The New South Korean Player, Stage X on the Scene

Stage X

Stage X, the new South Korean mobile operator is out, after it won the 28 GHz spectrum auction, securing the rights to become the fourth mobile network operator (MNO).

It’s a process where governments sell the rights to use specific ranges of radio frequencies. These radio frequencies are crucial for transferring mobile phone signals, like texts, calls and internet data.  

“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),” stated The Chosun Daily.

This is a big deal since three existing MNOs have been dominating South Korea for a long time, like SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus. They have secured a spectrum with an unexpected bid, which is high, showing that they’re committing to show up in the market. The company is also committed to expanding its lineup of affordable devices through partnerships with key players such as Samsung, Apple, Google, and Foxconn.

South Korea Beating US?

Price wars started once Stage X has landed, it elevated competition, leading to lowering the prices, bettering the services, and creating innovation for consumers. So, Stage X is going to focus on catering to specific demographics, pushing other operators to enhance their services, and expanding the choices for consumers, leading to better network coverage and quality of service overall.

“Compared to the United States, South Korea is at the forefront of the development of telecommunications. Under the country code +82, there were a total of 99.8 million connections in 2022. Among them were 76.99 million mobile phones, which corresponds to an average of 1.5 per person. In the US, the figure is 1.1 mobile phones per person,” stated WorldData.

Stage X Concerns

Stage X might face several troubles, like data privacy concerns, impacting network investments and the quality of the service in the long run. As well as the prices wars, the aforementioned have a bad impact on the service distribution in the market. Moreover, the infrastructure requires significant investment, for such financial stability is a must, which Stage X might not ensure in the long-term.

Mo Jeong-hoon, an Industrial Engineering professor at Yonsei University, said, “The 28GHz frequency is not a commercially viable spectrum so far, and the nationwide network relies on the infrastructure of the three major telecom companies, making it not significantly different from MVNOs.”


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