Telecom Signaling Featured Article

SK Telecom Signs MOU With Verizon to Address 5G

August 18, 2016

While it is clear that telecoms have their sights set on 5G mobile, the various organizations tackling the world’s mobile future are not all moving in the same direction. In fact, the race is on around the world to see which companies and regions can be the epicenter of 5G development and deployments.  For example, regulatory authorities such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) note the importance of increased spectrum while some telecoms such as Ukranian operator lifecell emphasize the need for incremental progress and use of 4.5G as a stepping stone. Plus, there are competing ecosystems, with various combinations of service providers and solutions vendors, forming with ostensibly the same goals in what is shaping up as an interesting arms race to 5G.

That said, regardless of their chosen paths, the overall technology goals of increased speed and reliability lie underneath operator and regulatory actions. Industry giants SK Telecom and Verizon know this as well as anyone and have officially joined their efforts for 5G within a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The pair announced this week that they signed an MOU at the SK Telecom headquarters in Seoul, Korea in order to bookend their joint studies that will identify opportunities for network improvement and use cases of faster mobile that could make an impact in consumers’ and businesses’ lives.

The pair has agreed to share their knowledge of 5G, the Internet of Things, and infrastructure virtualization while also working together as partners in the Open Compute Project and the Mobile Central Office Rearchitected as a Datacenter (M-CORD) project. Overall, the companies’ cooperation and data sharing is expected to provide both sides with valuable information about the state of mobile and its possible uses in consumer and business situations.

Alex Jinsung Choi, the chief technology officer at SK Telecom, commented on this development in a statement:

“This MOU will further strengthen and deepen our collaboration with Verizon,” Choi said. “Through joint studies and researches, SK Telecom and Verizon will develop 5G technical specifications and innovative use cases to move up the commercialization of [and] usher in the new era of [and] lead the era of 5G.”

It is clear that both companies want to lead the world in the use of 5G. Verizon’s standing as a present global leader should make it more likely that SK Telecom will be able to draft on its new partners’ existing capabilities. Moreover, both companies here will have the opportunity to learn and develop more 5G applications and networking protocols than they would alone.

In the same breath, however, their positions in the Open Compute and M-CORD projects should also link them to a number of high-profile partners. Businesses have joined groups such as the Open Compute Project to redesign hardware in a way that best fits use cases for 5G mobile and advanced networking. M-CORD, likewise, is essential in bringing businesses together to improve all facets of software-defined networking. These open-source projects also highlight the trend of corporate involvement in data sharing and non-proprietary aspects of networking. With cooperation apparently on the rise, organizations in all corners should expect to see the fulfillment of 5G sooner rather than later.

Edited by Peter Bernstein

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