South Korean operator working with Nokia to reduce latency between handset and base station to 2 milliseconds.

SK Telecom on Monday took a step forward in its plans to develop real-time services when it announced that it has reduced latency over LTE to just 2 milliseconds.

The South Korean operator said that in partnership with Nokia it was able to demonstrate 2-millisecond round-trip latency between a base station and handset.

The test took place over its LTE network, but SK Telecom notes that it puts it a step closer to 5G, which will demand latency of 1 millisecond or less.

"Low latency technology is essential in realising 5G services such as autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and virtual reality services," said Park Jin-hyo, head of network technology R&D centre at SK Telecom, in a statement.

The telco said the newly-developed 2-millisecond latency capability will enable the development of these types of real-time services that will become widespread with 5G.

"We will continue to improve our low latency technologies to achieve 5G evolution, while applying the latest technologies to our LTE networks to further enhance customer experience," Park said.

SK Telecom said it used Uplink Pre-Scheduling and Transmission Time Interval (TTI) to reduce latency from around 25 milliseconds to 2 milliseconds. The former allows the handset to immediately transmit data to the base station while the latter significantly reduces data transmission time between the base station and the handset, it explained.