Balancing act: Dual networks and partnerships

10 Mar 2008
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Telecom Asia: How is SK Telecom's partnership with China on TD-SCDMA progressing so far‾

Suk Hwan Lee: The market conditions for TD-SCDMA technology in China are similar to that of the mid-1990s, when SK Telecom was the first in the world to successfully commercialize the operation of CDMA, cdma2000 and W-CDMA. This has given the company confidence in its ability to make significant contributions to TD-SCDMA technology and its commercialization, prompting SK Telecom to establish a test-bed in Korea in collaboration with the Chinese government. We opened one in Bundang last April and also successfully demonstrated a first-ever video call through the TD-SCDMA network.

We also signed an MOU with the Chinese government to strengthen cooperation on the development of TD-SCDMA technology. Through these continued efforts, SK Telecom has improved its understanding and capabilities on TD-SCDMA, which has strong potential in the Chinese market. We expect to deliver more diverse technological cooperation in post-3G and 4G standards, including the establishment of a joint standard between China and Korea.

What are the major objectives of the cooperation‾

The first is to launch joint research on the next-generation technology standard. The second is to build a practical model of long-term cooperation. We aim to work with the joint service development center in China to make objective assessments to improve on TD-SCDMA equipment and services, contributing to commercial deployment of the new 3G technology in China.

The global market will experience fierce competition around what will be the next-generation technology standard. Even though the TD-SCDMA standard has not gained international recognition, we believe it has strong growth potential. SKT believes TD-SCDMA, along with W-CDMA and cdma2000, will create momentum as an international 3G standard in the near future.

What is the mission of the TD-SCDMA joint service development center in Beijing‾

It officially opened on February 10, 2007 and established a test network with WAP, MMS and VoD platform equipment - all of which were provided by SK Telecom. Datang Mobile also provided terminal devices, network equipment for stations, test numbers and test handsets. To develop differentiated TD-SCDMA services, we developed a terminal platform and reference handsets.

What about the testbed in Bundang‾

That is where SK Telecom's access technology research center is located. The center was established in February 2007 with 120 professional researchers from various equipment providers, service developers and SK Telecom.

The testbed consists of an access network with 17 stations available for acceptance tests in metropolitan areas and on highways, a core network for interconnection between different types of networks and data networks, and platform equipment for data services such as SMS, WAP and VoD.

It was thoroughly tested on acceptance and stabilization last July and is currently carrying out various research activities including R&D collaboration with China, joint research with local universities, and leading domestic and overseas companies.

What is the major focus of your activities in your partnership with China Unicom on cdma2000‾

We are now the second-largest holder of China Unicom shares with a 6.67% stake after converting $1 billion convertible bonds.

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