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SK nixes LG 3G license

Government boots out CEO for heel-dragging

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The South Korean government has rescinded LG Telecom's 3G operator rights and told CEO Nam Yong he must leave his post because of the firm's failure to develop 2Ghz wireless technology.

Reuters reports Korean operators have been reluctant to implement their synchronous CDMA licenses while the trend globally has been toward alternative WCDMA technology. The government rejected a bid by LG to license WCDMA in Korea.

LG has said the business case for synchronous CDMA is shaky and the technological support weak.

WCDMA licenses were awarded in 2000 to rivals SK Telecom and KT Corp.

Information and Communication Minister Rho Jun-Hyong said: "The government has decided to cancel LG Telecom's license by respecting its opinion." A statement added that communications laws meant the CEO has to quit.

LG operates the third largest network in South Korea. It was set to pay 1.15 trillion Won ($1.19bn) for its 3G license after striking a deal in May 2002. The government said it will refund around 100m of the 220m Won LG has handed over so far.®

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