New service to offer faster speed, longer battery life
By Kim Bo-eun
KT said Thursday it has commercialized a stand-alone 5G service, a more advanced version of the non-stand-alone service currently in use, which is built on top of the country’s existing 4G network.
Stand-alone allows independent operation of the 5G service without being supported by the established network.
KT’s commercialization of the technology comes more than two years since it first commercialized 5G services in Korea in April 2019. KT is the first among Korea’s three major telecom operators to commercialize the stand-alone 5G service.
The new 5G service enables the smartphone battery “to last longer,” as well as offers faster network speeds. According to Korea’s Telecommunications Technology Association, the stand-alone 5G service extended battery use by 8.8 percent or up to 66 minutes, compared to non- stand-alone 5G, when conducting a test with a Samsung Electronics Galaxy S20+ model.
The service will be available on Samsung’s Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra models. Users of these models can switch to the stand-alone 5G by going to settings, and installing under the software update tab. The service is then available after a reboot. KT plans to expand the range of smartphone models that can use its new service.
KT said users of the stand-alone service will be able to receive more relevant state notifications regarding COVID-19 or other disasters, as the 5G base stations are set up closer to each other than 4G stations. State notifications relying on 4G base stations provide overlap notifications.
The stand-alone services will be available in regions with 5G base stations. When a user enters a region without these stations, they will only be able to access 4G services.
In addition to offering faster speed and more relevant services for smartphone users, the commercialization of stand-alone 5G will propel the development of B2B services used in self-driving technology and smart factories.
KT said it will utilize the technology of network slicing, which overlays multiple virtual networks on top of a shared network, to accelerate development of services integrating 5G.
The telecom operator said it began setting up a network for stand-alone 5G after it began offering non-stand-alone services in 2019. KT began testing the stand-alone 5G service among its employees beginning in January.
“We prepared the stand-alone 5G service to offer new value for customers,” KT’s head of network strategy Kim Young-in was cited as saying in a press release.
“KT as a digital platform company is making efforts in multiple aspects to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and to contribute to the government’s Digital New Deal project.”
KT’s local competitors SK Telecom and LG Uplus are contesting the superiority of the stand-alone 5G service, as the three telecom operators continue to engage in a fierce competition to take a larger share in Korea’s saturated market for wireless and wired telecom services.
A total of seven telecom operators around the world have employed the stand-alone 5G service as of March this year.