GILGIT BALTISTAN: The Special Communication Organisation (SCO), a public sector telecommunications services provider in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), is set to roll out 3G and 4G mobile internet services in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) by the end of this year.

"We will be able to provide 3G and 4G services to the people of GB within two months of getting approval from the federal government," SCO Gilgit Sector Public Relations Officer (PRO) Noorul Amin told Dawn.com.

"We have completed 80 per cent upgradation work on infrastructure [in the region] and the remaining work is being carried out rapidly," he claimed.

"We are committed to finalising our preparations in this regard by December 2016, but are confident that we will be able to do so before the beginning of December," Amin said.

The SCO PRO said that the organisation was expecting the federal government's decision on the matter by the end of September, and was optimistic that the company would receive the go-ahead. He added that the organisation would participate in an auction for the 3G and 4G spectrum licenses if the government held one.

However, SCO Director Marketing Ifithikhar ul Wahab rejected the impression that any company would be given approval to provide services without an auction of 3G and 4G spectrum licenses.

Wahab said there would "obviously" be an auction as "the government does not discriminate between private and public sector companies in such processes".

The SCO's marketing director said that although no set date has been announced by the government for the auction, authorities will likely decide on the matter by the end of 2016.

He added that the SCO had taken all necessary measures to provide the services as they could not afford to lose customers by taking a side in the race for provision of 3G and 4G mobile internet in the region.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Spokesman Khurram Mehran said no approval has been given to the SCO or any other private telecom company to launch 3G and 4G services in the GB region.

When asked if an auction would be held to award 3G and 4G licenses to companies, he said, "things are in process".

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