South Korea to Launch Initial Public-Safety LTE Services in 2018
Monday, October 16, 2017 | Comments
South Korea has outlined a three-step approach for nationwide deployment of its public-safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) network with the first service planned for 2018 in two cities and provinces. A second pilot project is also underway in the areas of the 2018 Winter Olympics and will run through March 2018.

Dujeong Choi, director of public-safety communications for South Korea’s Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA), said the three-phased approach resulted from the country’s pilot project in 2015 and 2016. The country plans to spend US$880 million to deploy the network and US$900 million for 10 years of operation.

Service will begin during 2018 in Daejeon and Sejong City, along with Gangwon and Chungcheong provinces. In 2019, service will expand to the cities of Busan, Daegu and Gwangju, along with Jeonra, Gyeongsang and Jeiu provinces. The capital areas of Seoul and Incheon and Gyeonggi Province will receive service in 2020.

SK Telecom was selected as the network operator to build a supplemental pilot project to strengthen coverage for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The project began this month and will end next March before the nationwide deployment begins. The purpose of the pilot is to operate and support a public-safety LTE network in the three cities of Pyeongchang, Gangneung, Jeongsun.

The project — with a US$7.8 million budget — will update the existing commercial network to allow radio access network (RAN) sharing and build 38 base stations for additional coverage. The project should be built and validated by January, Dujeong said.

The country’s first pilot projects concluded in June 2016 in the same areas as the new pilot.

The Ministry of Security and Public Administration is responsible for the South Korean public-safety LTE network. Moon Jae-in, the country’s new president elected in May, listed the nationwide public-safety LTE network deployment in the 100 promises of his presidency.

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