Science ministry to revoke license of new mobile carrier Stage X due to funding questions

June 14, 2024

Second Vice Science Minister Kang Do-hyun said Friday that the ministry will cancel the license of Stage X as a new mobile carrier due to the company’s failure to secure paid-in capital and meet other requirements.

Stage X, a consortium comprising mobile virtual network operator Stage Five and other partners, secured the 28 gigahertz spectrum band for the fifth-generation (5G) network in an auction hosted by the ministry earlier this year.

However, funding questions have persisted over the little-known company because a mobile carrier needs tens of millions of dollars to build a nationwide telecom network.

Kang said Stage X has not fully raised the required paid-in capital of 205 billion won (US$149 million), and the composition of the company’s stockholders and the ownership structure between the shareholders were also different from what Stage X initially said, the ministry said.

Of the six main shareholders who own more than a 5 percent stake each in Stage X, only one shareholder paid some of the required capital, the ministry said.

Kang said the ministry will begin a procedure to revoke the license of Stage X before formally canceling it, describing the decision as “very regrettable.”

Also, Kang said the ministry plans to reexamine the overall frequency auction process and related problems in light of this case before deciding whether to reopen an auction for the 5G frequency band.