South Korea’s top wireless carrier SK Telecom Co. on Friday named Samsung Electronics Co., Ericsson Inc., and Nokia OYJ, its former LTE equipment providers, as preferred bidders to supply 5G equipment.
The wireless carrier said in a statement that it chose the three candidates because they are leaders in related technology and have the capacity to vitalize overall ecosystem. SK Telecom also took into consideration financial elements such as investment costs, it added.
China’s Huawei Technologies Co. that has been rapidly growing its presence in the global telecommunication equipment market also joined the race, but failed to be included on the list. To choose the final candidates, SK Telecom carried out a benchmark test (BMT) from June to August.
It would not be the first time for Samsung Electronics, Ericsson, and Nokia to supply wireless telecommunication equipment to the Korean telecom giant if they sign the final contracts in October. They previously supplied and installed long-term evolution (LTE) wireless equipment for SK Telecom.
An unnamed official from SK Telecom said that the company gave priority to service quality and role in vitalizing 5G ecosystem, as well as whether new equipment will be well connected with existing equipment - LTE system - because it is important to pull up network quality in installment process.
The equipment that would be supplied by Samsung Electronics, Ericsson, and Nokia are base stations and exchange equipment - key equipment for next-generation 5G wireless service.
SK Telecom plans to complete contracts in October and launch network installation with an aim to provide 5G commercial service in March, next year.
The country’s two other major mobile carriers KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. are also expected to follow suit of SK Telecom to choose their own 5G wireless equipment providers soon. LG Uplus on Friday signed a 5G cable equipment supply deal with Korea’s network access solutions developer Dasan Network Solutions.
By Lim Sung-hyun and Lee Eun-joo
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