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SK Telecom launches first LTE-Advanced network with new Galaxy S4

South Korean operator claims a world first....

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South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom is claiming to be the first in the world to launch a smartphone-supported LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network, promising speeds of up to 150Mbps – almost double that of 4G.

The carrier said the network, which comes two years after it launched its LTE service, will provide speeds 10 times that of conventional 3G, enabling users to download an 800MB movie in 43 seconds.

At the moment those faster speeds are achieved in part thanks to carrier aggregation, combining two 10Mhz frequency bands to effectively increase bandwidth to 20Mhz. By 2015, the carrier says it will double LTE-A speeds to 300Mbps by combining two 20Mhz bands.

SK Telecom is also using Coordinated Multi Point (CoMP) technology on its network to improve performance, and said it plans to introduce Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC) in 2014.

Although other carriers, such as Russia’s Yota, beat the Korean operator by switching on LTE-A networks first, SK is claiming to be the first to do so with an LTE-Advanced smartphone capable of actually using the network.

As rumoured last week, the Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE-A is the handset in question, to be made available exclusively by SK Telecom.

At the moment, the super-fast 150Mbps speeds are available to punters in Seoul, 42 cities in the provinces of Gyeongg-do and Chungcheong-do, and 103 universities, with expansion to a total of 84 cities in the country planned.

As for the UK, well don’t hold your breath. At the moment only Everything Everywhere even offers a regular LTE network, in some cities, with top speeds of around 80Mbps. ®

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