South Korea plans to add new mobile spectrum to expand 5G services
20 January 2017 | Alan Burkitt-Gray
South Korea’s government is to expand the bandwidth allocated to 5G mobile services by next year, when the country will host the Winter Olympics.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning will share bandwidth in the 1.3GHz range between the country’s three mobile carriers, KT, SK Telecom and LG Uplus.
Ministry official Choi Young-hae said: “The ministry will form a team within this month to work on allocating 5G bandwidth and come up with the detailed plan.”
The plan was finalised during a government meeting this week presided over by finance minister Yoo Il-ho, the ministry said, according to the Yonhap news agency.
The ministry did not say how much bandwidth would be set aside for 5G applications in the 1.3GHz band. Spectrum in the 1.3GHz range does not appear to have been used for mobile telephony in the past: most services use 900MHz and below, and 1.7GHz and up. GPS satellites use 1.38105GHz.
The ministry said it had been in talks with South Korea’s mobile carriers, as well as technology firms, including Samsung and LG, to draw up the plan aimed at taking the lead in the mobile network technology.
South Korea has a long-held ambition to launch – or at least to demonstrate – the first commercial 5G services at the 2018 Winter Olympics, which will be held at Pyeongchang on 9-25 February 2018.