ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is diverting away from its earlier commitments for ‘digital Pakistan’ and there is an urgent need to connect more people for a resilient digital society, GSMA Asia Pacific head Julian Gorman said on Thursday.
GSMA, an association of global mobile network operators, had been expressing concern over policy shifts by the government regarding the telecom sector, leading to high cost of doing business.
Mr Gorman held a virtual meeting with Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque to discuss financial health and sustainability of the telecom industry in Pakistan, said a statement released by the ministry after the meeting.
The minister apprised Mr Gorman of the preparations to launch 5G for commercial use for which steps have been taken after consultation with the World Bank, telecom industry and international stakeholders.
“[The] minister assured all possible support and measures to facilitate the telecom industry, 5G strategy and readiness for upcoming spectrum auction in line with the ‘Digital Pakistan Vision, Meaningful and Affordable Connectivity, Smartphones for all’,” the statement added.
Mr Haque also said the strategy to launch 5G along with price determination and spectrum allocation shall be in accordance with the socio-economic dynamics and ecosystem “to create a win-win situation for the industry, citizens and the government”.
He highlighted that ample progress has been made to finalise the telecom infrastructure and spectrum sharing framework.
Member telecom Omar Malik briefed the meeting on the steps for 5G readiness, ecosystem scale-up and smart device manufacturing progress, the statement added.
Mr Gorman also expressed solidarity with the flood victims and commended the efforts by the ministry to restore connectivity in affected areas.
He also invited Mr Haque and his team to participate in the upcoming ‘Mobile World Congress’ which will be held in Barcelona in Feb-March 2023.
Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2022