(koreatimes)– Samsung Electronics is gearing up to make the PyeongChang Winter Games the most technologically advanced Olympics in history.
The Korean government hopes it will take advantage of the nation’s first Winter Olympics as an opportunity to cement its billing as one of the world’s most advanced mobile countries and Samsung will play a big role in the drive.
During the PyeongChang Games running until Feb. 25, the world’s first pilot network for fifth-generation (5G) communication will be deployed in selected regions of the country.
To this end, Samsung has developed a prototype 28-GHz 5G tablet for the first time in the world and furnished a total of 200 devices for athletes, officials and fans so they can experience the next-generation technology.
“The development of the world’s first prototype 5G device will be an opportunity to show off our core 5G technology,” said Lee June-hee, Samsung’s managing director, during a ceremony last month to announce the preparation for the pilot service was complete.
KT, the nation’s largest fixed-line operator, plans to take advantage of the trial service for the Olympics as a springboard to commercialize 5G technology by early 2019, which would be the first achievement in the hard-fought competition among global telecom firms.
“Now we are confident in commercializing the 5G device,” Lee added.
The 5G network is more than 20 times faster than the current fourth-generation (4G) long-term evolution (LTE) network with seamless connection and increased connectability to multiple devices, so it is the core infrastructure that enables advanced services such as autonomous vehicles and remotely-controlled factories.
The first-ever real-time 5G video call between KT Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu and Verizon Chairman Lowell McAdam through Samsung’s 5G-capable tablet devices during Super Bowl LII, Monday, is also increasing the chance of successful 5G service in PyeongChang.
The prototype 5G tablet is capable of running on multi-gigabit per second speeds via 5G networks, as well as the latest 4G LTE network speeds, according to Samsung. The device is also capable of supporting data session handovers between 4G LTE and 5G and demonstrates advancements in chipset and antenna technology required to support future commercial devices.
The three companies have been working closely on 5G research since 2015, including KT’s PyeongChang 5G Special Interest Group (5G SIG), which collectively released early 5G specifications to build a strong 5G ecosystem.
“This demonstration conducted today with KT and Verizon represents a huge milestone for us, showing our contribution to the development of early 5G global specifications and the third Generation Partnership Project New Radio. It spotlights the next generation Samsung technologies that let operators implement robust new services,” said Kim Woo-june, Samsung’s senior vice president and head of North American Business.
Athletes, officials and Olympic fans could also enjoy high-speed internet service en route to PyeongChang as Samsung, teaming up with KT, has successfully equipped bullet trains headed for the Olympic towns with the world’s first LTE-Railway (LET-R) network. The Korea Train Express runs at up to 300 kilometers per hour.
The LTE-R is a next-generation communications technology for smart train and metro services, enabling high-speed wireless voice and data communications inside trains, from train to ground and from train to train. In particular, LTE-R enables smooth and stable mission-critical communications between train personnel and control centers.
“Following Samsung’s first commercial deployment of LTE-R at the Busan Metro last April, this new implementation demonstrates the maturation and validation of our LTE-R solutions for high-speed trains,” said Seo Gi-yong, Samsung’s head of Global Sales and Marketing Team in Networks Business.
“We look forward to continued collaboration with KT in the deployment of the most innovative critical-communications technologies across the country.”
Samsung has established itself as a leading LTE-R supplier, as evidenced by its participation in all five of the nation’s LTE-R projects. Currently, its technology is already in service on the Busan Metro line — the first application of its kind.