ISLAMABAD: Caret­aker Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif and Pakistan Telecomm­unication Auth­ority (PTA) Chairman retired Maj Gen Hafeezur Rehman on Tuesday decided that the 5G services will be launched within 10 months.

Dr Umar Saif said that all the hurdles in the launch of 5G services will be removed on a priority basis, adding that issues relating to taxation, teledensity and spectrum will be addressed.

He said that effective measures will be taken for the provision of quality services to masses, and expressed the resolve to facilitate people through 5G auction.

Both the IT minister and the chairman PTA noted that that Pakistan ranks very low in terms of quality of service for cellular users at 79 out of 100 by the Inclusive Internet Index.

It was observed that one of the main reasons for this is the lack of investment in the telecom infrastructure.

The PTA officials told the minister that telecom operators in Pakistan only have 274 MHz spectrum to serve the 7th largest number of telecom users in the world, whereas, a single telecom operator in Australia uses over 345 MHz.

“For better telecom services, we must ensure immediate improvement in 4G infrastructure and accelerate the rollout of 5G in Pakistan,” the PTA chief said.

Incidentally, the Minis­try of IT and Telecom had announced to roll out 5G by the middle of 2023, and the ministry was vying to woo foreign investors too, however, the local telecom players have declared a digital emergency due to the high cost of doing business and restrictions on imports of components and technical parts.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2023

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