South Korea Begins Public-Safety LTE Pilot in 3 Cities
Monday, April 06, 2015 | Comments

By Sandra Wendelken
A pilot public-safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) network will launch this month in three South Korean cities and continue through the end of the year, said Dujeong Choi, project manager, public safety communications testing and certification, South Korea’s Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA).

The US$45 million pilot network will launch in Gangneung, Pyeongchang and Jungsun with 205 base stations and 2,496 handsets. The pilot will offer testing and validation of the country’s planned nationwide public-safety LTE network.

South Korea’s three commercial carriers have interest to bid on the contract for the network, which will comprise three separate bidding phases — pilot, extension and completion phases. The Ministry of Public Safety and Security is the supervising entity for South Korea’s public-safety LTE network.

The network will comprise about 12,000 base stations and around 200,000 mobile stations, including fixed mobile stations, vehicle-mounted radios, smartphones and two-way radios, in eight mandatory areas.

The network must also address interoperability with different vendors and legacy proprietary equipment such as VHF, UHF and TETRA. Implementation must also coincide with railway and maritime LTE networks, which will be planned separately with the nationwide public-safety LTE network.

Several public-safety mobile radio and broadband technologies are used in South Korea. VHF is used by 40.1 percent of the market, TETRA comprises 38.3 percent of the market, UHF 14.9 percent, iDEN 5.1 percent and WiMAX 1.6 percent.

“With global cooperation, we can accomplish the economies of scale and solve the interoperability, standardization and security challenges in the public-safety LTE deployment,” Choi said.

South Korea adopted plans to build the nationwide dedicated public-safety LTE network last year following the tragic Sewol ferry disaster.

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