SK Telecom has been showing off at Mobile World Congress this week new carrier aggregation (CA) technology designed to improve cell edge performance, and it hopes to commercialise it later this year.
While normal CA aggregates two carriers from one cell site, the new solution, called inter-site carrier aggregation, uses carriers from more than one cell site, depending on the quality of the signal.
It means that an LTE-Advanced handset at the edge of a cell site can connect to one frequency band from one tower, and a different frequency band from an adjacent tower in order to achieve the fastest possible connection.
The customer will see a marked improvement in speed at the edge of a cell site, but still not as fast as if they were in the centre of a cell site, explained SK Telecom research engineer Sungho Moon, to Total Telecom.
Nonetheless, inter-cell CA enables the customer to connect to "the best combination of carrier signals", he said.
"We have plans to commercialise it in the second half," he added.
Meanwhile, SK Telecom has also developed a raft of connected consumer devices, also known as 'appcessories' as a means of exploring new ways to put its network to use.
They include a small portable projector that plugs into a smartphone; a panic button the size of a key chain that children can use to place calls to their parents in an emergency; and a small plastic robot that can be used to teach children of various ages lessons ranging from basic words to basic programming.
They are part of a strategy to explore possibilities in the consumer space beyond smartphones and tablets.
"Samsung and LG are handset makers, but we are an ICT company...Our goals are slightly different," said SK Telecom spokeswoman Irene Kim.
"We need to come up with new, innovative devices that can use our network," she said.