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ICT ministry mulling details of 5G spectrum auction

All Headlines 10:36 March 25, 2018

SEOUL, March 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's tech ministry is in the process of setting details of the upcoming auction for spectrum supporting the high-end fifth-generation (5G) network, industry watchers said Sunday.

The Ministry of Science and ICT plans to complete its review in the near future and hold a public hearing next month, before completing the auction in June.

"We have conducted simulations on various scenarios for auctions, and gathered opinions from related organizations, mobile carriers, and manufacturers," a ministry official said. "The details of auctions are set to be provided near the public hearing."

The 3.5Ghz and 28Ghz band will be available for the 5G auction.

South Korea's three mobile carriers are setting their eyes on the 3.5Ghz wavelength, which can provide better service at longer distances. This can allow fewer relay transmit stations to be built to set up a nationwide network.

The 28Ghz, on the other hand, is capable of transmitting high-capacity data at a faster speed, but mobile carriers need to establish more signal stations due to its shorter reach. It is expected to be utilized for business-to-business solutions.

The government is currently trying to determine how best to hand out the bands, with one option being to share them equally among the three mobile carriers, or to distribute them unevenly to give the biggest bidder an advantage.

SK Telecom Co., the industry's biggest player, currently prefers unequal allocation, while KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. support equal distribution.

The two smaller firms believe that an unequal distribution will give undue advantages to SK Telecom, which is expected to become the top winner due to its size.

The ministry said it also plans to have mobile carriers avoid engaging in an excessive competition, although it will also try to maximize profits for the country.

The logos of South Korea's three mobile carriers (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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