BICS, an international communications enabler, has established the world’s first intercontinental live 5G data roaming service between Swiss operator Swisscom and South Korean carrier SK Telecom, marking a major milestone on the road to establishing 5G roaming across the globe.
Taking place on July 15, the 5G roaming service provides high speed, ultra-low latency 5G data connectivity between the two continents, with the operators leveraging BICS’ 5G global IPX network.
The announcement follows a surge in demand for data roaming, which increased by 95% in 2018 according to data from BICS. As subscriber appetite for seamless international connectivity continues to grow, 5G roaming is set to become an integral part of operators’ offerings, enabling users to access data-rich services and high-speed data roaming wherever they are in the world.
Mikaël Schachne, CMO and VP Mobility & IoT Business, BICS added: “With over 50% of global data traffic exchanged over our global IPX network, BICS offers an unrivalled roaming coverage and quality to communication service providers around the world; today’s successful implementation of a trans-continental 5G data roaming relation further endorses our position at the forefront of global mobility for people, applications and things.”
Swisscom, which boasts over 6 million mobile subscriptions, started to roll out its 5G network on April 17. The company currently provides 5G service in 110 cities and villages including Zurich, Geneva and Bern as well as rural and touristic areas.
SK Telecom’s customers using Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will be able to use 5G roaming service through Swisscom when visiting Switzerland after upgrading their devices with the latest software update. In the future, SK Telecom plans to provide software upgrades to LG V50 users and further expand 5G roaming service to other countries around the globe.
“SK Telecom once again proved its leadership in advanced roaming technology with the launch of world’s first 5G roaming service” said Han Myung-jin, Vice President and Head of MNO Business Supporting Group of SK Telecom. “We will continuously expand our 5G roaming service to enhance customer experience and benefits.”
Meanwhile, with the aim to enable its customers to make and receive high-quality, free-of-charge international roaming voice calls while travelling to 171 countries across the world, SK Telecom launched ‘baro’ on December 17, 2018. As of June 2019, ‘baro’ has attracted 2.2 million users and 38 million cumulative calls (total of 800,000 hours of voice calls).
Moreover, ‘baro’ won the ‘Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough in Asia’ award at the 2019 Asia Mobile Awards held as part of MWC19 Shanghai.