South Korea is about to get a taste of what true 4G mobile broadband speed is.
SK Telecom announced Wednesday that it has launched the world's first LTE-Advanced network, a faster LTE standard that was originally deemed by the International Telecommunication Union as a true 4G standard. LTE-Advanced is capable of data transfer rates of 150Mbps, roughly twice as fast as the 4G LTE speeds available in the United States and elsewhere, and 10 times faster than 3G, SK Telecom said.
"By supporting twice faster speeds than LTE, LTE-A will not only enhance customers' satisfaction in network quality, but also give birth to new mobile value added services that can bring innovative changes to our customers' lives," Park In-sik, SK Telecom's president of network business operations, said in a statement.
SK Telecom said it achieved the faster speeds through carrier aggregation -- that is, the bundling of two frequency bands to increase the bandwidth. Furthermore, SK Telecom said it expects carrier aggregation to be the platform for network evolution that will provide network speeds of up to 500Mbps by 2015.
To take advantage of higher network speeds, SK Telecom said Samsung was releasing the Galaxy S4 LTE-A, the first commercial product to actually connect to LTE-Advanced. Earlier this month, the South Korean electronics giant announced it was readying the device, images of which leaked this week onto Korean and Samsung-obsessed sites worldwide.
If all goes well with the Galaxy S4 Advanced, Samsung will likely launch it internationally in markets where and when the service becomes available. That means U.S. customers are out for the time being. While Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint have announced LTE-Advanced deployment plans, the only LTE available now in the States is the older, slower version.