SK Telecom held a press conference at its Seoul headquarters to announce the beginning of the age of Hyper-Innovation with 5G. The company introduced in detail its unrivalled competitiveness in 5G network along with 5G price plans and services.
5G network competitiveness
SK Telecom stated that its 5G network is the best in terms of coverage, speed and safety. The company has secured the widest 5G network coverage in Korea. As of 6:00pm. 2nd April, 2019, it has built a total of 34,000 units of 5G base stations.
It has also rolled out its 5G network in data traffic-concentrated areas, including main areas of 85 cities nationwide (Seoul, six metropolitan cities, etc.), university districts, KTX, sports stadiums, expressways, subway lines (Seoul and Seoul Metropolitan Area) and beaches.
In particular, it is expanding in-building coverage centered around 120 department stores, shopping malls and airports throughout the nation. Through the application of its self-developed ‘Total In-building Solution,’ SK Telecom provides four times faster in-building data rates than its competitors by utilising four antennas of a smartphone.
In the second half of 2019, SK Telecom will expand 5G network coverage to nationwide subways, national parks and festival sites.
With the development and application of 4G-5G dual connectivity technology, SK Telecom’s 5G network supports up to 2.7Gbps data transmission speed, which makes it suitable for streaming and downloading ultra large volume VR and UHD content. For instance, while it takes more than one minute to download a 12GB VR content via 5G network alone, it takes only 36 seconds to download the same content over SK Telecom’s 4G-5G aggregated network.
SK Telecom’s 5G network is also designed to flawlessly support services that require ultra-low latency such as smart factory and autonomous driving.
Moreover, SK Telecom has secured the safest 5G network by applying quantum cryptography technologies to eliminate the risk of hacking and eavesdropping.
5G price plans
SK Telecom has introduced 5GX price plans to be launched on 5th April, 2019. 5GX price plans consist of four different plans.
‘Slim’ offers 8GB of data (1Mbps speed after data cap) at KRW 55,000 month and ‘5GX Standard’ comes with 150GB of data (5Mbps after data cap) at KRW 75,000 per month.
Those who subscribe to ‘5GX Prime’ or ‘5GX Platinum’ until the end of June 2019 will be able to use unlimited data without speed restrictions at KRW 89,000 and KRW 125,000 per month, respectively.
*All prices are VAT included.
**Without this promotion, ‘5GX Prime’ will offer 200GB of data at KRW 95,000 per month, and ‘5GX Platinum’ will provide 300 GB of data at KRW 125,000 per month. (Unlimited data will be provided until the end of December 2019)
Compared to its LTE price plans, the company is offering the same amount of 5G data at lower prices. For instance, ‘5GX Standard,’ which provides 150GB of monthly data allowance, costs KRW 4,000 less than T Plan Family (LTE plan) priced at KRW 79,000 per month.
Considering that subscribers to selective contract discount plans can receive 25% discount from these prices, their monthly 5G plan costs become more affordable.
SK Telecom plans to update its price plans after analysing the data usage patterns of subscribers of unlimited plans.
The 5G services
SK Telecom announced that it has secured around 8,000 different content in diverse areas including game, Ultra High Definition (UHD), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and communications.
In the Game area, SK Telecom has joined hands with Riot Games to create VR and AR versions of League of Legends(LoL) Champions Korea, the most-watched esports game in Korea, and begin broadcasting the games exclusively from the first half of 2019.
The company will offer five different games including the world’s No.1 VR game Gunjack. Through partnership with Hatch, SK Telecom will exclusively provide 5+ streaming game content. It also plans to begin offering Kartrider VR under cooperation with Nexon.
SK Telecom plans to offer ‘Harry Potter AR’ in the first half of 2019 through partnership with Niantic.
The has also launched the ‘SKT 5GX’ section within its OTT video service ‘oksusu’ to offer a rich variety of media contents that can be experienced via 5G. ‘SKT 5GX’ consists of three different menus namely ‘VR’, ‘5G MAX’ and ‘UHD’.
The VR menu provides diverse VR content related to idol stars, sports games and movies. It exclusively offers a wide variety of K-pop VR content to provide K-pop fans with an immersive VR experience to feel as if their favorite idol star is standing right in front of them. It also features one-on-one VR fitness and golf lessons; VR tour of famous art galleries of both home and abroad; and a 360° VR trip of twenty different cities in the world including Rome and New York.
The ‘5G MAX’ menu provides an immersive UHD video watching experience. By wearing a VR headset, users can enjoy the latest movies, documentaries and extreme sports on a large screen resembling an IMAX theater.
The ‘UHD’ menu offers UHD (4K or higher) dramas, entertainment shows and music channel content. While watching a UHD video, users can pinch zoom the screen to enlarge the image by up to four times without quality degradations.
Furthermore, for sports fans, oksusu is offering ultra-widescreen broadcasting (12K UHD), which is three times wider than the existing UHD, as well as live broadcasting of sports games that are delivered 15 seconds earlier than other services. It also offers ‘5GX social VR,’ a service that enables multiple users to watch baseball games together in a virtual reality environment.
SK Telecom also plans to upgrade ‘T Phone,’ which is being used by 13 million subscribers in Korea, to ‘5G T Phone’ that supports UHD voice and video calling.
Until the end of June 2019, SK Telecom will apply a zero-rating policy to users of the ‘SKT 5GX’ section of oksusu to enable them to enjoy VR and UHD video content with no data deducted from their monthly data cap. The company will also provide up to 5GB of free data for users of its mobile games and VR games.
SK Telecom will work with diverse companies to expand its zero-rating policy so as to boost the ecosystem for 5G services and content.
The company will also alleviate customer’s cost burden by applying technologies like ‘5G Media Compression Technology,’ which reduces data consumption by more than 30%, and HEVC codec, which can decrease content capacity by up to 50%.
Meanwhile, SK Telecom has demonstrated diverse 5G services including ‘Social VR’ and VR games at the 5G launching event held prior to the press conference. The company also introduced EXO, one of the most popular idol group in the world, Kim Yuna, Olympic figure skating gold medalist, and Lee Sang-hyeok ('Fake'), a professional LOL player, as the world’s first 5G subscribers to experience the new world of 5G.
“The AR, VR and cloud games unveiled today only mark the beginning of the age of Hyper-Innovation brought by 5G,” said Park Jung-ho, Chief Executive Officer of SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will continue to introduce 5G-based innovative services to lead all areas of New ICT.”