So Jin-woo, right, co-chief executive of SK Telecom, makes a high-definition video telephone call to singer IU, shown on the screen, at the launch ceremony of the firm’s LTE service held in Lotte Hotel, downtown Seoul, Thursday. / Courtesy of SK Telecom
By Yoon Ja-young
Evolution in telecommunication technologies has greatly changed people’s lives. The launch of the fourth generation (4G) long term evolution (LTE) service will be no exception. It is expected to accelerate the smart revolution.
“The most notable feature of the LTE service is speed and high definition,” said Lee Joo-sik, an executive vice president of SK Telecom.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency under the United Nations, sets requirements for each generation of wireless technology, such as 2G, 3G and 4G. The biggest requirement is, of course, speed. LTE features ultra high-speed data services. It provides a maximum downlink speed of 75 Mbps, which is five times faster than that of the 3G WCDMA network, and 1.9 times faster than WiBro.
LTE will be a solution for growing consumer complaints over 3G services. As smartphones become indispensible in daily life, data traffic is surging and network quality is deteriorating.
On top of solving the problems of the current 3G service, the speedy transmission of large-volume data makes diverse services a reality. Currently, smartphone users often complain that they can’t enjoy YouTube videos on their smartphones due to heavy traffic on the network.
LTE, however, makes high-quality video calls and high definition video content more easily enjoyable on smart devices. SK Telecom plans to launch a high-quality video call service on LTE smartphones that offers images eight times clearer and twice clear voice clarity, as its LTE network enhances the speed of a video call from 64 Kbps to over 500 Kbps. It demonstrated a high-definition video call between IU, a popular singer, in a moving van, and the VIPs at the 4G service launch event Thursday. The service ran seamlessly with the high-definition good enough to show her shiny makeup.
LTE is expected to give birth to “digital nomads,” or people who use a wide variety of services regardless of the place.
The country will edge closer to a smart working environment, as LTE enables workers to access the intranet using mobile devices that are “stable and fast.” Smart devices had set up the foundation for “smart work,” but the transmission of large-volume data wasn’t convenient and rapid enough.
It is also likely to trigger “smart learning,” or video education systems, as quick and seamless two-way communication between teachers and students will become possible.
Medical services are expected to change as well. It will enable real-time data transmission from patients to doctors, and LTE-based high-resolution video telephones will make remote medical services feasible.
Mobile cloud services, which are currently only used for the storage and transmission of small-volume data such as photos and address books, will make a leap forward, as large-volume data can be transmitted at much higher speeds. Users will be enjoying real-time streaming on any device they choose.
New games are being developed for LTE as well. Currently, mobile games have limitations due to data speed, but the adoption of LTE will introduce multi-networking or real-time strategy games which incur huge data usage and require high-definition videos. These games can be played anywhere, including on the go.
LTE handsets will be available here around September. LTE smartphones will support high definition, and screens are expected to get bigger. SK telecom plans to release nine smartphone and tablet models and LTE modems this year, and LG Uplus is to launch three or four LTE devices.