​South Korea completes 5G spectrum auction

With the 3.5GHz and 28GHz spectrum auction complete, the South Korean government and telcos are set to roll out 5G in December.

South Korea has completed auctioning off spectrum for 5G to telcos and is set to begin its rollout in December.

The auction for the 3.5GHz and 28GHz spectrum began last week on Friday, and after a weekend break, was completed late Monday.

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280MHz bandwidth of 3.5GHz spectrum and 2400MHz bandwidth of 28GHz spectrum were available in block auction. The respective spectrum was divided into 28 blocks and 24 blocks. Each telco -- SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus -- had a 10 block cap per spectrum.

SK Telecom and KT each won 100MHz of the 3.5GHz spectrum, while LG Uplus clinched 80MHz. All three telcos secured 800MHz of the 2.8GHz spectrum.

In total, the telcos paid 3.6183 trillion won for the spectrum, 340 billion won higher than the starting price of 3.3 trillion won.

The Ministry of Science and ICT said they can start using the spectrum on December 1. They can use the 3.5GHz spectrum for the next 10 years and 28GHz spectrum for five years.

The telcos will likely began preparation for 5G rollout in the second half, starting with capital city Seoul using 3.5GHz spectrum, and will then begin 28GHz spectrum use next year.

On Tuesday, SK Telecom announced that it has successfully tested data transfer with the 5G Standalone (SA) standard with Nokia.

Last week, 3GPP announced the setting of the 5G SA standard. The final discussions, hosted by Samsung, began last month.

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