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News on Korean regulations: The 4th Frequency Deliberation Committee (1) - DTV channel rearrangement, frequency allocation for TVWS and the emerging ICT industry
08/29/2016 | By Netmanias (tech@netmanias.com)

  • Reallocation of unused TV White Space for use by the private sector
  • Additional frequency for the emerging ICT industry to be available starting October


The South Korean government deliberated on the followings at the 4th Frequency Deliberation Committee held on the 24th:

  • Rearrangement of  DTV channels to secure frequency for ground wave UHD broadcasting
  • Reallocation of TV White Space for data communication use (draft)
  • Allocation of frequency for new ICT industry including IoT, unmanned aircraft (drone), self-driving car, etc. 
  • Withdrawal of frequency in 3,400 – 3,700 MHz band
  • Local distribution of frequency allocated by WRC-15



1. Rearrangement of  DTV channels to secure frequency used for ground wave UHD broadcasting


Nationwide UHD broadcasting service is scheduled to gradually begin starting next year, but there are some areas like Ulsan, Kangwon (including Pyeongchang), etc. where poor freqency supply is expected in 700 MHz. To address this issue in advance, current DTV channels (470 – 698 MHz) being offered in the areas will be rearranged gradually in order to secure frequency to be used for UHD broadcasting.


2. Reallocation of TV White Space for data communication use (draft)


TV white space (TVWS) in DTV bands (470 – 698 MHz) that is not currently being used will be made available for the private sector to use for services like wireless Internet and more.


Because DTV bands are low frequency bands, they give a lot broader coverage than those used for regular mobile Internet. TVWS can be especially useful in rural areas or islands where TVWS can be relatively abundant.


The government will make TVWS service ready as early as November 2016.


3. Allocation of frequency for new ICT industry including IoT, unmanned aircraft (drone), etc. 


To stimulate the new emerging ICT industry, a total of 339 MHz bandwidth* in 940 MHz, 1.7 GHz and 5 GHz bands will be additionally supplied for IoT (110 MHz wide), drone (159 MHz wide) and self-driving car (70 MHz wide) use. The frequency will be offered as unlicensed frequency, but can be used in more secured ways after obtaining permission for radio stations if needed.


* The total will be increased to 6,859 MHz if frequency for drones using satellite (2,520 MHz wide) and for high-resolution automotive radar to prevent collisions (4 GHz wide) are included, as allocated by WRC-15.


<Frequency Allocations>

  • Frequency for IoT, offered as unlicensed bands, can be used without permission for radio stations.
  • Of all frequency allocated for drones, those for satellite that control drones using satellite (2,520 MHz wide) and drone-dedicated freqeuncy for video taping (59 MHz wide) can be used with permission for radio stations. Remaining 100 MHz is unlicensed, and thus can be used without permission.
  • Of all frequency allocated for self-driving car, those for sensing (radar) use (4 GHz wide) is unlicensed, while the remaining frequency (70 MHz wide) for communication requires permission for radio stations.

Once the frequency allocation table is amended in September 2016, frequency can be used from October for intended purposes.

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