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South Korea's Private 5G Government Policy and KT's Strategy
May 17, 2023 | By Harrison J. Son (son@netmanias.com)
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South Korea's Private 5G Government Policy and KT's Strategy






Private 5G Spectrum in Korea, Source: Ministry of Science and ICT


On October 28, 2021, the South Korean government (Ministry of Science and ICT: MSIT) started offering private 5G frequencies (100MHz@4.7GHz, 600MHz@28GHz) in an effort to deploy private 5G, a crucial infrastructure for enterprises' digital transformation, across a variety of industries in South Korea.


As private 5G frequencies becomes available, enterprises can secure private 5G networks independent of MNO's public 5G networks.


These private 5G frequencies provided by the MSIT can be used in two ways.

  • Private 5G Operator (As of May 2023, 11 operators): Approved by MSIT as a private 5G common carrierand assigned private 5G frequencies by MSIT to provide private 5G network services to enterprise customers.
  • Enterprise DIY (As of May 2023, 10 enterprises): Enterprises are assigned private 5G frequencies by MSIT to build their own private wireless networks.

Mobile network operators (SK Telecom, KT, and LG U+) in South Korea are not permitted to become private 5G operators. Because of antitrust issues, the government has barred MNOs from operating as private 5G operators.


Although KT cannot become a private 5G operator according to government policy, it is preparing two businesses to enter the private 5G market utilizing private 5G frequencies (4.7GHz, 28GHz). 


The first business is to provide private 5G solutions (5G equipment, terminals, monitoring and control system, etc.) to private 5G operators and build a private 5G service network for private 5G operators (Market 1). In this regard, KT is working with AWS, Nokia, and Megazone Cloud (Megazone Cloud has applied to the government for approval as a private 5G operator). 


The second business is to provide network design, construction, operation, and maintenance for enterprises that want to build their own private 5G networks by themselves (Market  2). In this case, KT acts as an SI company.






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