Wednesday 17 November 2021

5G Network Sharing using MOCN for Rural South Korea

South Korea may have been the first country where all the networks switched on their 5G but that does not mean they have been having an easy ride. 

Back in April, the ICT ministry announced that the three major mobile carriers will share their 5G networks in remote coastal and farm towns in a move to accelerate the rollout of the latest generation networks. The Korea Herald reported

The carriers -- SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. -- signed an agreement so that 5G users can have access to the high-speed network regardless of the carrier they are subscribed to in 131 remote locations across the country, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

Under the plan, a 5G user would be able to use other carrier networks in such regions that are not serviced by his or her carrier.

The ministry said telecom operators will test the network sharing system before the end of this year and aim for complete commercialization in phases by 2024.

The ministry said the selected remote regions are sparsely populated, with a population density of 92 people per square kilometer, compared with those without network sharing at 3,490 people per square kilometer.

The move comes as the country races to establish nationwide 5G coverage, with network equipment currently installed in major cities.

In another article back in September, The Korea Herald reported:

The number of 5G network base stations in South Korea accounted for just 11 percent of the total in the second quarter, data showed Monday, amid continued user complaints against the latest generation networks.

As of the April-June period, there were 162,099 5G base stations in the country, compared with a total of 1.47 million mobile network base stations, according to data from the Korea Communications Agency.

The number of 5G base stations was far outnumbered by around 1 million 4G base stations and over 300,000 3G base stations.

In comparison, the number of 5G users accounted for 23.8 percent of the total in July at just over 17 million, while there were 50.5 million 4G users and 20.2 million 3G users.

The latest data comes as local mobile carriers have faced complaints from 5G users over spotty connection and slower-than-expected speeds since the networks' launch in April 2019.

At a recent GSMA conference, Daehun Lim, Head of Global Strategic Partnerships, LG Uplus shared the 5G Rural Network Sharing plans in more details. The picture on the top shows the timelines and the areas that are planned to be covered by each operator.

The network sharing will be based on MOCN which we have explained in our tutorial here.

Since the 5G spectrum allocation for all the operators is very similar, we don't expect any issues with the network sharing plan going forward. We will have to wait a couple of years before is becomes commercially available though.

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