ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will take up a petition filed against the auction of 3G and 4G licences on Monday.

The petitioner Chaudhry Mohammad Akram Sajid in his petition alleged that the federal government had auctioned 3G and 4G licences at a throwaway price giving huge loss to the national exchequer.

Besides, he alleged that the auction of 3G and 4G spectrum was made in violation of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) initiated the process of 3G and 4G licence on March 17 when it published the final Information Memorandum. Pakistan raised $903 million through auction of 3G and US$210 million through the auction of 4G spectrum.

The petitioner contended that the PTA chairman had violated the provisions of Information Memorandum, PEPRA and alleged that it reduced the 3G and 4G spectrum price in collusion with the existing telecom operators (bidders), causing major loss to national exchequer.

He said in India 3G spectrum auction fetched $22 billion whereas in Pakistan it brought less than $1 billion to the exchequer.

The petitioner cited Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Ministry of information technology, chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited (Mobilink), Telenor Pakistan, s Pakistan Telecom Mobile Limited (Ufone), CM Pak Limited (Zong) and Warid Telecom as respondents.

It said that there are rumours that Warid was purposely kept out of the bidding process but even then the said telecom company is going to launch 4G service, which was evident from the recent text messages to its customers.

He contended that since Warid had not participated in the bidding process, it should not be allowed to use 3G and 4G spectrum.

The petitioner said the entire auction process, including fixing the reserve price and last minute change in number of 3G spectrum lots, lacked transparency.

The petitioner requested the court to declare the bidding process as illegal and unlawful and restrained the telecom operating companies from using 3G and 4G spectrum.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2014

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