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Korean networks clash over ‘world’s first’ tri-band LTE-A title

Corporate competition is ever fierce in South Korea as the nation’s top service providers battle over who can claim to be the world’s first provider of tri-band LTE-A cellular data.

In fact, both KT and LG Uplus have taken matters to Korean courts in an effort to stop the country’s largest mobile carrier, SK Telecom, from claiming the title, as reported by the Korea Herald.

For context, tri-band LTE-A is the next generation of wireless mobile data, touting speeds three times higher than current Long Term Evolution tech.

So here’s how it all went down. Back on December 28, SK Telecom revealed it was kicking off a pilot program that would see 100 customers make use of the new tri-band LTE-A service.

This would’ve been the first time customers would’ve been able to use the high-speed service globally, marking it as a significant achievement in mobile data.

Rival providers KT and LG Uplus have decided that it’s not kosher to claim the service has been commercialised as the customers are using test devices, now revealed to be Samsung Galaxy Note 4 handsets.

Samsung however, did say that it ‘offered the phones for experience’, adding ‘those for customer use will be provided in the near future.’

Both firms have now filed a joint injuction against SK Telecom in hopes of blocking the firm’s TV commercials and rubbishing the ‘world’s first’ claims.

Related: 10 best tech innovations of CES 2015

Tensions are likely higher thanks to a new scheme that was enacted late last year that hampered mobile carrier sales across South Korea.

The new initiative meant that companies would no longer be allowed to offer ‘generous subsidies’ to bring in new customers, leaving network providers desperate to find new ways of attracting more users.

An ‘inudstry watcher’, as reported by KH, said: “Since the Mobile Device Distribution Improvement went into effect on October 1, mobile carriers have suffered from sluggish sales.”

“For them, the new service launch is a crucial opportunity to attract new customers.”

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