South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) has agreed to make available additional 5G network spectrum following a request from LG Uplus. It is understood that the regulator has decided to offer up a 20MHz block in the 3.5GHz band (specifically 3.40GHz-3.42GHz) following a request from LG Uplus for more frequencies back in July this year. However, the MSIT has yet to determine exactly how or when it will allocate the spectrum block, nor how much it will charge for it, with such factors to be determined by a study group it has formed composed of experts from various sectors including economics, law and technology.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, all three of South Korea’s mobile network operators (MNOs) – SK Telecom, KT Corp and LG Uplus – secured spectrum in the 3.5GHz band at auction in mid-2018. Notably, however, while both SKT and KT laid claim to 100MHz blocks in that band, LG Uplus only won 80MHz. Reporting on the MSIT’s planned sale of another 20MHz in the band, local press outlet the JoongAng Daily noted that the block in question was not put up for sale in the 2018 auction as the regulator did not deem it useable, citing interference with neighbouring frequencies and a lack of necessary tools to remedy it. However, as a result of technical improvements the ministry cleared it for use in December 2019.