"With the government scheduled to start accepting applications for the three available IMT-2000 operator's licenses Sept. 25, the three consortiums that are in the running are now in the process of clearing the last hurdle, that of deciding on a technology standard for 3G (third-generation mobile telecom service).
"According to industry sources, Korea Telecom (KT), SK Telecom (SKT) and LG are working to complete the application forms by the end of this week, finalizing plans for technology cooperation with their respective partners. The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) is accepting applications for 3G licenses Sept.25-30.
"Hitherto, all three consortiums, while agreeing in principle with the ministry's call for multiple standards, have said that they would like to deploy the W-CDMA (wideband-code division multiple access) standard that is projected to take 80 percent of the global market for 3G services, rather than the cdma2000 standard developed by Qualcomm, a U.S. firm.
"However, in light of the general consensus among the ministry and the various companies concerned on the need for multiple standards, industry officials predict that in the end there would be either two W-CDMA operators and one cdma2000 operator or vice versa.
"The ministry is hoping for a "two cdma2000, one W-CDMA" scenario which would guarantee the country's continued lead in the CDMA field, a technology which Korea was the first in the world to deploy commercially, while also making sure that it participates in the W-CDMA market.
"LG TeleCom (LGT) and LG Electronics (LGE), formerly LG Information and Communications, have said from the onset of the debate that they would deploy W-CDMA service and the government seems to have no objection to that.
"Hence, the battle of standards is being fought between KT and SKT in which either one company or both will end up taking cdma2000. At the moment, both wireless operators are rejecting cdma2000, sticking by W-CDMA.