Cell phone firms to be able to bid for new frequencies

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Cell phone firms to be able to bid for new frequencies

Korea has said it will reallocate the nation’s mobile phone airwaves to help spur an estimated 3 trillion won ($2.3 billion) in investments in the telecommunications industry over the next five years.

Mobile phone companies will be able to bid for airwaves in the 800-megahertz, 900-megahertz and 2.1-gigahertz frequencies during the second half of 2009, the Korea Communications Commission said in a statement yesterday.

The move would help LG Telecom Ltd. and KT Freetel Co. expand their networks and better compete against SK Telecom Co., which counts half of Korea’s mobile-phone users as its customers.

SK Telecom is currently the only one of the nation’s three wireless operators that uses airwaves below a frequency of 1 gigahertz, enabling it to offer services with fewer base stations.

The government also said yesterday it plans to spend 6.88 trillion won ($5.36 billion) next year to help companies develop next-generation telecommunications services and buy new equipment. In a policy report to President Lee Myung-bak, the Korea Communications Commission, which regulates the nation’s telecommunications industry, said it will frontload more than half of its budget in the first half of next year to help spur growth in the telecom sector.

In a statement, the KCC said it will spend 56 percent of the budget in the January-June period next year.

This year, the government allocated 6.64 trillion won for the telecom sector.

Korea is one of the world’s most wired countries with nearly nine out of 10 people having a mobile phone and more than two-thirds of homes connected with high-speed Internet. Bloomberg,Yonhap

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