Move to sell extra telecom spectrum for $1bn

Published September 30, 2020
Pakistan will this week begin the process of selling unused telecom spectrum in an auction it hopes will raise around $1 billion and enhance network capacity. — File
Pakistan will this week begin the process of selling unused telecom spectrum in an auction it hopes will raise around $1 billion and enhance network capacity. — File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will this week begin the process of selling unused telecom spectrum in an auction it hopes will raise around $1 billion and enhance network capacity, said three senior government officials familiar with the matter.

The spectrum is in the 1800 and 2100 MHz bands typically used by operators for 4G LTE (long-term evolution) networks that offer faster video streaming and internet downloads, said the officials.

They asked not to be named as they were not authorised to discuss the matter with the media.

The country plans to kick-start the process by laying out plans to retain an international consulting firm that would design the auction process, and advise on base pricing and other details, they said, adding that no sale date has yet been set.

Pakistan is anxious to replenish state coffers that have been hit by a slump in the economy and in tax collections exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesman for Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said the process to hire a consultant for “Spectrum Auction 2020-21” has been initiated. He declined to give further details.

The country has some 85 million 3G/4G subscribers, and the upcoming auction is seen as a precursor to any 5G launch.

The Pakistan telecom market is dominated by Jazz, backed by Netherlands-based Veon Ltd; Telenor Pakistan, backed by Norway’s state-controlled Telenor; Zong, owned by China Mobile and Ufone, which is controlled by state-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2020

Opinion

Editorial

TTP talks’ oversight
Updated 07 Jul, 2022

TTP talks’ oversight

The bottom line is that the state should not negotiate with terrorists from a position of weakness.
Rain disaster
07 Jul, 2022

Rain disaster

IT is the same story year in and year out. Despite many lives lost, billions of rupees in accumulated damages and ...
Sri Lanka bankruptcy
07 Jul, 2022

Sri Lanka bankruptcy

CRITICALLY low foreign exchange reserves; a plummeting currency and a tanking economy; lengthy power cuts and long,...
Miftah’s misery
Updated 06 Jul, 2022

Miftah’s misery

It cannot be easy to be finance minister in times like these, with friend and foe alike gunning for you over difficult decisions.
Phone tapping
06 Jul, 2022

Phone tapping

IT is the season of audio leaks. No sooner does one ‘incriminating’ clip lose its shock value than another...
Transgender job quota
06 Jul, 2022

Transgender job quota

IN a society where transgender persons often face violence and abuse, the Sindh Assembly’s decision to reserve a...