SK Telecom today announced that it, together with Busan Transportation Corporation (BTC), has deployed the world’s first LTE-R, a standard for the next-generation railway communication system, on Busan Subway Line 1.

Since entering a contract for the deployment of LTE-R with BTC in August 2015, SK Telecom has built the network for Busan Subway Line 1, which is 40.48 kilometers long with 40 stations, using 10MHz bandwidth in the 700MHz frequency band. SK Telecom and BTC today launched pilot operation of LTE-R and plan to commercialize the network in April 2017.

The migration of the railway communications network is expected to dramatically enhance safety and convenience of railway service. Unlike traditional analogue communications networks (VHF & TRS) that only support voice calls or radio contact, LTE-R enables control room staff, subway drivers, station employees and rescue workers to share information instantly in diverse ways, including real-time image/video file sharing and group calling/text messaging.

For instance, in case of a train accident, real-time video of the train taken by an employee can be transmitted to all other employees - including those located at control room and preceding and following trains - as well as related agencies at the same time to understand the situation and take prompt and systematic measures.

Moreover, any employee with an LTE-R device can make announcements within a train or station; and receive pop-up alerts of incoming trains during repair or maintenance work.

“With the technological expertise and knowhow gained through the rollout of LTE-R in Busan, SK Telecom will promote the replacement of outdated analogue communications network with LTE-R in an early manner so as to improve the safety and convenience of railway,” said Shim Sang-soo, Senior Vice President and Head of Infra Business Promotion Office of SK Telecom.

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