Telecoms brace for bandwidth auction


The Korea Herald | April 5, 2011 | Cho Ji-hyun

Regulator to sell rights to 2.1 GHz spectrum this year; major firms keen on acquiring

Korean telecom carriers are engaged in a high-stake competition to win a new wireless broadband spectrum which the state media regulator Korea Communications Commission is to put on auction this year.

Auctioning of the 2.1 gigahertz radio spectrum was part of the revised radio regulation law passed by the National Assembly in June last year, which took effect in January.

However, the five KCC commissioners, who were appointed in late March, first have to lay out the rules of the auction before releasing the spectrum for sale in the market.

The license to use the spectrum bands for high bandwidth will be given for 10 years, considering that technology transforms rapidly. The law states that it could be licensed for up to 20 years.

If the government carries out the auction, it would be the first attempt to move away from the method of the so-called “beauty contest,” where the government imposes the criteria to decide which operator gets the right for spectrum use.

“The biggest reason for introducing the auction system here is to pick the firm which could most efficiently use the radio spectrum depending on market valuation,” said Kim Jeong-sam, director at the spectrum policy division at KCC.

“We also plan to enhance transparency and have the government take back the revenue of the market-evaluated wireless spectrum.”

Taking many factors into consideration, such as the competition environment and the impact on the market, the commission will design the auction ― including whether to divide the 20 megahertz band in half ― as early as the first half of this year, said Kim.


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