South Korea’s largest cellco by subscribers, SK Telecom (SKT), has announced that it is now offering 4G LTE services using the spectrum in the 1800MHz band which it won in the government’s recent frequency auction. SKT said it has launched its ‘newly enhanced’ LTE services in the Mapo district of Seoul, and plans to expand coverage to ‘main areas’ of eleven major districts of the capital by early next month. Looking further ahead, SKT has said it aims to extend 1800MHz LTE services to the Seoul metropolitan area by November 2013, and with a further six metropolitan cities expected to gain access to upgraded offering by March 2014, nationwide coverage is forecast to be achieved by July 2014.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, earlier this month SKT laid claim to new spectrum (a 35MHz block) in the 1800MHz band, having bid KRW1.05 trillion (USD970 million). However, at the time it was reported that the cellco would, in fact, only have to pay around KRW400 million for the bandwidth, after it handed back two blocks of spectrum; it was not specified which spectrum had been dropped.