Will AT&T, SK Telecom or China Mobile take lead in 5G commercial deployment?

SK Telecom of South Korea is racing ahead and deploying business applications like autonomous driving city on 5G in Hwaseong vis-a-vis AT&T and China Mobile

AT&T of the US and China Mobile of China have shown their commitment to deploy 5G in 2018 but SK Telecom of South Korea has taken the lead with the deployment of business applications 5G like autonomous driving city in Hwaseong

On 28 December 2017, SK Telecom announced that the company along with Korea Transportation Safety Authority (KOTSA) has successfully deployed 5G infrastructure in K-City, the country’s pilot city for self-driving and is the world’s first 5G infrastructure-equipped test autonomous driving city.

K-City, located in Hwaseong, southwest of Seoul, has a total area of around 363,000 square meter and has a variety of test driving lanes that resemble real world driving conditions such as a school zone and bus-only lane. Working closely with KOTSA, SK Telecom successfully deployed 5G infrastructure, including test network with 20 Gbps download capacity, which allows downloading a 1 GB video file in 0.4 seconds, 5G communications control center that transfers data to a test vehicle in less than 0.001 second, and 3D HD map with high accuracy of less than 20 cm. The accomplishment was made in just three months since the beginning of 5G infrastructure set-up.

K-City achieved an end-to-end system, meaning that both wireless and wired slots in the facility are connected in 5G network. To realize its 5G infrastructure, the latest 5G technologies — 5G virtualization, beamforming and beam-tracking were adopted.

K-City will serve as a “5G self-driving outpost” where domestic companies and organizations can test their 5G autonomous driving technology and speed up their technological development. There isn’t a self-driving city equipped with 5G technology anywhere in the world.

“We will keep developing 5G infrastructure in K-City so that we can make it at the forefront of 5G self-driving,” said Park Jin-hyo, EVP, ICT R&D Center at SK Telecom.

“We will continue to work with KOTSA to make K-City a mecca for self-driving research and development,” said Lee Jong-ho, Senior Vice President and Vehicle Unit Leader at SK Telecom.

World’s Self Driving Pilot Cities Based on 5G Technology:

City – Country – Status

K-City (Hwaseong) – South Korea – Deployed world’s first 5G network

M-City (Michigan) – United States – World’s first test facility for self-driving

JARI (Osaka) – Japan – Status Awaited

Nice City (Shanghai) – China – Status Awaited

ASTA ZERO (Gothenburg) – Sweden – 5G network deployment scheduled (2018)

Source: SK Telecom

Recently, AT&T announced to introduce mobile 5G service in a dozen markets by late 2018 and expects to be the first US company to launch mobile 5G services in the country.

To make this happen, AT&T was focusing on standards acceleration in 2017 as AT&T 5G services will be based on industry standards for 5G. Due to AT&T’s acceleration, 3GPP, the international wireless standards body, completed key elements of 5G new radio (NR) standards last month. With these specifications now available, hardware, chipset and device manufacturers can start development.

Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology and Operations said, “We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses. With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, 5G will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, future driverless cars, immersive 4K video and more.”

In addition to plans for offering mobile 5G to consumers this year, AT&T also expects to trial 5G technology with businesses of all sizes across industries to help them transform business operations and create more engaging experiences for their customers.

While AT&T is rolling out mobile 5G in 2018, the company also plans to continue enhancing its network with 5G Evolution technology in hundreds of additional metro areas. Last year, AT&T also launched pre-standards 5G fixed wireless trials in Austin, Texas; Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana with residential, small business, and education customers. The company also launched 2 Project AirGig trials, an innovative technology offering transport for ultra-fast low latency internet over power lines.

In 2017, China Mobile, a pioneer in setting the 5G international industry standard, overall infrastructure design and other related areas has commenced field tests for 5G and steadily drive the business forward taking into account the maturity of the 5G standard and the related business model. There is no announcement from China Mobile with respect to its commercial deployment.