​South Korea's 5G spectrum auction to start at $3 billion

South Korea's 5G spectrum auction kicking off in June will have a starting price of 3.3 trillion won ($3.09 billion) for bandwidth of the 3.5GHz and 28GHz spectrum.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

South Korea has set the starting price for its 5G spectrum auction at 3.3 trillion won, the government announced.

The Ministry of Science and ICT said 280MHz bandwidth of 3.5GHz spectrum and 2400MHz bandwidth of 28GHz spectrum will be available for a block auction.

One telco will only be able to purchase 100MHz, 110MHz, or 120MHz of the 3.5GHz spectrum to avoid winner-take-all, the ministry said, though which one of the three limits is not fixed.

3.5GHz spectrum's 280MHz will start at 2.6544 trillion won and 28GHz spectrum's 2400MHz at 621.6 billion won.

The 3.5GHz spectrum will be sold in 10MHz blocks with a starting bid of 94.8 billion won each in 28 rounds. The 28GHz will be sold per 100MHz with an entering bid of 25.9 billion won each in 24 rounds.

The 3.5GHz spectrum is expected to be used for 5G networks deployed nation-wide.

There was a high expectation of 300MHz bandwidth being made available for auction but the bottom 20MHz was removed due to possible interference with a public band.

This effectively rules out a scenario that will allow the three telcos SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus to get 100MHz each and guarantee a price rise.

The auction plan is subject to change going forward and will be finalized next month before the auction begins in June.

Initially planning a 2020 rollout, South Korea last year accelerated its 5G deployment plan to March 2019.

Last month, the country successfully developed 5G, Wi-Fi steering technology to control traffic.


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