations per operator
Year
Installed

6

SK Telecom

KT

LG U+

Sep....
LTE in Korea 2013

Figure 7-1. 4G LTE essential patent candidates (as of May 2013)

8

Conclusions
In 2013, Korea saw many...
LTE in Korea 2013
Abbreviations
ABC
AMR-WB
BW
CA
CAPEX
CCC
CoMP
C-RAN
COT
CSFB
DL
DU
eNB
EPC
FDD
FTTH
HD
HLS
IMS
IP
LTE
LT...
LTE in Korea 2013

Netmanias Research and Consulting Scope
99

00

01

02

03

04

05

06

07

08

09

10

11

12

13

eMB...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

LTE in Korea 2013

2,932 views

Published on

Download a PDF file: http://www.netmanias.com/en/?m=view&id=reports&no=6060
You can also find and download more materials from http://www.netmanias.com

Published in: Technology, Business, Travel

LTE in Korea 2013

  1. 1. LTE in Korea 2013 LTE IN KOREA 2013 November 30, 2013 013 www.netmanias.com NMC Consulting Group (tech@netmanias.com) About NMC Consulting Group NMC Consulting Group is an advanced and professional network consulting company, specializing in IP network areas (e.g., FTTH, Me tro Ethernet and IP/MPLS), service areas (e.g., IPTV, IMS and CDN), and wireless network areas (e.g., Mobile WiMAX, LTE and Wi-Fi) since 2002. Copyright © 2002-2013 NMC Consulting Group. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. LTE in Korea 2013 Table of Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION: KOREA, THE MOST ADVANCED LTE MARKET IN THE WORLD 3 2 LTE DEPLOYMENT STATUS BY OPERATORS IN KOREA 5 2.1 6 2.2 KT 7 2.3 3 SK TELECOM LG U+ 8 LTE FREQUENCY COMMERCIALIZATION STATUS IN KOREA 9 3.1 3.2 THE RESULT OF THE LTE FREQUENCY AUCTION ON AUGUST 30, 2013 10 3.3 AFTER THE AUGUST 2013 AUCTION (AS OF NOVEMBER 2013) 11 3.4 4 PRIOR TO THE AUGUST 2013 AUCTION 9 PLANS FOR FURTHER COMMERCIALIZATION OF LTE FREQUENCY IN 2014 13 LTE SERVICES: MOBILE BROADBAND, MOBILE IPTV AND VOLTE 15 4.1 MOBILE BROADBAND SERVICE 15 4.2 MOBILE IPTV 15 4.3 VOLTE 16 5 LTE EQUIPMENT 17 6 LTE DEVICES 19 7 LTE PATENTS 19 8 CONCLUSIONS 20 ABBREVIATIONS 21
  3. 3. LTE in Korea 2013 Executive Summary Korea, with its most innovative IT technologies, has been a leading country, frequently serving as a global reference country, in the global LTE market. Korea saw a great leap forward in its LTE industry this year. This report will summarize the various progresses and changes made so far in the Korean LTE technologies and market. Key Highlights  World’s first commercialization of LTE-A: By SK Telecom in June, 2013, followed by LG U+ and KT.1  World’s first LTE-A device: SK Telecom and Samsung launched Samsung Galaxy S4 that features Carrier Aggregation (CA) for the first time in the world in June 2013.2  World’s highest LTE penetration: As of Q2 2013, Korea recorded the highest LTE penetration at unbeatable 47%3 (Singapore was in the second place with 23%, and the world average was 1.8%).  World’s first commercialization of full HD mobile IPTV services: SK Telecom launched B tv Mobile service in July 2013, providing full HD for the first time in the world.4  World’s first commercialization of 4-channel multi-view service: LG U+ began U+ HDTV, a mobile IPTV service, in July 2013, allowing 4 live channels in one screen for the first time in the world.5  World’s first commercialization of Seamless VoLTE service: All 3 Korean operators commercialized VoLTE service in 2012.6 SK Telecom employed Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC) technology in the VoLTE service for the first time in the world in Sep. 2013.7  World’s first commercialization of wideband LTE femtocell: KT developed wideband LTE home femtocells in Nov. 2013 for the first time in the world, and began to commercially build LTE femto networks.8  No. of LTE subscribers: As of Q2 2013, Korea has 23 million LTE subscribers, accounting for 10% of the global total.9  Wideband LTE frequency auction: In the LTE frequency auction held on August 30, 2013, all 3 Korean operators obtained 20 MHz wideband in downlink.10  LTE patent: As of May, 2013, Korean patents account for 48%, the highest share, of all the LTE RAN standard essential patent candidates registered at the US Patent and Trademark Office.11 1 SK Telecom, LG U+ and KT press release SK Telecom press release 3 Informa 4 SK Telecom press release 5 LG U+ press release 6 SK Telecom and LG U+ launchedthe VoLTE service in Aug. 2012 for the first time in the world, followed by KT who launched the same service in Oct. 2012 (source: SK Telecom, LG U+ and KT press release). 7 SK Telecom press release 8 KT press release 9 Informa 10 the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning 2 1
  4. 4. LTE in Korea 2013  LTE-A devices: As of Nov. 2013, nine LTE-A smartphone models and one LTE-A smartpad model are available in the market. 12  C-RAN deployment: KT and SK Telecom divided conventional standalone eNBs into RUs and DUs, and built LTE C-RAN in 2012. KT’s C-RANs are called “Cloud Communication Center (CCC)” and SK Telecom’s are called “Advanced Smart Cloud Access Network (A-SCAN)”.13 KT’s LTE network is a 100% CCC network in 2013.  Smartphone market share: As of Q3 2013, Korea has 47% of market share in the global LTE smartphone market.14 Global mobile 4G (LTE) penetration in Q2 2013 47.2% 22.9% 20.7% 19.6% 16.8% 11.2% 6.7% 1.8% South Korea Singapore Japan USA Australia Sweden 1.1% 0.6% Canada UK Germany Russia 1.1 0.9 0.9 0.7 Russia Germany UK Global mobile 4G (LTE) subscribers in Q2 2013 62.5 26.1 23 3.9 USA Japan South Korea 2.3 1.2 Australia Canada Singapore Sweden Figure 1. LTE penetration and subscriber numbers (Source: Informa) 11 12 13 14 TechIPm SK Telecom: http://www.tworld.co.kr, KT: http://shop.olleh.com, LG U+: http://uplus.co.kr KT and SK Telecom press release Strategy Analytics 2
  5. 5. LTE in Korea 2013 1 Introduction: Korea, the Most Advanced LTE Market in the World SK Telecom and LG U+ launched LTE service back in July 2011, offering a maximum downlink speed of 75 Mbps. Shortly after in January 2012, KT also joined them, providing the same service. In August 2011, SK Telecom and LG U+ began offering VoLTE service for the first time in the world, followed by KT’s service offered two months later. In June 2013, SK Telecom became the world’s first LTE-A service provider. Before long, LG U+ and KT joined the market in July and September, respectively. Now they all provide LTE-A service with a maximum speed of 150 Mbps. This made Korea the only country in the globe where LTE-A service is available from all of its operators.15 Last two years since the commercialization of LTE service in 2011 saw a significant increase in the number of LTE service subscribers. As of September 2013, Korea has 54.2 million mobile service users in total, and 47.3% of them (25.6 million) have switched to the LTE service within the two years.16 Although Korea joined the LTE market after USA (Verizon) or Japan (NTT DoCoMo), the transition to LTE in Korea was way faster than in the two countries. The industry expects the number of LTE subscribers to continue to grow, exceeding 28 million, which will account for more than 50% of the total mobile service users, by the end of the year. The fast transition to LTE, i.e. from 2G or 3G to LTE, was facilitated by aggressive marketing strategies of the three operators. The Korean operators have been competing fiercely for LTE subscribers because of their high ARPU. They have competitively offered deals, discounts, promotions and various benefits to attract more LTE subscribers. Also, almost all the new phone models released recently were designed for LTE. This also accelerated the transition. In addition, Koreans, early adopters of cutting edge technologies, hate to wait for slow services, and love to try new services and phones and share their reviews with others. This tendency of Korean users has also contributed to the fast transition to LTE. As of September 2013, Korea has 54.2 million mobile service users. Considering the fact that the country’s population is 50.2 million, its mobile penetration is 108%. Besides, 36.6 million users, which account for 67.5% of the total users, are using smartphones. Due to the increasing number of LTE service users and high popularity of smartphones, the monthly LTE traffic over the last one year has increased by 298%, from 18.0 petabyte (PB) to 53.6 PB. The average mobile traffic per user of LTE is 2.3 gigabyte (GB), which is almost twice as much as 3G’s 1.3 GB. 15 According to GSA, LTE-Advance service is available only from SK Telecom, KT and LG U+, all Korean operators, as of Oct. 2013. 16 The no. of subscribers in this report is based on the data by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. 3
  6. 6. LTE in Korea 2013 Table 1-1. ARPU Q3 2013 [KRW] SK Telecom KT LG U+ LTE ARPU 46,000 44,000 46,000 Blended ARPU (2G/3G/4G) 34,909 31,332 34,495 Source: SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ Table 1-2 below shows the three operators’ LTE services that are currently available and scheduled in near future. Their downlink speed this year was 150 Mbps, and they plan to improve the speed up to 225 Mbps next year. Table 1-2. Three Korean operators’ current and planned LTE services MAX Speed/User BW (DL) CA (LTE-A) SK Telecom KT LG U+ 75 Mbps 10 MHz none Jul. 2011 Jan. 2012 Jul. 2011 150 Mbps 20 MHz* 10+10 MHz Jun. 2013 Sep. 2013 Jul. 2013 150 Mbps 20 MHz** none Sep. 2013 Sep. 2013 Planned (Dec. 2013) 225 Mbps 30 MHz 10+20 MHz Planned (2014) Planned (2014) Planned (2014) 300 Mbps 40 MHz 10+10+20 MHz none none Planned (2015) * CA, ** Wideband LTE Source: SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ Given the Korea’s well-established networks, subscriber ratios, various services developed, etc., Korea certainly is leading the global LTE/LTE-A market, and will continue to do so as the number of LTE subscribers and the amount of mobile traffic grow. 60 2G & 3G 45 4G LTE 2G 40 50 3G 35 30 40 4G 25 30 20 15 20 10 10 0 5 0 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2011 2012 2012 2013 2013 Q1 Q2 Q3 2007 2007 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 2008 2008 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 2009 2009 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 2010 2010 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 2011 2011 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 2012 2013 2012 2013 Figure 1-1. Migration to LTE Figure 1-2. Migration to LTE [Million] 47.3% of the total mobile subscribers are subscribing to LTE services 4G subscribers in Korea outnumbered 3G subscribers in June 2013 4
  7. 7. LTE in Korea 2013 LG U+ (Korea) SK Telecom (Korea) KT (Korea) Verizon (US) Docomo (Japan) 4G (LTE) 61.1% 3G (WCDMA) 45.1% 41.8% 37.8% 54 18 26.5% 3 23 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 2011 2012 15 2012 2013 2013 Figure 1-3. LTE penetration 2 Figure 1-4. Mobile data usage in Korea [PB/Month] Especially, LG U+ with 61.1%, almost twice as high as America’s Verizon or Japan’s NTT DoCoMo who began the service first. Monthly LTE traffic grew by 298% from 18.0 PB to 53.6 PB over the past one year. LTE Deployment Status by Operators in Korea The three mobile operators in Korea are all providing LTE/LTE-A services. As of Q2 2013, there are 126 million LTE subscribers globally. Korea has 23 million LTE subscribers, accounting for 18% of the global total. For the same period, Korea has the highest LTE penetration of 47.2%, which was more than twice as high as that of the second highest group such as Singapore, Japan and the USA. 14 12 12.3M SK Telecom KT LG U+ As of Q3 2012, Korea has a total of 25.6 million LTE subscribers, consisting of SK Telecom’s 12.3 million, KT’s 6.8 million and LG U+’s 6.5 million subscribers. 10 SK Telecom has by far the largest share of 47.9%, 8 6.8M and KT and LG U+ are running neck and neck for the second position. 6 6.5M Below, we will briefly demonstrate how the 4 services offered by the three Korean operators 2 have changed and evolved over time. 0 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2011 2011 2012 2012 2013 2013 Figure 2-1. LTE subscribers growth by operator 5
  8. 8. LTE in Korea 2013 2.1 SK Telecom As of September 2013, SK Telecom, with 27.2 million subscribers (accounting for 50.2% of the national total), is in the leading position in the Korean mobile market. 45.1% of its total users, 12.3 million, are subscribing to LTE. By mid-October, 2013, only 3.5 months after the commercialization of LTE-A, the number of LTE-A subscribers had already exceeded 1 million. 27.2M SK Telecom launched the commercial LTE service on July 1, 2011 in 20 MHz (DL/UL = 10/10 MHz) at 850 4G (LTE) 12.3M (45.1%) MHz band (Band 5), providing a maximum downlink speed of 75 Mbps. Later in July 2012, it commercialized 20 MHz (DL/UL = 10/10 MHz) at 1800 MHz band (Band 3) and launched Multi-Carrier 3G (WCDMA) (MC) service using 850 MHz and 1800 MHz, again for 10.8M (39.8%) the first time in the world. SK Telecom launched the world’s first LTE- 2G(CDMA) 4.1M (15.1%) 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2011 2012 2012 2013 2013 Figure 2-2. SK Telecom subscribers - split per network: 45.1% of SK Telecom subscribers are subscribing to LTE services. Advanced (hereinafter referred to as “LTE-A”) service in June 2013. This LTE-A service employs Carrier Aggregation (CA) technology that combines Band 3 and Band 5 spectrums, and was launched through Samsung Galaxy S4 phones, the only category 4 devices at the time. SK Telecom won 35 MHz (DL/UL = 20/15 MHz) of 1800 MHz band in August 2013 auction, and has provided Wideband LTE service in Seoul metropolitan areas since September. The company plans to expand to nationwide coverage by June 2014. It also plans to boost downlink speeds up to 225 Mbps by using CA to combine 30 MHz of spectrum at the Band 3 (20 MHz) and Band 5 (10 MHz) in 2014. SK Telecom began “HD Voice” VoLTE service for the first time in the world in August 2011. Initially the VoLTE service had been based on Circuit Switched FallBack (CSFB). Then later in September 2013, it was upgraded to be based on Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC), now supporting handovers between 3G and LTE networks. The company launched the world’s first commercial LTE femtocell (850 MHz, Band 5) service in June 2012. SK Telecom, with its commercialization of LTE-A in June 2013, launched the world first’s Full HD (1080p, 4 Mbps) streaming for mobile devices (B tv Mobile) as an effort to promote LTE-A. Now the company is providing 72 channels. SK Telecom has been building its fronthaul network using HFR’s Active WDM technology since 2011 and is known to have a plan to achieve 100% of BBU concentration in major cities by 2015. For more efficient handling of soaring LTE traffic, it began migration of its existing PTN-based backhaul network (Alcatel, Huawei) into IP/MPLS network (Alcatel, Cisco) in October 2013. 6
  9. 9. LTE in Korea 2013 Figure 2-3. LTE Network Architecture Case Study: SK Telecom 2.2 KT KT, the second largest mobile operator in Korea, has 16.3 million mobile subscribers (accounting for 30.1% of the national total) as of September 2013. 41.8% of KT’s total users, 6.8 million, are subscribing to LTE KT was the last one to join the LTE market, and began the LTE service using 1800 MHz (Band 3) in January 2012. By combining the additional 10 MHz at 1800 MHz spectrum that it won in the August 2013 auction with its existing 10 MHz, KT could secure 20 MHz of DL wideband. This allowed the company to offer Wideband LTE service from September. At the same time, with the commercialization of 900 MHz (Band 8), KT also launched the LTE-A service by using CA that combines Band 3 and Band 8, for the third time in Korea AND in the world. In November 2013, it began the commercialized Wideband LTE home femtocell service for the first time in the world. KT commercialized public LTE Femto cell later in June 2012, and became the third VoLTE service provider in Korea, following SK Telecom and LG U+, in October 2012. The company upgraded the quality of its Olleh TV Mobile service to the HD quality and 4 Mbps version in June 2013 for the first time in Korea. 7
  10. 10. LTE in Korea 2013 16.3M With this upgrade, competition among the three operators to provide mobile IPTV services with the 4G (LTE) 6.8M (41.8%) best video quality has become even fiercer than ever. Last October, KT introduced the Always Best Connected (ABC) solution (from Airplug) in its Olleh 3G (WCDMA) 9.5M (58.2%) TV Mobile service that features uninterrupted HD video streaming/playback and reduced data usage. This solution automatically connects to a Wi-Fi, 3G or LTE network that is best-suited to the network condition, and ensures videos are played uninterruptedly. Designed to be 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2,011 2012 2012 2013 2013 Figure 2-4. KT Subscribers – split per network used as an app, it helps a device to find the best possible Wi-Fi network, once activated. If the network condition is poor, the network delivers video contents through a single data pipe by bonding WiFi and 3G/LTE channels. KT claims that the solution would reduce a device’s 3G/LTE data usage by up to 80%. 2.3 LG U+ As of September 2013, LG U+, the third largest 10.7M mobile operator in Korea, has 10.7 million mobile subscribers (accounting for 19.7% of the national total). It also has the highest penetration, with 4G (LTE) 6.5M (61.1%) 61.1% of its mobile service users (i.e. 6.5 million) subscribing to LTE service, followed by SK Telecom at 45.1%, KT at 41.8%, Verizon (in the USA) at 37.8%, and NTT DoCoMo (in Japan) at 26.5%. 2G(CDMA) 4.2M (38.9%) The company began its LTE service using 850 MHz (Band 5) in July 2011. Then a year later in July 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2011 2012 2012 2013 2013 Figure 2-5. LG U+ Subscribers – split per network 2012, it launched Multi-carrier (MC) service using its existent 850 MHz (Band 5) and the newly commercialized 2100 MHz (Band 1). LG U+, with no 3G network, completed construction of a nationwide LTE network for the first time in the world in April 2012. Then in July 2013, it launched LTE-A service for the second time in the world by using the CA technique that allows combining of Band 1 and Band 5 carriers. With the additional 20 MHz (DL) at 2600 MHz band (Band 7) that it won in the August 2013 auction, it is currently working on construction of a new network. 8
  11. 11. LTE in Korea 2013 In August 2012, LG U+, with SK Telecom, launched the world’s first VoLTE service, and it provides the service, using only its LTE network, without interworking with its existent CDMA network. In July 2013, Multi-view service (U+ HDTV) that allows users to watch four live channels all at the same time in one screen was introduced, again for the first time in the world. 3 LTE Frequency Commercialization Status in Korea In August 2013, there was a frequency auction in 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands. So, we will look into how LTE frequencies have been commercialized in Korea through the following four phases: i) before the August 2013 auction, ii) the results of the auction, iii) the commercialization status of acquired LTE frequencies as of November 2013, and iv) plans for further commercialization in 2014. 3.1 Prior to the August 2013 Auction Table 3-1 shows LTE frequency bands allocated to the three mobile operators in Korea before the auction 17 . Table 3-2 shows different band combinations used in Carrier Aggregation (CA) services18. CA is applied only to downlink direction, and compatible with Cat 4 devices only. A Cat. 4 device using CA can receive data at a maximum speed of 150 Mbps. Table 3-1. LTE Frequency bands used in commercial networks in Korea (before Aug. 30, 2013) Operating band BW Launched Coverage KT 850 MHz (Band 5) 10 MHz 10 MHz Jul. 2011 (LTE) Primary freq. (nationwide) 1800 MHz (Band 3) 10 MHz 10 MHz Jul. 2012 (MC) Supplementary freq. (84 major cities) 850 MHz (Band 5) 10 MHz 10 MHz Jul. 2011 (LTE) Primary freq. (nationwide) 2100 MHz (Band 1) 10 MHz 10 MHz Jul. 2012 (MC) Supplementary freq. (84 major cities) 10 MHz 10 MHz Jan. 2012 (LTE) Primary freq. (nationwide) 900 MHz (Band 8) 10 MHz 10 MHz Not commercialized - 800 MHz (Band 26) LG U+ UL 1800 MHz (Band 3) SK Telecom DL 5 MHz 5 MHz Not commercialized - Table 3-2. LTE-A (Carrier Aggregation) services in Korea (as of Aug. 2013) # of band Carriers BW (DL) Max. rate (DL) Launched Coverage SK Telecom 2-band 850 MHz (B5) +1800 MHz (B3) 20 (10+10) MHz 150 Mbps Jun. 2013 84 major cities LG U+ 2-band 850 MHz (B5) + 2100 MHz (B1) 20 (10+10) MHz 150 Mbps Jul. 2013 84 major cities SK Telecom and LG U+ launched LTE-A service by using CA that allows combining of two separate radio channels in June and July, respectively. At that time, KT had not provided the service yet. And that mainly caused the decline in its subscribers this year. 17 18 KT’s 900 MHz band (Band 8) was commercialized in Sep. 2013 KT launched the 2-band CA (B3_ B8) service in Sep. 2013. 9
  12. 12. LTE in Korea 2013 1. Prior to the August 2013 Auction 800 MHz Band 26 2. The Result of the LTE Frequency Auction on August 30, 2013 3. After the August 2013 Auction (as of November 2013) KT Uplink 819 824 4. Plans for Further Commercialization of LTE Frequency in 2014 KT Downlink launched 2011.07 2011.07 MHz 864 869 2011.07 2011.07 Primary Primary 850 MHz Band 5 SKT 829 Primary Primary SKT LG U+ 839 LG U+ SKT (DL) 849 874 884 2013.06 900 MHz Band 8 KT 905 KT 1745 150 150 Primary Supplem. SKT 1755 MHz 950 960 2011.03 2012.07 Primary Supplem. 1800 MHz Band 3 2013.07 KT 915 2011.03 2012.07 MHz 894 KT 1765 2012.07 1840 SKT 1850 Supplem. 2100 MHz Band 1 Supplem. LG U+ 1920 MHz 1860 2012.07 LG U+ 1930 2110 MHz 2120 2600 MHz Band 7 MHz LTE Spectrum UE Commercialized Carrier Aggregation (CA) UE Type (Category) Max. Speed Operator UE Type (Category) CA Type BW Max. Speed LTE (Cat. 3) 75 Mbps SKT LTE-A (Cat. 4) 2-Band 20 MHz: [B5]10 + [B3]10 150 Mbps LTE-A (Cat. 4) Not commercialized 150 Mbps (CA) LG U+ LTE-A (Cat. 4) 2-Band 20 MHz: [B5]10 + [B1]10 150 Mbps SK Telecom and LG U+ started LTE-A service. Carrier Aggregation (CA) is applied to DL and Cat. 4 devices only. MC is used in Cat. 3 devices. The maximum DL speed is 150 Mbps if CA is used. Figure 3-1. LTE frequency bands used in commercial networks before the frequency auction in 2013 3.2 The Result of the LTE Frequency Auction on August 30, 2013 On August 30, 2013, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced the results of the LTE frequency auction for 1800 MHz (Band 3) and 2600 MHz (Band 7) bands as shown in Table 3-3 below. As a result of the auction, SK Telecom won additional 35 MHz (DL/UL = 20/15 MHz) at 1800 MHz band, KT acquired additional 15 MHz (DL/UL = 10/5 MHz) at 1800 MHz band, and LG U+ won additional 40 MHz (DL/UL = 20/20 MHz) at 2600 MHz band. Through this auction, all of them were able to secure their own Wideband LTE bands. Table 3-3. Allocated frequencies after the auction on Aug. 30, 2013 Frequency band BW (DL/UL) Contract price Restrictions SK Telecom 1800 MHz (Band 3) 35 (20/15) MHz US$ 949 million 20 MHz at its existing 1800 MHz band must be returned within 6 months KT 1800 MHz (Band 3) 15 (10/5) MHz US$ 813 million Nationwide service can be available from July 2014 only LG U+ 2600 MHz (Band 7) 40 (20/20) MHz US$ 432 million 10
  13. 13. LTE in Korea 2013 In the August auction, KT was allocated contiguous block at 1800 MHz right next to its current holding. The allocation put the company in the most advantageous position to build a 20 MHz wideband LTE network. Unlike its competitors, KT has its nationwide LTE network in 1800 MHz band. So, KT is able to provide nationwide Wideband LTE service at a twice faster rate than its competitors with minimum CAPEX. For fair competition among the operators, the Korean government has imposed certain restrictions on KT. It, therefore, was not allowed to launch its nationwide Wideband LTE service before July 2014. Figure 3-2 shows the LTE frequency bands allocated to the three operators before AND after the August 2013 auction. 1. Prior to the August 2013 Auction 800 MHz Band 26 2. The Result of the LTE Frequency Auction on August 30, 2013 3. After the August 2013 Auction (as of November 2013) KT Uplink 819 824 4. Plans for Further Commercialization of LTE Frequency in 2014 KT Downlink MHz 864 869 launched 2011.07 2011.07 2011.07 2011.07 Primary Primary 850 MHz Band 5 SKT 829 Primary Primary SKT LG U+ 839 849 1 Securing of Wideband LTE, 20 MHz 874 3 Restriction Condition: KT KT 905 915 2011.03 2012.07 SKT 1715 SKT KT 1725 1735 KT 1745 150 SKT 2 1765 2012.07 1810 1820 1 Supplem. 3 2100 MHz Band 1 1920 KT 1830 KT 1840 1 1850 1930 LTE Spectrum 2530 UE Not commercialized Results of the Auction SKT: return within 6 months 1860 2012.07 MHz Supplem. MHz LG U+ 2540 2640 2650 2660 MHz Carrier Aggregation (CA) UE Type (Category) Commercialized 2 KT: Wideband LTE service area restriction LG U+ 2013.09 ~ : Seoul metropolitan areas 2110 2120 2014.03 ~ : Metropolitan cities 2014.07 ~ : Nationwide 1 LG U+ 2520 MHz SKT 3 LG U+ 2600 MHz Band 7 150 KT Primary Supplem. SKT 1755 MHz 894 2013.07 950 960 2011.03 2012.07 Primary Supplem. 1800 MHz Band 3 884 2013.06 2 Restriction Condition: SKT 900 MHz Band 8 LG U+ SKT (DL) Max. Speed Operator UE Type (Category) CA Type BW Max. Speed LTE (Cat. 3) 75 Mbps SKT LTE-A (Cat. 4) 2-Band 20 MHz: [B5]10 + [B3]10 150 Mbps LTE-A (Cat. 4) 150 Mbps (CA) LG U+ LTE-A (Cat. 4) 2-Band 20 MHz: [B5]10 + [B1]10 150 Mbps All three operators could secure Wideband LTE, 20 MHz in DL. Restriction 1: SK Telecom must return its existent carrier in 1800 MHz band. Restriction 2: Imposed on KT’s Wideband LTE service launching. No nationwide service before July 2014. Figure 3-2. The results of the LTE frequency auction on August 30, 2013 3.3 After the August 2013 Auction (as of November 2013) Figure 3-3 shows the LTE spectrum allocation spread in Korea reflecting the results of the latest spectrum auction. Combining newly acquired 1800 MHz spectrum with its existing 1800 MHz holdings, KT now has 20 MHz of continuous DL spectrum. With that, the company launched the commercial Wideband LTE service in 11
  14. 14. LTE in Korea 2013 Seoul metropolitan areas on September 14, 2013, for the first time in Korea. Also, in November, it completed construction of a wideband LTE network for Seoul metropolitan areas. On September 14, 2013, the company commercialized its 900 MHz spectrum, and joined the LTE-A service market, providing CA technology that combines its two 10 MHz spectrums (at 900 MHz and 1.8 GHz bands) for other regions. SK Telecom began offering the commercial Wideband LTE service using the newly acquired DL 20 MHz at 1800 MHz band in Seoul metropolitan areas on September 30, 2013. It plans to build a Wideband LTE network in Seoul metropolitan area by the end of November. LG U+ has already started building a new 2600 MHz network, and said it plans to start the Wideband LTE service using DL 20 MHz at 2600 MHz band in Seoul metropolitan areas in December 2013. 1. Prior to the August 2013 Auction 800 MHz Band 26 2. The Result of the LTE Frequency Auction on August 30, 2013 3. After the August 2013 Auction (as of November 2013) KT Uplink 4. Plans for Further Commercialization of LTE Frequency in 2014 KT Downlink 819 824 MHz 864 869 launched 2011.07 2011.07 2011.07 2011.07 Primary Primary SKT SKT (UL) 850 MHz Band 5 829 2013.09 Primary Primary LG U+ 839 SKT 849 Supplem. 900 MHz Band 8 KT 905 2013.09 SMA SMA SMA Primary Supplem. SKT SKT KT 2013.09 1800 MHz Band 3 1715 1725 1735 KT 1745 KT 150 915 2011.03 2012.07 SMA: Seoul Metropolitan Areas SKT SKT 1765 2012.07 1810 150 LG U+ 1920 1820 Seoul Metro. Area KT 1830 Wideband LTE Supplem. 2100 MHz Band 1 1840 1850 Wideband LTE 100 150 LTE Spectrum Commercialized Not commercialized Results of the Auction MHz 2530 SKT MHz 1860 2012.07 LG U+ 100 150 1930 2110 MHz 2120 2012.12 LG U+ 2520 150 Supplem. 2012.12 2600 MHz Band 7 MHz 950 960 2013.09 2011 .03 2012.07 Seoul Metro. Area 2013.09 Primary Supplem. SKT 1755 LG U+ 874 884 894 2013.09 2013.09 Supplem. 2013.06 2013.07 LG U+ 2540 2640 UE Operator MHz 2660 Carrier Aggregation (CA) UE Type (Category) Max. Speed 2650 LTE (Cat 3) 100 Mbps (Wideband LTE) LTE-A (Cat 4) 150 Mbps (Wideband LTE) 150 Mbps (CA) UE Type (Category) CA Type BW Max. Speed SKT LTE-A (Cat 4) 2-Band CA 20 MHz: [B5]10 + [B3]10 150 Mbps KT LG U+ LTE-A (Cat 4) 2-Band CA 20 MHz: [B3]10 + [B8]10 150 Mbps LTE-A (Cat 4) 2-Band CA 20 MHz: [B5]10 + [B1]10 150 Mbps SK Telecom and KT launched Wideband LTE service in Seoul metropolitan areas in Sep. 2013. LG U+ started construction of a 2600 MHz Wideband LTE network. KT launched LTE-A service using CA in Sep. 2013. Figure 3-3. LTE frequency bands used in commercial networks after the frequency auction in 2013 With the launch of the Wideband LTE service in Seoul metropolitan areas, the existing customers with LTE phones (Cat. 3 device) incompatible with CA can enjoy 100 Mbps maximum speed without changing phones. In addition, customers with LTE-A phones (Cat. 4 device) can enjoy 150 Mbps maximum speed even without using CA. Table 3-4 illustrates the current CA services by the three Korean operators, and Table 3-5 shows the current Wideband LTE services by the three. 12
  15. 15. LTE in Korea 2013 All the KT and SK Telecom subscribers in Seoul metropolitan areas can enjoy maximum downlink speeds up to 150 Mbps when using the Wideband LTE service. Those in the regions excluding Seoul metropolitan areas can communicate at maximum downlink speeds of 150 Mbps when using LTE-A service based on CA technique. Table 3-4. LTE-A (Carrier Aggregation) services in Korea (Nov. 2013) # of band Carriers BW (DL) Max. rate (DL) Launched Coverage SK Telecom 2-Band 850 MHz (B5) +1800 MHz (B3) 20 (10+10) MHz 150 Mbps Jun. 2013 84 major cities LG U+ 2-Band 850 MHz (B5) + 2100 MHz (B1) 20 (10+10) MHz 150 Mbps Jul. 2013 84 major cities KT 2-Band 1800 MHz (B3) +900 MHz (B8) 20 (10+10) MHz 150 Mbps Sep. 2013 Metropolitan cities* * To be expanded to include 84 major cities Table 3-5. Wideband LTE services in Korea (Nov. 2013) Carriers Max. rate (DL) Launched Coverage SK Telecom 1800 MHz (Band 3) 20 MHz 150 Mbps Sep. 2013 Seoul metropolitan areas LG U+ 2600 MHz (Band 7) 20 MHz 150 Mbps Dec. 2013 (planned) Part of Seoul metropolitan areas KT 3.4 BW (DL) 1800 MHz (Band 3) 20 MHz 150 Mbps 2013. 09 Seoul metropolitan areas Plans for Further Commercialization of LTE Frequency in 2014 All three Korean mobile operators plan to build nationwide networks operating with Wideband LTE carriers. KT has already completed its nationwide LTE network in 1800 MHz band. So, it can begin its Wideband LTE service nationwide right away once restrictions imposed upon spectrum auction are released in July 2014. SK Telecom has completed construction of a nationwide network in 850 MHz band. However, what it acquired in the auction was Wideband LTE frequency at 1800 MHz band. Therefore, unlike KT, additional CAPEX is needed to build a nationwide network in the band. SK Telecom also plans to open a nationwide wideband LTE network in July 2014. LG U+ is also planning to build a nationwide network in 2.6 GHz and launch Wideband LTE service in July 2014. In 2014, all three operators will launch CA by combining their Wideband LTE (20 MHz) and existing 10 MHz. They all announced their plan to provide 225 Mbps downlink speeds by employing Wideband LTE carrier-involved CA in 2014. 13
  16. 16. LTE in Korea 2013 Using this CA, SK Telecom and KT can combine up to 30 MHz while LG U+ can combine up to 30 or 40 MHz. Then, users can enjoy max downlink speeds of 225 Mbps when using 30 MHz bandwidth, and 300 Mbps when using 40 MHz bandwidth. LG U+ can combine bandwidths up to 40 MHz, and thus it plans to support 300 Mbps using 3-band A in 2015. The CA technique cannot be employed in Cat. 4 devices that support only up to 150 Mbps. So, new devices (e.g., Cat. 6 devices) that support up to 300 Mbps are to be released in 2014. Table 3-6. Planned LTE services in 2014 # of band CA BW (DL) Max. rate (DL) Launched SK Telecom 2-Band 20 MHz (B3) + 10 MHz (B5) 30 MHz 225 Mbps Planned (2014) LG U+ 2-Band 20 MHz (B7) + 10 MHz (B5) 20 MHz (B7) + 10 MHz (B1) 30 MHz 225 Mbps Planned (2014) KT 2-Band 20 MHz (B3) + 10 MHz (B8) 30 MHz 225 Mbps Planned (2014) 1. Prior to the August 2013 Auction 800 MHz Band 26 2. The Result of the LTE Frequency Auction on August 30, 2013 3. After the August 2013 Auction (as of November 2013) KT Uplink 4. Plans for Further Commercialization of LTE Frequency in 2014 KT Downlink 819 824 2011.07 2011.07 MHz 864 869 launched 2011.07 2011.07 Primary Primary SKT SKT (UL) 850 MHz Band 5 829 2013.09 Primary Primary LG U+ 839 SKT 849 Supplem. 900 MHz Band 8 874 2013.09 2014 2013.09 2013.09 NW 2014 1715 SKT KT 2013.09 NW Pri. (NW) Pri. (NW) SKT 1800 MHz Band 3 1725 1735 Nationwide KT 1745 1810 1820 150 1830 1840 100 150 150 100 150 150 LTE Spectrum UE Type (Category) LTE (Cat. 3) Commercialized Not commercialized 100 Mbps (Wideband LTE) LTE-A (Cat. 4) 150 Mbps (Wideband LTE) 150 Mbps (CA, 20 MHz) LTE-A (Cat. 6) 150 Mbps (Wideband LTE) 225 Mbps (Wideband LTE + CA, 30 MHz) * 300 Mbps (Wideband LTE + CA, 40 MHz) * 2015 MHz LG U+ 2014 MHz 225 LG U+ 2640 Carrier Aggregation (CA) Operator Operator UE Type (Category) 2120 Nationwide 100 150 150 2540 Max. Speed 300 2110 2013.12 Wideband LTE UE 2015 Supplem. 1930 LG U+ 2530 225 2012.07 Nationwide 2520 150 MHz 1850 Wideband LTE LG U+ 2600 MHz Band 7 2014 KT Wideband LTE 1920 2013.12 2014 2012.01 Pri. (Nationwide) (10MHz) Supplem. NW: Nationwide Pri.: Primary 2013.07 960 2012.07 2100 MHz Band 1 MHz 894 KT 225 950 2013.09 SKT 1755 884 Supplem. 225 KT 905 915 2011.03 LG U+ 2650 MHz 2660 CA Type BW Max. Speed SKT LTE-A (Cat 6) 2-Band 30 MHz: [B3]20 + [B5]10 225 Mbps KT LTE-A (Cat 6) 2-Band 30 MHz: [B3]20 + [B8]10 225 Mbps LG U+ (Cat 4, Cat 6) LTE-A (Cat 6) LTE-A (Cat 6) LTE-A (Cat 6) 2-Band 2-Band 2-Band 3-Band* 20 MHz: [B5]10 + [B1]10 30 MHz: [B7]20 + [B5]10 30 MHz: [B7]20 + [B1]10 40 MHz: [B7]20 + [B5]10 + [B1]10 150 Mbps 225 Mbps 225 Mbps 300 Mbps * 2015 B5-B1 B7-B5 B7-B1 B7-B5-B1 Building nationwide networks in Wideband LTE bands: Providing Wideband LTE service nationwide When using Wideband LTE carrier-involved 2-band CA, maximum DL speed is 225 Mbps (30 MHz). Wideband LTE carrier-involved CA requires new devices (e.g., Cat. 6 devices). LG U+ plans to support upto 300 Mbps by employing 3-band CA in 2015 (40 MHz). Figure 3-4. Building nationwide networks in Wideband LTE bands (H2 2014) 14
  17. 17. LTE in Korea 2013 We have discussed the previous and scheduled commercialization of LTE FDD frequency in Korea. In summary, 200 MHz (DL/UL = 105/95 MHz) of LTE FDD frequency has been allocated through six bands (Band 1, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 26) in Korea so far. Out of the 200 MHz, 150 MHz (DL/UL = 80/70 MHz) has already been commercialized throughout four bands (Band 1, 3, 5 and 8) as of November, 2013. Additional 40 MHz (DL/UL = 20/20 MHz) of Band 7 is scheduled to be commercialized in December, 2013, increasing the nation’s LTE FDD to 190 MHz (DL/UL = 100/90 MHz) in total. The 10 MHz (DL/UL = 5/5 MHz) at 800 MHz band (Band 26) held by KT has not been commercialized yet. KT is trying to switch Band 26 to Band 27, and standardize the uncommercialized 10 MHz. The company is planning for 2-band CA (B3_B27, B8_B27) and 3-band CA (B3_B8_B27) once the standardization is completed. Next year, there will be an LTE-TDD frequency auction. In January, the fourth mobile telecom operator who offers LTE-TDD service will be selected, and 40 MHz at 2500 MHz band (Band 38) will be allocated to the operator for LTE-TDD. 4 LTE Services: Mobile Broadband, Mobile IPTV and VoLTE 4.1 Mobile Broadband Service As of November 2013, the mobile Internet access services currently provided or scheduled to be provided by the three operators are as seen in Table 4-1. The three are providing their LTE/LTE-A service users with maximum downlink speeds of 150 Mbps, which is higher than wired FTTH service’s 100 Mbps. Next year, they all plan to increase the speed to 225 Mbps, using CA that combines a 20 MHz wideband carrier and a 10 MHz carrier. Table 4-1. Three Korean operators’ current and planned LTE services MAX Speed/User CA (LTE-A) SK Telecom KT LG U+ 75 Mbps 10 MHz none Jul. 2011 Jan. 2012 Jul. 2011 150 Mbps 20 MHz 10+10 MHz Jun. 2013 Sep. 2013 Jul. 2013 150 Mbps 20 MHz none Sep. 2013 Sep. 2013 Planned (Dec. 2013) 225 Mbps 30 MHz 10+20 MHz Planned (2014) Planned (2014) Planned (2014) 300 Mbps 4.2 BW (DL) 40 MHz 10+10+20 MHz none none Planned (2015) Mobile IPTV The three operators have been putting a lot of effort into promoting LTE-A. They all upgraded the quality of their mobile IPTV and UX, with commercialization of LTE-A service in June 2013. KT began HD streaming with 4 Mbps in June 2013. One month later, SK Telecom began its Full HD-level mobile streaming with 4 Mbps and 1080P for mobile devices for the first time in the world. In the meantime, LG U+, first time in the world, introduced Multi-view service (U+ HDTV) that allows users to watch four live channels at the same time in July 2013. 15
  18. 18. LTE in Korea 2013 Mobile users can subscribe to any mobile IPTV service, and use the video service there, at no cost or with fixed monthly payments, regardless of their network operator (All the mobile IPTV services available from the three operators are OTT type, not walled-garden type). They all offer video services like Live TV and VoD Figure 4-1. LG U+ 4 channel multi-view service (Live TV) services, using the same streaming protocol and codec, i.e. HLS and H.264. In addition, they all utilize Adaptive Streaming that automatically adjusts content streaming rates and bit rates depending on the conditions of the network that users are using, and ensures uninterrupted streaming of a video on mobile TVs. Mobile IPTV services currently offered by the three operators are analyzed in Table 4-2 below. Table 4-2. Characteristics of mobile IPTV services in Korea SK Telecom KT LG U+ Mobile IPTV Service B tv Mobile Olleh TV Mobile U+ HDTV Launch Full HD 4 Mbps version: Jul. 2013 HD 4 Mbps version: Jun. 2013 2 Mbps version: Jul. 2013 Video Services Live TV & VoD Live TV & VoD Live TV & VoD # of Live channels 72 61 49 Streaming Protocol HLS HLS HLS Codec H.264 H.264 H.264 Encoding rate & Resolution 4 Mbps 2 Mbps 1 Mbps 500 Kbps Adaptive Streaming Yes Yes Yes encoding rate 4 Mbps 4 Mbps 2 Mbps resolution 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) 1280 x 720 (HD) 720 x 404 frame rate 29.970 fps 29.970 fps variable bits/(pixels*frame) 0.061 0.145 variable 1920 x 1080 1280 x 720 720 x 480 720 x 480 4 Mbps 2 Mbps 1 Mbps 740 Kbps 1280 x 720 720 x 480 720 x 480 720 x 480 2 Mbps 1 Mbps 600 Kbps 720 x 404 720 x 404 720 x 404 Best Video Quality 4.3 VoLTE Today, VoLTE services are available from only four operators in the world: SK Telecom, LG U+, KT (all from Korea) and Evolve Broadband (from the USA)19. The Korean operators all launched the VoLTE service in 2012. SK Telecom and LG U+ began the world’s first VoLTE services called “HD Voice” and “Jieum”, respectively, in August 2012. Two months later, KT also offered the same service named “HD Voice”. 19 “Evolution to LTE Report”, GSA, October 17, 2013 16
  19. 19. LTE in Korea 2013 In September 2013, SK Telecom commercialized “Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC)” technology, complementing the VoLTE service. SRVCC supports seamless handovers between 3G and LTE networks, and thus can achieve uninterrupted voice services even in a congested network. LG U+ supports the VoLTE service using its LTE network only. In order for an operator to provide VoLTE services, an IMS network is required, and its LTE core network and radio access network should be able to provide the VoLTE service with QoS differentiated from other data (e.g. establishment of dedicated EPS bearers). Table 4-3 lists the characteristics of VoLTE services provided by the three operators. Table 4-3. Characteristics of VoLTE services in Korea SK Telecom KT LG U+ HD Voice Aug. 2012 HD Voice Oct. 2012 Jieum Aug. 2012 5.6 million (Jun. 2013) 3.0 million (Jun. 2013) 2.5 million (Jun. 2013) 50 ~ 7000 Hz AMR-WB (12.65 ~ 23.85 Kbps) 0.25 ~ 2.5 sec VGA (480 x 640) H.264 (512 Kbps) 50 ~ 7000 Hz AMR-WB (12.65 ~ 23.85 Kbps) 0.25 ~ 2.5 sec VGA (480 x 640) H.264 Handover between 2G/3G and LTE SRVCC Not supported Switching screen during calls Screen switched Screen switched 50 ~ 7000 Hz AMR-WB (12.65 ~ 23.85 Kbps) 0.25 ~ 2.5 sec VGA (480 x 640) H.264 Not supported (100% LTE, shadowing areas minimized) Screen not switched Service name Launched on No. of subscribers with a VoLTE compatible device Voice bandwidth Voice codec Call setup time Resolution Video codec 5 LTE Equipment Table 5-1 lists vendors of eNBs and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) entities for the three Korean operators. In case of P-GW, SK Telecom uses ones from Samsung and Ericsson, KT uses ones from Cisco, and LG U+ uses Samsung and Ericsson-LG. For eNB (BBU), the three all use ones from Samsung, Ericsson and NSN. Finally for RRH, they usually use ones from Korean vendors. Table 5-1. SAE-GW, BBU and RRH vendors by operator (Korean vendors are marked in bold and Italics) SK Telecom KT LG U+ SAE-GW Samsung, Ericsson Cisco Samsung, Ericsson-LG BBU Samsung, Ericsson, NSN Samsung, Ericsson, NSN Samsung, Ericsson, NSN, Huawei* RRH GSI, CS, SK Telesys, MTI Sewon Teletec, FR Tech, Youngwoo Telecom Yongwoo Telecom, MTI, Ericsson China * LG U+’s recent addition of Huawei on October 21, 2013 as its supplier for building its new 2600 MHz Wideband LTE network, allowed Huawei to enter the Korean market. 17
  20. 20. LTE in Korea 2013 No. of LTE-A base stations: As of September 2013, SK Telecom has 22,980 LTE-A base stations, LG U+ has 8,244, and KT has 4,031. SK Telecom ~ 100 KT 100 ~499 500 ~ 999 LG U+ 1000 ~ 2999 3000 ~ Figure 5-1. No. of LTE-Advanced base stations per operator (as of September 2013) Source: SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ (recreated by NETMANIAS) Table 5-2. No. of LTE-Advanced base stations installed and planned to be installed per operator Year LG U+ Sep. 2013 22,980 4,031 8,244 32,000 10,000 13,995 2014 46,000 31,346 40,540 2015 Planned to be installed KT 2013 Installed SK Telecom 52,000 42,476 70,717 No. of Wideband LTE base stations: Starting in September 2013, Wideband LTE service has been provided in Seoul metropolitan areas. As of September, 2013, SK Telecom has 12,947 Wideband LTE base stations, KT has 32,791, and LG U+ has none in Seoul metropolitan areas. KT has already built a nationwide LTE network using 1800 MHz band, and thus can use its existent base stations for Wideband LTE as well. This makes KT an operator with the most Wideband LTE base stations in Korea. On the other hand, LG U+ has to build a new network for Wideband LTE. 18
  21. 21. LTE in Korea 2013 Table 5-3. No. of Wideband LTE base stations per operator Year Installed 6 SK Telecom KT LG U+ Sep. 2013 12,947 32,791 - LTE Devices In June 2013, Korea released the world’s first LTE-A device. Table 6 is the list of LTE-A devices currently available in the Korean market. As of November 10, there are 10 different LTE-A devices, including 9 smart phones and 1 smart pad. Table 6-1. LTE-A devices LTE-A Devices Smart Phone Samsung (Galaxy): S4 LTE-A, Round, Note 3, Note 3+ Gear LG: G Flex, Vu3, Optimus G2 Partech (Vega): Secret Note, LTE-A Smart Pad Samsung (Galaxy): Note 10.1 2014 Edition LTE-A devices are UE category 4 devices that feature LTE CA technology, and are capable of supporting up to 150 Mbps. As all three operators acquired Wideband LTE spectrum through the frequency auction in August 2013, their base stations are capable of supporting up to 225 Mbps now with 30 MHz bandwidth using the CA technology. In response to such change, UE category 6 devices supporting up to 300 Mbps are to be released next year. LG U+ plans to increase LTE data rates up to a maximum of 300 Mbps with 40 MHz bandwidth by employing 3-band CA (Band1/5/7) in 2015. Korea is one of the leading countries in the smart phone manufacturing industry. Smart phones made in Korea account for over 95% of the Korean market. Manufacturers like Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Pantech, etc. are closely cooperating with their mobile operators to make sure various operator-customized devices are available in the market in time. 7 LTE Patents Korea probably is a country with the most LTE-related patents in the world. Figure 6 illustrates the LTE RAN (Radio Access Network) standard essential patent candidates registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office as of May 2013.20 Among all 23 shareholders, Korean shareholders, such as Samsung, LG and ETRI, account for 23%, 23% and 2%, respectively, of the total patents registered, totaling 48%. 20 TechIPm 19
  22. 22. LTE in Korea 2013 Figure 7-1. 4G LTE essential patent candidates (as of May 2013) 8 Conclusions In 2013, Korea saw many changes in its LTE industry in 2013: LTE-A service was launched, and allocation of wideband LTE frequencies led to construction of a wideband LTE network covering the Seoul metropolitan area. The country has focused on building wideband LTE networks, and providing faster services through them. Next year, this trend will continue. The networks will evolve in a way that will allow efficient accommodation of surging data volumes. Many differentiated services to be provided through the wideband networks will be released. With all these changes on the way, the year 2014 will see another great leap in LTE/LTE-A technologies. 1. The wideband LTE networks will go nationwide. So, even earlier version devices (UE Cat. 3 devices) can support a maximum speed of 100 Mbps anywhere in the country. Cat. 4 devices can support up to 150 Mbps. 2. With commercialization of 2-band CA technology using wideband LTE, 30 MHz bandwidth will be commonly used, supporting a maximum speed of 225 Mbps. 3. More devices (e.g. Cat. 6 devices) compatible with CA that uses wideband LTE will be released. 4. Mobile networks will not only go wideband, but also go smarter. The networks will optimize video traffic, and will become more cloud-based and software-based. They will also evolve into smarter ones that allow more effective analysis of big data, and easier application of operator-specific policies. And then of course service evolution will follow. 20
  23. 23. LTE in Korea 2013 Abbreviations ABC AMR-WB BW CA CAPEX CCC CoMP C-RAN COT CSFB DL DU eNB EPC FDD FTTH HD HLS IMS IP LTE LTE-A MC MPLS OTT PTN RAN RRH RT RU SAE-GW SRVCC TDD UL UX VoD VoLTE WDM Always Best Connected Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband Bandwidth Carrier Aggregation Capital Expenditure Cloud Communication Center Coordinated Multi-Point Centralized, Cooperative, Cloud and Clean RAN Central Office Terminal Circuit Switched FallBack Downlink Digital Unit Evolved Node B Evolved Packet Core Frequency Division Duplex Fiber-to-the-Home High-Definition HTTP Live Streaming IP Multimedia Subsystem Internet Protocol Long Term Evolution Long Term Evolution - Advanced Multi-Carrier Multi-Protocol Label Switching Over-the-Top Packet Transport Network Radio Access Network Remote Radio Head Remote Terminal Radio Unit System Architecture Evolution Gateway Single Radio Voice Call Continuity Time Division Duplex Uplink User Experience Video on Demand Voice over LTE Wavelength Division Multiplexing
  24. 24. LTE in Korea 2013 Netmanias Research and Consulting Scope 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 eMBMS/Mobile IPTV CDN/Mobile CDN Transparent Caching BSS/OSS Services Cable TPS Voice/Video Quality IMS Policy Control/PCRF IPTV/TPS LTE Mobile WiMAX Mobile Network Carrier WiFi LTE Backaul Data Center Migration Carrier Ethernet FTTH Wireline Network Data Center Metro Ethernet MPLS IP Routing CDN Transparent Caching Analysis Networks eMBMS LTE IMS Infrastructure Services Analyze trends, technologies and market Report Technical documents Blog One-Shot gallery Concept Design DRM POC Training Wi-Fi We design the future protocols IP/MPLS We design the future Carrier Ethernet We design the future Consulting Visit http://www.netmanias.com to view and download more technical documents. Future About NMC Consulting Group NMC Consulting Group is an advanced and professional network consulting company, specializing in IP network areas (e.g., FTTH, Metro Ethernet and IP/MPLS), service areas (e.g., IPTV, IMS and CDN), and wireless network areas (e.g., Mobile WiMAX, LTE and Wi-Fi) since 2002. Copyright © 2002-2013 NMC Consulting Group. All rights reserved.

×