South Korea’s mobile operators and an ISP will jointly build a nationwide 5G infrastructure which they will share and allow them to save an estimated KRW1 trillion ($935 million) over the next ten years, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The four companies – SK Telecom, KT, LG Uplus and SK Broadband – agreed to jointly roll out a 5G network including base stations, although details of the required investment each will make are yet to be worked out. A Ministry of Science and ICT source said those details would be worked out in the first half of the year: the estimated cost of building the 5G infrastructure was not disclosed.
Jun Sung-bae, a senior ICT ministry official, said its goal is to lead the fourth industrial revolution and to support the early commercialisation of 5G technology, Yonhap News Agency reported.
In January, communications minister Yoo Young-min asked the country’s three major wireless operators to collaborate on the new technology to meet a previously agreed timeline of first commercial operations in 2019 and nationwide deployment in 2020.
KT, the second largest mobile operator in South Korea, announced in late March it plans to start commercial 5G service in March 2019, which will make it one of the first operators in the world to launch the next generation mobile technology.
The ministry last month began drafting plans for a 5G spectrum auction and will hold a public hearing this month, with an auction planned in June. Spectrum in the 3.5GHz and 28GHz band will be sold.