SK Telecom and Ericsson have completed end-to-end testing of 5G standalone (SA) telecommunications, the companies announced.
The two used purely 5G systems, from handsets, radio stations, to cores, for the test.
Connection speeds doubled and data processing speeds tripled compared to the currently commercialised 5G non-standalone (NSA) networks which use both LTE and 5G networks, SK Telecom said.
In July, the telco successfully tested interoperability between a 5G SA core and a commercial network with Samsung Electronics, another telco equipment vendor of the company.
SK Telecom said it expects 5G SA to be commercialised within the first half of next year.
It said it will apply network splicing and mobile edge computing technologies on the standalone network to offer customers even better services.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the international telco standard-setting body, is expected to finalise the 5G SA standard in December this year.
South Korean telcos have been racing to deploy a national network using sub-6GHz spectrum since 5G networks were commercialised in April.
Koreans visiting Switzerland will be able to stay connected to 5G wireless networks.
Deployment of 5G SA cores are expected to begin shortly after December.
SK Telecom will collaborate with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power to develop 5G-based smart power plant solutions.
SK Telecom has signed a series of MOUs to partner on smart cities, smart hospitals, smart offices, and self-driving infrastructure backed by its 5G mobile network in Korea.
TechRepublic's Karen Roby interviews a telecommunications equipment expert about the potential benefits of sticking with 4G—or even 3G—in areas that aren't ready to move to 5G.