South Korea’s wireless carriers SK Telecom and KT Corp. have tied at 100 megahertz (MHz) in a fierce two-day auction for 5G 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) frequency. The smallest mobile LG Uplus secured the remainder 80㎒.
The Ministry of Science and ICT began the auction for the 280 MHz of the 3.5 GHz frequency band Monday morning with a cap on the 3.5 GHz spectrum, which is considered as the key in winning the 5G race.
The three mobile carriers are now poised to launch investments for telecom equipment and services on the 5G network, which is scheduled to go commercial in March, 2019.
They will have to select 5G equipment vendors in the third quarter and work on the nationwide infrastructure to meet the schedule. 5G smartphones and related services are expected to be introduced in the first quarter of next year, but the lack of money-making services raises a concern for their massive 5G project which costs up to 3.3 trillion won in frequency acquisition alone.
Internationally, standards for 5G equipment and terminals were already established. The 3GPP, the international group that governs cellular standards, officially completed the Standalone version of the 5G New Radio standard at a meeting in La Jolla, California, last Thursday.
By Kim Gyu-sik and Minu Kim
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