New 5G 28GHz operator, 4th telecom… Ministry of Science and ICT announces support plan

The government is preparing policy support for new operators in the 5G 28GHz band to move up to the 4th mobile carrier position. Beyond supporting 28GHz band-specific services, if operators wish, they will promote supply to the 3.7GHz band near the band where mobile carriers have built 5G networks across the country. With the intention of growing operators strategically, such as supporting all stages from frequency allocation to network construction and terminal acquisition, some variations are expected in the current market.

The Ministry of Science and ICT held a meeting on the 31st at the Government Complex in Sejong-ro, Seoul, and announced a policy to support new 28GHz operators. Of the two bands for which the KT and LG U+ allocation was cancelled, one band, 800MHz, is allocated first. We plan to announce the allocation in the second quarter and select the operator in the fourth quarter. the band is It is supplied as a specific band that only new operators can participate in for a minimum of three years.

The Ministry of Science and ICT intends to promote competition in the established telecommunications market by joining new operators, while ensuring technological competitiveness and quality in preparation for the 6G era. Above all, in order to compensate for the limitations of the 28GHz band, which is being discussed for hotspot use, operators have opened up a way to provide general telecommunications services such as data, phone calls, and text messages.

What is clear is that the three mobile carriers immediately declared that they would give the Sub-6 (sub-6) GHz band that is used for 5G service. The 3.7GHz band that SK Telecom said it would consider supplying includes the 3.7~3.72GHz band that SK Telecom requested for additional allocation last year. In particular, it was asked that the research group currently reviewing SK Telecom’s supply could discuss it together.

Of course, in order to establish the 3.7GHz band, operators may not be able to enter easily as it may require a cost equivalent to the price paid by mobile carriers. However, in a situation where competition in quality and rates is stagnant, the intention of the Ministry of Science and ICT to bring tension to the mobile telecommunications market through new operators is clear.

As a new operator begins 28GHz service, it may immediately provide mobile service to general customers. It is a method of providing services to consumers by accepting a wholesale network from a mobile operator as a budget phone.

The 28GHz frequency range can be chosen by operators nationwide or regionally. Regional allocation is applied at metropolitan area level. The price will be announced in the 2nd quarter allocation notice taking into account the frequency value. The payment method reduced the initial investment cost burden by allowing the amount to increase gradually after the business matured.

Signal control frequencies (anchor frequencies) such as 700 MHz and 1.8 GHz are also supplied. If a new business operator wants it for direct service such as call and data, a high price will be required, but the possibility of its use is open.

To establish operator networks, KEPCO and telecommunications companies support the use of optical pipes and cables. When using existing facilities, the costs of building a network can be reduced by up to 40% compared to completely self-building. The Ministry of Science and ICT estimates that around 300 billion won will be needed to build 28GHz base stations based on 300 hotspots across the country. In consultation with Samsung Electronics, it is also pushing to install 28GHz on self-contained smartphones.

While lowering interconnection fees, it also promotes a temporary increase in the tax credit rate this year for the amount of investment in 5G networks. It also helps raise money through policy funding that can support around 400 billion won.

Hong Jin-bae, head of the network policy department at the Ministry of Science and ICT, said, “As inquiries from various operators come in, it will be an opportunity for companies with many user contact points to provide services by combining telecommunications.” New operators who can provide services could emerge in the market,” he said.

However, for a new 28GHz operator to grow into a 4th mobile carrier despite full government support, massive capital and constant investment must continue.

A telecommunications industry official said, “There are still major doubts in the market as to whether there will be a company that will continue to pay operating costs until the network is established and new subscribers gather.”

Reporter Yerin Jeong

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