South Korea completes 5G auction

20 Jun 2018

South Korea has completed the world's first auction of 5G spectrum in the 3.5-GHz and 28-GHz frequency bands, with each of the market's mobile operators picking up spectrum through the sale.

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus will pay a combined 3.6 trillion won ($3.2 billion) for 280MHz of 3.5-GHz spectrum and 2,400MHz of spectrum in the 28-GHz band, the Korea JoongAng Dailyreported. This is around 300 won above the reserve price set for the auction.

SK Telecom and KT both acquired the maximum of 100MHz of 3.5-GHz spectrum, with LG Uplus taking the remaining 80MHz.

Incumbent operator SK Telecom paid around 1.43 trillion won, compared to KT's 1.18 trillion won an LG Uplus' 1.02 trillion won.

LG Uplus has announced it plans to focus on developing differentiated 5G services to compensate for its spectrum disadvantage.

The allocations across both frequency bands will be valid from December this year, with 3.5GHz spectrum being licensed for a 10-year period and 28GHz spectrum valid for a five-year period.

With the first phase of the 3GPP's 5G specifications now complete, South Korean operators aim to commercialize 5G networks by next year.

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