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Frequency Allocation to Hold Key to Success of 5G in S. Korea
Success Factor for 5G Commercialization
Frequency Allocation to Hold Key to Success of 5G in S. Korea
  • By Cho Jin-young
  • April 3, 2018, 00:30
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The South Korean government is considering using a generic block auction system for frequencies in June.
The South Korean government is considering using a generic block auction system for frequencies in June.

 

As governments and mobile carriers around the world started to prepare for the commercialization of 5G mobile telecommunications, the Korean telecommunication industry is pressed by the auction of 5G frequencies in June.

According to the telecommunication industry on April 2, overseas governments and mobile carriers are actively making efforts such as building 5G commercial cities and starting network tests.

Of note were moves by the UK which held the world’s first 5G frequency auction on March 20 (local time). The UK government proposed about one million pounds per block as the starting price during the auction and the price was called reasonable. Recently, the UK government began to create a 5G city.

China is also accelerating its moves. China's official Xinhua News Agency recently reported that China Mobile started a 5G base station test in Open Laboratory of China Mobile 5G Innovation Center in Tianjin, China. China Mobile is also preparing to test 5G networks in 12 cities including Beijing, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Chengdu. China Telecom is also building 5G telecommunication test networks in 12 cities in China.

Preparations are being made to ensure safety issues in the 5G era. The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications began preparing safety standards on 5G commercial use. The Japanese ministry is planning to use a higher frequency band for 5G, but will measure the amount of radio waves and evaluate its stability as there is no standard limit for the intensity of radio waves.

The Korean telecommunication industry is also busy to catch up with such fast-moving overseas markets. In order not to lose global 5G competition, Korean telecom carriers insist that they have no difficulty in building a 5G network. Currently, the Ministry of Science and ICT is considering using a generic block auction system for frequencies in June. The generic block auction system tries to split a frequency into several blocks such as 10 MHz or 20 MHz blocks. Some mobile telecom carriers are concerned that there will be a gap in competitiveness from the beginning of 5G services.

There is also concern over a successful bidding price that can shoot up due to excessive competition. This is because telecom carriers cannot spend much money on buying frequencies as they are planning large-scale investment in the commercialization of 5G.

“When allocating LTE frequencies, frequencies in a narrow band were priced high so 20MHz frequencies peaked at 1,995 billion won. If the same way applies to 5G frequencies, their prices will be exorbitant,” said an official of the Ministry of Science and ICT. “We will lower prices of frequencies in the same band even further from the LTE frequency auction by taking into account practical factors."