Gov't to permit auction of additional 5G network spectrum
The Ministry of Science and ICT has agreed to open bidding for an additional 5G network spectrum following a request from LG U+.
The Ministry of Science and ICT authorized the auction of the 3.4 to 3.42 gigahertz (GHz) 5G network spectrum on Friday following a July 8 request from the carrier. The details of the auction, such as the date or participants, have not been set yet.
Local reports say that since the auction is open to all network servicers in Korea, SK Telecom and KT are also likely to participate. Since July, SK Telecom and KT have been complaining that requesting an additional spectrum after the initial auction is unfair.
“SK Telecom and KT don’t really need the spectrum range, but they could participate in the auction just to make it difficult for LG U+,” said a telecom insider who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s obvious that they’re not happy about a lesser competitor becoming their equals.”
Spokespersons from both companies told the Korea JoongAng Daily that they have no specific plans, but are “looking into the matter from all angles.”
In a government spectrum auction in June 2018, SK Telecom and KT each bought 100 megahertz (MHz) spectrum bands, while LG U+ only bought 80 MHz. SKT bought the 3.6 to 3.7 GHz band for 1.2 trillion won ($1 billion), KT bought the 3.5 to 3.6 GHz band for 968 billion won and LG U+ bought the 3.42 to 3.5 GHz band for 809.5 billion won.
The 20 MHz spectrum range band was not put up for sale at the time because the Science Ministry did not deem it usable, citing interference with neighboring frequencies and a lack of necessary tools to remedy it. After technical improvements, however, the Science Ministry cleared the 3.4 to 3.42 GHz spectrum for use on Dec. 5, 2019.
“We will decide on the details of allocating the spectrum band after a careful study of the variables,” the science ministry said.
BY YOON SO-YEON [email@example.com]