Pakistan to auction mobile telecom spectrum in June

Published April 30, 2021
The auction for mobile telephony spectrum is expected to be held in June. — Reuters/File
The auction for mobile telephony spectrum is expected to be held in June. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The auction for mobile telephony spectrum is expected to be held in June, and consultants have expressed optimism that it will be successful because of the potential available in Pakistan.

The briefing was made by a consultant at a meeting of the advisory committee for the release of Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) spectrum at the Finance Division on Thursday, chaired by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin.

The committee approved the recommendations for the sale of the spectrum during the meeting, and the consultant would hold meetings with the stakeholders in the next round, and forward the brief related to the auction process.

In the next step the consultant will forward the ‘information memorandum’ containing the details of procedures related to the auction.

1,800 and 2,100 MHz bands to be put on sale

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Shibli Faraz, Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin ul Haque, adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, federal secretaries of relevant ministries, chairman of the Pakistan Tele­communication Authority (PTA), Executive Director of the Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) and other officers.

The IT minister informed the committee the sale of spectrum was the key to strengthen and expand communication/IT services across the country.

The committee was briefed by the consultant for spectrum auction of 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands.

The committee was informed that the “Spectrum Auction Pakistan 2020-21” was focused on regulatory consistency for the investors and increases the mobile broadband proliferation that will also have an impact on the overall economic growth of Pakistan.

The consultant expressed the confidence that there was significant potential for the growth of broadband and telephony across Pakistan and the existing four cellular companies were eager to obtain additional spectrum to harness the growth opportunities.

The consultant expressed confidence that the auction would be a success and fetch significant revenues for the government.

The consultant — Frontier Econo­mics — and the PTA signed a contract in January this year for the provision of consultancy services for spectrum auction in Pakistan 2020-21.

Frontier Economics Ltd is one of Europe’s largest independent economic consultancy firms with experts across a range of industries including telecommunication.

PTA Chairman Amir Azeem Bajwa also briefed the committee about the arrangements underway for the sale of available spectrum.

He gave a detailed presentation about the specifications of available spectrum bands and methodology for sale in line with international best practices.

The meeting noted that in-depth analysis would be completed to gauge demand for spectrum and devise a strategy for its pricing and packaging.

While taking stock of the situation, the finance minister directed to expedite the sale process for the available spectrum. He stressed to provide a level playing field so that all operators must have a fair and equal chance in the process.

Mr Tarin also stressed that all the key stakeholders have to ensure maximum participation across the board for successful completion of the sale transaction.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2021

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