Stage X, established by the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and Kakao affiliate Stage Five, officially became Korea’s fourth mobile carrier after securing the bid for the 5G 28 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum. The government foresees Stage X disrupting the long-standing dominance of SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus, fostering competition in both quality and services.
The Ministry of Science and ICT approved the consortium’s bid of 430.1 billion won for the technology on Jan. 31, surpassing competitors My Mobile Consortium and Sejong Telecom. The winning bid, five times higher than the starting price of 74.2 billion won, was expected to be in the 100 billion won range.
The 28GHz spectrum, awarded to Stage X, excels in fast data transmission despite its limited reach and susceptibility to obstacles. Unlike the current 3.5GHz frequency used by the three major telecom companies, with each carrier allocated only a 100MHz bandwidth, the 28GHz band allows for an 800MHz bandwidth. This broader bandwidth is similar to having a wider highway for processing more data simultaneously.
Stage X plans to deploy over 6,000 wireless base stations in densely populated areas within the first three years. The goal is to establish a fast and low-latency communication environment, enabling consumers to enjoy content like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).