Taking LTE to the next level

Staff writer
19 Dec 2013

Wireless Network Project of the Year: Ericsson and SK Telecom Commercial LTE-A service launch

Ericsson racked up a number of world firsts in 2013: LTE broadcast on a live network (Telstra), dual-mode HD voice over LTE call based on multimode chipsets (China Mobile) and commercial LTE-A call on 1800 and 900 MHz (Telstra). It also launched its Radio Dot system and a complete solution for broadcast video over LTE networks.

In May it hit the milestone of providing managed services to networks that serve one billion subscribers worldwide. Jan Signell, Ericsson's head of Northeast Asia, said 40% of all mobile traffic passes through Ericsson networks, which support 2.5 billion subscribers.

The company also made several acquisitions this year that complement its end-to-end capabilities in networks and support systems. These include Microsoft Mediaroom, Red Bee Media, Devoteam Telecom and Media (France) and TeleOSS (Thailand). It also recently announced a partnership with Blackarrow in the TV and media space.

Ericsson, the key supplier behind SK Telecom's commercial launch of LTE-A service in July, was responsible for the upgrade, providing the software for carrier aggregation and multi-carrier technology for the B5 (850-MHz) and B3 (1.8-GHz) bands in South Korea's southeastern regions. Ericsson partnered with SKT for the LTE network deployment and commercial service launch in 2011.

SKT plans to roll out 32,000 LTE-A base stations by the end of the year and expand LTE-A service areas in 84 cities and start LTE-A service at 300 college campuses. The operator also has demonstrated the upgraded LTE-A service that offers speeds of up to 225 Mbps by aggregating 20 MHz in the 1.8-GHz band and 10 MHz in the 800-MHz band. SKT expects to launch this service in the second half of 2014 when smartphones that supports 225-Mbps speeds are available.

SKT, which has approximately a 51% market share, has introduced the world's first commercial HSDPA, LTE, Multi-Carrier and VoLTE and LTE-A services. "We're proud to power SKT's LTE-Advance network that now covers major areas of the nation," said Signell. "SKT will be able to offer its users broader network coverage and an enhanced mobile broadband experience, ensuring continued loyalty among its customers."

He said Ericsson's research has found that only a handful of operators around the world have been growing profitably with mobile broadband.

"These mobile broadband frontrunners, as we call them, share a dual focus on both superior network performance and innovative marketing and offerings. They also are unified by six common traits that create new demand and drive profitable growth. We call these growth codes (which cover gap minding, streetwise metrics, showcasing, unboxing, ecoystematic and co-partnering), which represents a consistent approach taken by the frontrunners. Rather than specify a single 'recipe' for success, we engage with customers to explore their own growth codes to ensure growth and profitability."

In OSS and BSS space, he said Ericsson is also engaging with customers through its "Realize" campaign, where it focuses on ensuring that customers' operations and business support systems are flexible enough to take them forward. "We know from experience that agile OSS/BSS leads to improved efficiency, innovation and customer loyalty."

Why they won

This year's winning project saw the world's first commercial launch of LTE-Advanced, covering the entire Seoul metropolitan area and six large cities, as well as the downtown areas of 84 cities, with peak data speeds of up to 150 Mbps - all via software upgrades.

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