The Korea Herald


KCC keeps SKT, KT off 2.1 GHz broadband range

By Cho Ji-hyun

Published : June 22, 2011 - 19:05

    • Link copied

The Korea Communications Commission agreed to exclude two mobile carriers SK Telecom and KT Corp. from a new wireless broadband spectrum auction, giving the upper hand to LG Uplus on Wednesday.

Five commissioners of the state media and telecom regulating body said SKT and KT will be blocked from taking part in the 2.1 gigahertz radio spectrum auction, slated for early August.

“We decided to go with leaving out the two leading mobile carriers in order to provide a fair environment for competition,” said Oh Nam-seok, director-general of the radio policy bureau at the KCC.

“The commissioners believed adding vibe to the market, instead of purely sticking to the rules of the auctioning system, contained more importance.”

The KCC also said it will hold the auctions at the same time for the 800 megahertz and 1.8 gigahertz ranges, along with the 2.1 gigahertz range. The licenses will be given for 10 years.

The government is likely to face protests from industry insiders for not going forward with the auction system for the radio spectrum, which was to be held for the first time in Korea.

Initially, the government had said the main goal of introducing the auction system was to pick the firm which could most efficiently use the radio spectrum depending on market valuation.

Auctioning of the 2.1 gigahertz radio spectrum was part of the revised radio regulation law passed by the National Assembly in June last year, which took effect in January.

All three mobile carriers had been keeping a close watch on the 20 megahertz bandwidth of the 2.1 gigahertz range, which would be used for 3G communication services, as well as 4G Long Term Evolution technologies.

The wireless service operators have been claiming that the wireless spectrum is needed to deal with the fast-increasing wireless data usage figure, mostly due to smartphone adoption, and for better services.

Currently, industrial leader SKT has up to 60 megahertz band of the 2.1 gigahertz range, while KT, the No. 2 player in wireless telecommunication service, has 40 megahertz band. LG Uplus does not own any bandwidth in that particular frequency range.

By Cho Ji-hyun (