With spectrum and data speed equating to customer retention, channel aggregation must seem like manna from heaven to carriers. Speeds have always been restricted in part by the amount of contiguous spectrum available.
Alex Jinsung Choi, head of ICT R&D Division at SK Telecom, said in a press release that LTE can only offer up to 150 Mbps of speed using a maximum of 20 megahertz of continuous spectrum in one band, while LTE-Advanced can support speeds over 150 Mbps by combining different bands through carrier aggregation.
However, the roll out of Release 10 of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project’s LTE standard changes all that. Now, intra-band, inter-band and non-contiguous spectrum can be aggregated into one virtual pipe, allowing efficient use of fragmented spectrum, and it can be used for both FDD and TDD.
LTE-Advanced, specified in Release 10 of the LTE standard, supports up to five carriers up to total aggregate bandwidth of 100 megahertz of spectrum. Now that’s a big pipe!
SK Telecom Develops LTE-Advanced 3-band Carrier Aggregation
Uber-cutting-edge carrier SK Telecom plans to demonstrate LTE-Advanced by aggregating three bands at Mobile World Congress 2014, Feb. 24-27, in Barcelona, Spain. The carrier aggregation technology demonstration will combine three 20-megahertz channels to offer speeds of up to 450 Mbps.
The Barcelona demonstration is only the latest in a rapid-fire string of new LTE-Advanced features at SK Telecom since last June. On Jan. 20, a wireless system was unveiled by the carrier that aggregates a 20-megahertz band and two 10-megahertz bands and supports speeds of up to 300 Mbps. Once the related chipset and devices are developed, the technology is expected to go commercial by the end of 2014.
In November 2013, SK Telecom demonstrated an LTE-Advanced service that offered up to 225 Mbps by aggregating a bandwidth of 20 megahertz in 1.8 GHz band and a 10-megahertz channel at 800 MHz. It expects to launch a commercial 20+10 system in the second half of 2014.
In August 2013, the carrier was authorized to operate a system using a 20-megahertz downlink and a 15- megahertz uplink in the 1.8 GHz band; and in June, it launched an LTE-Advanced service using a 10-megahertz channel in the 1.8 GHz band and a 10-megahertz channel in the 800 MHz band.