ISLAMABAD, Nov 14: Driven by the Supreme Court, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) finally got its fulltime chairman after a delay of almost nine months.

According to a notification issued on November 12, Dr Ismail Shah has been appointed the PTA chairman. He is from the private sector and has a PhD. He was Member IT in the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and is an academician.

Previously, he had been appointed as Member Technical PTA on September 30, 2013, and was also given the charge of the acting chairman.

However, last week, the Supreme Court directed the government to appoint a fulltime chairman as the PTA rules did not have any provision for an acting chairman.

The post of the PTA chairman had been lying vacant since February, 2013 after the Lahore High Court declared the appointment of Farooq Awan, the former chairman of the regulatory body, was in violation of the PTA Act.

The LHC had held that civil servants could not be appointed as chairman or members of the PTA according to the act and rules.Farooq Awan was the secretary of Information Technology and had come from the Pakistan Administrative Services (PAS) (formerly known as the District Management Group or DMG).

Offers for 3G licences received

Meanwhile, the PTA also received offers from bidders for the auction of the 3G licence in Pakistan.

The 3G auction, which has not been held for almost a year due to the absence of a full time chairman, received an encouraging response from local and international firms for its offer of spectrum auction consultancy.

The appointment of the full time chairman immediately enabled the Evaluation Committee to open the bids on Tuesday. The committee was constituted to assess offers submitted by various consultants for the next generation mobile service in Pakistan.

The Evaluation Committee now has two weeks to select the best offer out of the seven bids it has received after assessing the technical and financial proposals according to rules.

The PTA spokesperson, Khurram Mehran, confirmed that the selected consultants would be responsible for providing professional analysis, input and advice recommendations on the whole auction process.

These recommendations would be based on PTA’s request for proposal (RFP) and terms of reference (ToR), and the team would be responsible for the successful completion of the auction in a transparent manner.

“The consultants will also ensure competition and complete transparency in the auction process,” said the PTA spokesperson while elaborating the first serious step towards launching 3G services in Pakistan.

Pakistan is lagging behind in the launching of 3G mobile services in the region. Bangladesh already launched its third-generation network two months ago.

“After successful sale of licences to two new operators (Telenor and Warid) worth $291 million each in 2004, the auction of the 3G spectrum will be the next major auction as far as the spectrum is concerned,” Mr Mehran said.However, he did not elaborate on the number of licences being auctioned and refused to comment on how much the auction would fetch.

“The process is in infancy stages. The consultant will suggest base price after analysing the market, past experiences, and current investment policies and practices to mention some examples,” said the official.

He maintained that PTA would determine the estimated price sale of the spectrum once the consultant suggested a base price from where the auction would start.