South Korea’s government, following its announcement a month ago that it will issue a fourth mobile licence, said it plans to deregulate the industry and start accepting applications in August.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) said in late May it would soon introduce measures to pave the way for a fourth operator. The ministry has long discussed the need for an additional operator to bring more competition to the market, which is dominated by three carriers — SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus.

Between 2010 and 2014, the government rejected six applications for a fourth player, the Korean Herald said.

MSIP, which has said a fourth player would boost competition and lead to lower mobile tariffs, is working on incentives to ease the burden on a newcomer, including allowing it to gradually expand its coverage nationwide, the Herald reported.

Five companies, including Korea Mobile Internet, CJ Hellovision, T-Broad and Hyundai HCN, are said to be considering making a bid. The ministry said it will review the bids from October to December.

The ministry said it will support the country’s mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) market by opening a website to help customers find information about MVNOs. It expects the discount operators to take a 12 per cent market share in 2016.

MSIP also said it will change the regulations that require operators to seek government approval to change rates or launch new plans. The change will mean operators will just need to report tariff plans to the government and can announce the changes after 15 days “if they don’t conflict with the public’s and users’ interests”, the Herald said.