Korean telecom operator KT is well on its way to a rollout of a 5G trial network ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics, EVP HongBeom Jeon said at IEEE’s Brooklyn 5G Summit last week.
With 295 days to go, Jeon said the carrier has used its own specifications to move ahead with tests of 5G use cases and is gearing up for launch of a 28 GHz pilot service by October. The roll out will be both pre-standard and pre-commercial, but Jeon said KT is hoping some of its work will be integrated into the 3GPP standard. Whatever isn’t, he said, can be tweaked for commercial launch. A full commercial deployment is expected in 2019, Jeon said.
“Maybe these systems are different to the 3GPP specs so for the commercialization we need to do some upgrade work,” Jeon commented. “Using this trial we can get a lot of experience for the commercialization.”
The planned trial network will cover events at Gangneung, PyeongChang, Jeongseon, and Bokwang, Jeon said, with some coverage in Seoul.
Cameras stationed around the venues will help KT offer unique viewing experiences for spectators, including 360-degree VR viewing and the ability to track athletes around course routes. As noted by Korean outlet NewsWorld in December, services will also include a “Time Slice” feature with 3D still videos captured at a number of angles and a “Hologram Live” service that will let users get up close and personal with athletes.
Of course, a key enabler of KT’s 5G trial network will be end-user devices. But Jeon remained mum on that subject other than noting the operator is working hard with partners to bring them to life.