South Korean cellcos to invest KRW25.7tn in 5G infrastructure

17 Jul 2020

South Korea’s mobile network operators (MNOs) have reportedly agreed to a significant investment in the development of the country’s 5G infrastructure, according to The Korea Times. In a meeting held earlier this week with Science and ICT Minister, Choi Ki-young, the CEOs of SK Telecom, KT Corp and LG Uplus agreed to invest a combined KRW25.7 trillion (USD2.1 billion) in the period to 2022, as they look to establishment nationwide 5G footprints. In terms of specifics of the investment plans, the report notes that the executives indicated their companies would initially focus on enhancing 5G quality in the capital, Seoul, and six other metropolitan areas, before moving on to extending coverage nationwide.

The announcement of these investment plans comes a few days after the South Korean government announced its Korean New Deal (K-New Deal) initiative, under which the country will invest KRW160 trillion with a view to creating 1.9 million jobs in the digital and green sectors by 2025. One of the core pillars of that initiative is the Digital New Deal, which aims for digital transformation utilising 5G infrastructure. To support the investment being made by the country’s MNOs in their 5G infrastructure, the government is understood to have promised tax support in the form of tax credits and other tax reductions, though specifics of this support have not been revealed.