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Gov't cancels SK Telecom's license for 28 GHz spectrum

All News 16:06 May 12, 2023

SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ICT ministry said Friday that it has canceled the license for the new 28 gigahertz spectrum of high-speed 5G network owned by SK Telecom Co., South Korea's No. 1 wireless carrier, citing a lack of investment.

SK Telecom had been given the right to use the high-speed 5G network frequency band in 2018 and was required to install 15,000 units of related network equipment by May this year.

But the company has completed 1,650 units of 28 GHz equipment as of last week and had no plans for further installations, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

"The ministry has reviewed SK Telecom's fulfillment and notified it of our decision to cancel its license," the ministry said in a statement.

The corporate logo of SK Telecom Co. is seen in this image provided by the company. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The corporate logo of SK Telecom Co. is seen in this image provided by the company. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The move came after the government canceled the spectrum licenses in the 28 GHz band previously allocated to two local mobile carriers, KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp., in November last year, which also failed to meet the number of mandatory equipment installations.

The ministry said it will seek new operators for the 28 GHz spectrum to provide the proper high-speed network service for the Korean people.

The government has earlier said the new operator will be given the exclusive rights to the 28 GHz band for three years, with other benefits like low-interest rate loans and tax credits.

South Korea has secured two 3.5 GHz and two 28 GHz spectrum bands for the 5G network, known as a key technology for high-speed mobile services.

The 28 GHz spectrum has a narrower coverage area than the 3.5 GHz, but it has a higher speed and lower latency with an advantage in distributing data traffic in population-dense areas.

Telecommunications operators in advanced regions like the United States and Japan are actively expanding their 28 GHz networks, while 33 countries, including Australia and India, are currently preparing to allocate 28 GHz spectrum bands and deploy services.


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