SK Telecom is upgrading the fronthaul standard on its 5G network, TheElec has learned.
Starting sometime in the first half of 2020, the telco has began upgrading its common public radio interface (CPRI) fronthaul standard to Ethernet-based CPRI, or eCPRI on equipment made by Samsung and Ericsson.
Upgrade for Nokia-made equipment will began sometime soon as well.
SK Telecom is using Samsung’s equipment for base stations in Seoul and Chungcheong Province, which accounts for half of radio stations.
It is using Ericsson’s in Gyeongsang Provinces and using Nokia’s in Jeolla, Gangwon and Jeu Provinces.
The change to eCPRI will allow SK Telecom to save costs in cable. The number of cable between the radio unit and distributed unit is reduced to one from two with the change of the interface. This will also allow them to save cost in transceivers __ there are two transceivers per cable.
It is taking Nokia longer compared to Samsung and Ericsson, a person familiar with the matter said. Even in initial testing and review done by SK Telecom, Samsung scored better than Nokia, they added.
According to Dell’Oro Group, Huawei was the top vendor for 5G telecome equipment in the first quarter with 35.7% market share. Ericsson was second with 24.6% share and Nokia third with 15.8%. Samsung came in fourth with 13.2%. ZTE was fifth place at 9.3%.
SK Telecom receives its fronthaul equipment from HFR, Solid, Sunwave Technology and Coweaver. It receives transceivers from Lightron, OE Solutions and Opticore.