The Korean government said that new operators will be given priority to use spectrum in the 28 GHz band for 5G services
The South Korean government said it aims to provide more incentives to new operators to offer 5G services via spectrum in the 28 GHz band in a bid to boost competition in the local telecom market, local news agency Yonhap reported.
According to the report, new operators will be given priority to use spectrum in the 28 GHz band as well as one of the two 5G anchor bands of 700 MHz or 1.8 GHz for a 5-year period, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.
The ministry also said it is considering lowering the entry fees and easing mandatory equipment installations for the new mobile operators, according to the report.
The Korean government also aims to provide financial support to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to help them compete with major mobile operators such as SK Telecom, KT Corp. and LG Uplus.
Earlier this year, the government of South Korea had effectively cancelled the spectrum licenses in the 28 GHz band that had been previously allocated to local operators for 5G deployments, due to the lack of investment and missed rollout requirements.
Through the decision local operators lost the right to use the 28 GHz frequencies they had won in a spectrum auction in 2018.
The Ministry of Science and ICT noted that the decision was made because local carriers failed to deploy the 28 GHz radio stations that were required as part of the licensing.
According to the ministry, the three telecom companies expressed regret for failing to meet the obligations and did not object the government’s decision, according to the previous reports.
SK Telecom, KT Corp. and LG Uplus had secured frequencies in the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands in 2018, under the condition that they each deploy 22,500 and 15,000 radio stations for each spectrum band.
The government noted that telcos had fulfilled with the stipulated number of radio stations for the 3.5GHz spectrum but all failed to reach the deployment goal for the 28GHz frequencies.
5G subscribers in South Korea reached 30 million as of the end of April, according to the latest available data from the country’s Ministry of Science and ICT. SK Telecom accounted for 47.8% of the total 5G subscribers, followed by KT with 30% and LG Uplus with 21.4%.
MVNO services using 5G networks reached a total of 239,353 subscribers as of the end of April.
The report noted that mobile users are moving away from pricy 5G subscriptions and seeking cheaper alternatives with MVNO operators, forcing local telcos to launch mid-range 5G subscriptions recently.