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Controversy about Auction for 2.1 GHz Frequency becomes More and More Interesting as 3 Companies All have Different Views
10/07/2015 | By Kim, Yongjoo (kyj@etnews.com)

Mobile telecommunication industries are predicting that an all-out war will take place with 2.1 GHz bandwidth frequency that is expected to be auctioned in first half of 2016 on the line. While some are arguing that all of 100 MHz need to be auctioned, some are counter-arguing that all of it needs to be reallocated. Consumptive controversy is expected if a clear standard of dividing frequency is not set.


According to mobile telecommunication industry, SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus all have sharply different position regarding how 2.1 GHz bandwidth needs to be auctioned.

100 MHz (upward-downward standard) out of 2.1 GHz bandwidth is considered as the ‘biggest fish’ of 3rd Frequency Auction that is scheduled to take place sometime between this year and next year because it takes up about half of 220 MHz frequency that are to be auctioned. Because it guarantees rights to use it for 10 years once it is divided, all 3 businesses have their eyes on it.
But the problem is that all of 100 MHz is being used by SK Telecom (60 MHz) and KT (40 MHz) for 3G and LTE48 purposes and that there are many members that are currently using such service.

Ministry of Science, ICP and Future Planning (MSIP) is taking an opposite stance of a method that all of it needs to be collected and reallocated. It decided on an inside policy that suggests 80 MHz to be reallocated to current businesses and auction only 20 MHz that is being used by SK Telecom for LTE purpose.

SK Telecom could not hide its feeling of confusion. A person affiliated with SK Telecom said that users will feel inconvenient due to low speed and a need to exchange cellphones if frequency that is being used by members gets collected. This indicates that all of frequency needs to be reallocated and not just 20 MHz out of 40 MHz.

LG Uplus is taking a stance that it cannot accept this kind of policy because it will be totally excluded from the auction if 100% reallocation takes place and that all of frequency needs to be up for the auction. A person affiliated with LG Uplus emphasized that if reallocation of 2.1 GHz bandwidth takes place, it is as if SK Telecom monopolizing it since it will be using major bandwidth for 25 years without any competition. On the other hand, KT is supporting MSIP’s policy on only putting 20 MHz up for the auction.

According to Radio Regulation Law, MSIP needs to let mobile telecommunication businesses about what it will do with 100 MHz out of 2.1 GHz bandwidth that has its use-by date expire in December of 2016. MSIP is planning to decide on a basic policy by end of this month and confirm on what it will do by end of next month. Industries are pointing out that MSIP needs to set up a clear standard about how it will divide frequency so that unnecessary controversy does not continue on.

“Competition between businesses is getting fiercer since 2.1 GHz is a major bandwidth from this auction. MSIP needs to set up a clear standard about how it will divide frequency to prevent any unnecessary waste from happening continuously.” said one person in mobile telecommunication business.

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