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Samsung, KT complete Korea’s first 5G common core deployment

Leading Korean operator collaborates with Samsung to prepare for the launch of 5G standalone networks so that enterprises can scale business-specific services such as network slicing

Deploying a core network that can operate in two key modes simultaneously, Samsung Electronics and KT Corporation (KT) have successfully deployed Korea’s first 5G standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) common core in the operator’s commercial network.

Building on a collaboration towards the full commercialisation of 5G SA networks in Korea, KT will commercially launch its SA network when 5G SA-capable devices become available in the market. Samsung’s common core will run in KT’s mobile edge computing (MEC) telecom centres across eight major Korean cities.

With the aim of facilitating smooth evolution to 5G SA, Samsung’s 5G common core is designed to support 5G SA and NSA as well as 4G simultaneously, simplifying data packet flows and enabling users to experience stable, high-quality mobile services. Enterprises can also selectively adopt either SA and/or NSA networks to scale their business-specific services using the 5G SA architecture to offer low-latency services and helps save consumers’ mobile battery consumption.

Samsung and KT have been collaborating since the development stage to deliver key 5G SA technologies on KT’s NSA infrastructure, which incorporates Samsung’s Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) technology, edge traffic steering, and network slicing capabilities.

KT launched 5G commercial services in NSA mode in April 2020, making it the only operator in Korea to adopt CUPS solution in its network. The CUPS architecture, defined in 3GPP standards, is a fundamental technology to 5G SA core designed to improve network scalability, flexibility and deployment by separating the control and user plane functions. CUPS can also enable operators and enterprises to swiftly introduce 5G SA services through software upgrades, without needing to build a separate 5G SA core.

“By implementing CUPS since the initial phase of 5G commercialisation, we have a competitive advantage in the market,” said Young-soo Seo, senior vice-president and head of network research technology unit at KT Corporation. “With this advantage, we are able to rapidly and easily deploy 5G SA and NSA common core in our MEC centres without additional core networks.

“Having already achieved a number of milestones with Samsung, we are excited to collaborate again as we prepare for the launch of 5G SA networks in Korea. KT is proud to deliver innovative services to our users and to continue building a foundation for the 5G evolution and beyond.”

Taiyeon Kim, senior vice-president and head of global technology service, networks business at Samsung Electronics, added: “Our 5G common core is a powerful solution that brings unprecedented services closer to users and will unlock a new generation of enterprise applications. This collaboration with KT is a significant milestone in advancing towards the commercialisation of nationwide 5G SA networks in Korea.

“We look forward to continuing our work with KT to spur future achievements in 5G SA technology and advance Korea’s network landscape.”

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