The event took place in Busan, South Korea’s second largest city, on January the 16th

Using a multi-vendor commercial 5G network, SK Telecom has achieved the world’s first standalone 5G over-the-air data transmission. 

New Radio software was used with SK Telecom’s existing non-standalone 5G base stations to create the standalone connection.

“With the standalone 5G data call on our multi-vendor commercial 5G network, we are now standing on the threshold of launching standalone 5G service, a key enabler of revolutionary changes and innovations in all industries,” said Park Jong-kwan, head of 5GX labs of SK Telecom.

The standalone network will feature the use of advanced technologies, including network slicing mobile edge computing (MEC), facilitating exciting applications like autonomous vehicles and cloud gaming.

Exploring MEC’s potential is of key interest to SK Telecom, who recently joined forces with the Bridge Alliance to help develop a ‘MEC Taskforce’. The companies within the taskforce will share their experiences and expertise with the aim of developing a high level of continuous operability for MEC applications throughout the local region and beyond.

Late last year, SK Telecom hit 1.5 million subscribers to its 5G network, and it is looking to increase this to 7 million by the end of 2020.

Just how many of these new subscribers will be part of the company’s standalone 5G service – which SK Telecom plans to launch in the first half of this year – remains to be seen.


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