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SK Telecom deploys first publicly available LTE-Advanced network

SK Telecom has unleashed the first publicly available LTE-Advanced network to residents of South Korea, but the problem is not many devices currently support the latest LTE speeds.

By combining two 10MHz component carriers, and thereby producing an effective bandwidth of 20MHz, SK Telecom’s LTE-Advanced network now boasts speeds of up to 150Mbps.  The telecom company thinks that it can double that speed by 2015 through a similar process in which two 20MHz component carriers are combined.  Even more boastful, it thinks it’ll have three component carriers by 2016, and when it’s all said and done the company hopes it can reach the Carrier Aggregation cap by combining five 20MHz carriers.

The first device to support LTE-Advanced is none other than Samsung’s refreshed Galaxy S4 featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800.  Samsung may have done its domestic consumer-base a huge disfavor by launching the S4 so early, since many South Koreans are sporting the Exynos S4 variant that still reeks of the fresh plastic smell.

SK Telecom plans on releasing 7 LTE-A devices by the end of this year, so current S4 owners will have a fresh wave of toys to choose from soon enough.

Speaking of LTE-A, NVIDIA claims that its Tegra 4i platform is easily upgradeable to support LTE-A via a simple software update, but don’t expect these phones to hit market until Q1 2014.  Devices featuring the Tegra 4i is expected to go for somewhere between $300-400 (USD) unsubsidized, with the figure possibly dropping to as low as $200 unsubsidized.

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