The frequency auction for fifth-generation (5G) networks has come to an end only two days after bidding started. While there were concerns that the final aggregate contract price could be excessively high due to a high starting price, which was set at 3.28 trillion won (US$2.97 billion), the actual final price did not exceed 4 trillion won (US$3.62 billion).
According to the Ministry of Science and ICT on June 18, the nation's top mobile carrier SK Telecom and the second largest KT have been awarded 100 megahertz of bandwidth in the 3.5-gigahertz spectrum, while the smallest player LG U+ got 80 megahertz of bandwidth.
On the first day of the auction on June 15, the three companies each took 800 megahertz of bandwidth in the 28-gigahertz spectrum.
The second stage of the bidding was a sealed bid auction where there was no limit in offering prices. Yet the successful tender prices did not go through the roof as the number of cases was limited to six.
SK Telecom paid a total of roughly 1.43 trillion won (US$1.29 billion), KT 1.18 trillion won (US$1.06 billion) and LG U+ 1.02 trillion won (US$920.51 million) to acquire the frequencies.
The three mobile carriers will receive the frequency bandwidth for 5G networks in December. They are planning to launch commercial services in March next year. They are expected to spend at least 20 trillion won (US$18.11 billion) in building 5G communications networks alone and 24 trillion won (US$21.73 billion) in total, including expenses for the auction.