ICT minister to discuss controversy over additional 5G frequencies with telcos CEOs

이원주 / 2022-01-27 14:43:53
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ICT minister-5G auction

ICT minister-5G auction

ICT minister to discuss controversy over additional 5G frequencies with telcos CEOs

By Yi Wonju

SEOUL, Jan. 27 (Yonhap) -- Science and ICT Minister Lim Hye-sook said Thursday she will hold a meeting with the heads of three major South Korean telecom operators to discuss additional 5G network frequency bands, hinting at a possible delay in next month's auction.

In December, the ministry agreed to open bidding for additional 5G networks in the 3.4- to 3.42-gigahertz spectrum as requested by LG Uplus, the smallest mobile carrier.

The ministry earlier announced it will open the auction next month, saying the price of the 20 megahertz (MHz) to be distributed at the auction will be set at 135.5 billion won (US$113.5 million).

Top mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. and No. 2 player KT Corp. have complained about the ICT ministry's decision on the additional bidding, saying that LG Uplus is at a relative advantage as it costs considerably less for the company to utilize the spectrum.

On Tuesday, SK Telecom filed a request to the ministry for an additional 40 MHz to be put up for bidding, citing the need for fair competition among the three companies.

"It remains unclear whether the auction will open next month," Lim told reporters during a press conference. "I will meet the CEOs of the three telecom operators next month to request their cooperation, as well as to convince them and listen to their opinions."

In June 2018, the ICT ministry completed an auction for 5G network frequencies by the country's three mobile carriers.

SK Telecom and KT each won 100 MHz in the 3.5 GHz wavelength that can provide better service at longer distances, with LG Uplus settling for 80 MHz.

The total bidding price of the 280 MHz at the 2018 auction -- allowed for use for 10 years until November 2028 -- was 3.68 trillion won. The expiration date for the additional 20 MHz to be distributed at the next auction is also November 2028.


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