updated 08:05 am EST, Tue January 3, 2012
KT joins SKT and LG Telecom in adding LTE
South Korea's KT on Tuesday became the third carrier in the country to launch LTE-based 4G. Its Olleh 4G LTE service is starting up first with four phones, including the Pantech Vega and Samsung's Galaxy S II LTE, Galaxy S II HD LTE, and Galaxy Note LTE. A unique trick of the new network is an adapative system known as Warp: KT can tie as many as 144 cell sites into one virtual station and dynamically put bandwidth where it's needed, potentially avoiding bottlenecks.
The service starts at the equivalent of $30 per month for 500MB of data plus 160 minutes and 200 messages, although KT is pushing a more aggressive $54 plan with 3GB of data and 350 each of minutes and messages. Olleh 4G LTE's coverage should expand rapidly, KT promised: it should go from launch to complete coverage in the densely-populated country by April.
The expansion also saw a rare decision to drop 2G (EDGE) data so KT could get its LTE network running on the otherwise occupied 1,800MHz band.
KT's addition makes South Korea the first known country where every major carrier is running LTE, with LG Telecom's U+ and SK Telecom having already launched last year. The nation will also be the first to have complete coverage from its major providers. While it will favor Korean companies that have LTE phones at first, such as LG and Samsung, it could be an important addition for an expected LTE iPhone that could theoretically run on any Korean carrier. [via The Korea Herald]