South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) has announced the reserve price for its upcoming auction of spectrum suitable for the deployment of 5G services. According to Yonhap News Agency, the regulator confirmed its pricing plans at a public hearing held ahead of the sale process itself, revealing that the minimum cost of blocks in the 3.5GHz band will be KRW2.65 trillion (USD2.5 billion), while blocks in the 28GHz band will cost at least KRW621.60 billion. With the auction scheduled to get underway in June 2018, the MSIT will offer a total of 28 blocks in the 3.5GHz band, and a further 24 blocks of 28GHz spectrum. All frequencies will be usable from December 2018. Licences for the spectrum in the 3.5GHz band will be valid for ten years, while for the 28GHz band they will be valid for five.
A determination on spectrum distribution is expected to be made at a later date, however, with one option under consideration said to be sharing the spectrum equally between the nation’s three mobile network operators – SK Telecom, KT Corp and LG Uplus. Although the latter two cellcos favour such a distribution method, SKT has indicated its preference for a spectrum allocation method which would favour the largest bidder.