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Gov't to give new operator exclusive rights to 5G 28 GHz spectrum

15:36 January 31, 2023

SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government said Tuesday it will give a new operator the exclusive rights to an additional 5G network frequency band for three years in a bid to help local businesses enter the new high-speed network service sector.

The new operator will be given the priority to use one of the two frequency bands in the 28 gigaherz wavelength, while the other band will be allocated three years after the first operator starts the service, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The operator will be the only service provider in the 28 GHz spectrum for the first three years and given the time to secure the market. Financial benefits, including tax cuts and fresh loans, will also be provided to the operator, the ministry added.

This illustration highlights the competition for 5G networks among South Korea's three mobile carriers -- SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. (Yonhap)

The move came as the government deprived two local mobile carriers, KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp., of their right to use the 28 GHz spectrum last month, citing that they failed to meet the requirements of networking building.

Market leader SK Telecom Co.'s license duration for 28 GHz also was reduced.

"The government is giving businesses an opportunity to enter the market, one in which they can take their time, considering that it might be hard for them to make new investments in the 28 GHz band due to rising economic uncertainties at home and abroad," the ministry said.

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.

The country's three carrier operators have been building networks for the 3.5 GHz spectrum but remained lukewarm about expanding 28 GHz networks.

The ICT ministry said it will start the process to pick a new 5G mobile communication operator in the second quarter of this year.



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