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South Korean LTE Spectrum Auction Gets Under Way

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South Korea's radio spectrum auction has started with all three incumbent mobile networks participating.

The regulator is offering up 80Mhz of spectrum in the 2.6Ghz band and 50Mhz in the 1800Mhz band

The lower frequency is expected to be more heavily fought over, in part to due to the less amount available, but also due to the increased availability of LTE handsets in that band.

Korea Telecom is hoping to do well out of the bidding for the 1800Mhz spectrum, but has expressed concerns that its two rivals may collaborate to block its bids by driving up the price.

However, both SK Telecom and LG U+ have previously argued for a  ban on Korea Telecom being allowed to bid due to its existing holdings, which it acquired in 2010.

They argued that KT's existing holdings in the 1800Mhz bands mean it could double its existing LTE network capacity with a minimal expenditure compared to the heavy investments they expect to have to make.

There is an incentive on the other two networks to pay more for the spectrum to block Korea Telecom gaining spectrum that would be of particular advantage for it.

The regulator has said that it will look out for such collaboration.

The auction is expected to take at least a week to reach a conclusion.

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Tags: 1800mhz  lte  radio spectrum  Korea