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Telecoms apply for frequency bandwidths

Three major telecom operators submitted applications to the government on Thursday for reassignment of frequency bandwidths to offer the current 2G communication services and prepare for the next generation of network technologies.

As the 10-year period for the frequency band expires in June, SK Telecom, KT Corp. and LG Uplus said they asked the Korea Communications Commission for the frequency bands to be redistributed, said mobile carriers.

The KCC plans on reviewing different criteria surrounding the issue, such as the efficiency of using the radio wave, financial funding ability and the firm’s technical skills, during April and May. It will then finalize its decision at a general meeting later in June, which will enable the firms to possess the frequency bands for the next 10 years.

“If we’re able to get a hold of our frequency band once again ― 20 megahertz in the 1.8 gigahertz range ― we will not use it for 2G or 3G services, but to equip ourselves with the next-generation network Long Term Evolution,” said KT officials.

KT has announced that the company will stop providing 2G services starting from June 30, presenting measures such as supporting various costs to help its customers make the switch to 3G mobile phones.

SKT, the nation’s top mobile carrier, applied to reuse the 30 megahertz band in the 800 megahertz range, indicating that the firm will continue to offer 2G services, while making room for LTE network building.

SKT currently has about 9.5 million phone using feature phones that are serviced through 2G networks.

LG Uplus also said it will use the 20 megahertz frequency band in the 1.8 gigahertz range in a bid to offer its existing services.

In a related effort, the company plans to newly secure the 20 megahertz band in the 800 megahertz range, which is projected to be returned by SKT in July, to make an early launch of LTE services as well as convincing its customers to switch to mobiles running on LTE networks.

Last year, SKT recorded a market share of 50.6 percent, followed by KT and LG Uplus with 31.6 percent and 17.8 percent, respectively.

By Cho Ji-hyun (sharon@heraldcorp.com)
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