The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) awarded five Wireless Local Loop (WLL) licenses valuing Rs 26 million to successful bidders for providing telecom services in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Northern Areas (NAs).
Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL), Wateen, Direct Link and Telenor Pakistan participated in the bidding process. In 3.5 GHz spectrum, bidding for Mirpur (TR-1), one block was awarded to Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL) against a bid of Rs 10 million, while the bid for second block was not concluded as no company showed interest.
Similarly, for Muzaffarabad (TR-2), PTCL gave the highest bid of Rs 4 million, followed by Wateen, which matched the price. For Northern Areas (TR-3), Wateen offered highest bid of Rs 4 million, and second block went to PTCL at the same price.
PTA Chairman Dr Mohammed Yaseen said that the issuance of WLL licenses would add to the efforts of the government to provide enhanced and affordable telecom services to the people of the area. The bidding of WLL licenses in 3 Telecom Regions (TR) is likely to capture huge investment as well, he added.
He said that earlier there was only one operator in AJK and Nas, but when competition was introduced, and new operators started their services, all segments of the sector witnessed rapid growth.
He said that with a teledensity figure of 2.6 percent in 2005-06, the region was lagging far behind the rest of the country in terms of telecommunication services. Two years after the deregulation in the area, the teledensity of AJK and NAs stands at 33 percent. Mobile subscribers figure of just 5000 three years back now it jumped to 1.6 million subscribers, he added.
He said that increased investment by the newly licensed operators had certainly contributed in laying the foundations for a modern and state-of-the-art telecom network in the area. It also has positive impact on the standard of living of the people of AJK and NAs owing to increased economic activity and enhanced job opportunities, he added.
He said that PTA has already deposited around Rs 1.2 billion to AJK and NAs, earned against the award of 5 cellular mobile licenses for these areas. It also collected around $170,000 against the issuance of fixed line licenses as an initial amount. Thus, the telecom deregulation in these areas has acted as a catalyst for the development of region’s economy, he said.
The launching of Wireless Local Loop (WLL) service in the AJK and NAs will provide enhanced and cheap telecom services to the people and would fetch huge investment in the region. He termed completion of the spectrum of bidding as the culmination point in the deregulation of telecom sector of AJK and NAs.
He expressed gratitude to the telecom operators and CEOs of telecom companies for taking interest in the bidding process, and assured them that PTA would extend full cooperation in the successful launching of their business.
PTA Chairman presided over the bidding while Nasrul Karim A Ghaznavi, Member (Finance) was also present during the bidding. The bidding was witnessed by representatives of telecom industry investors, media men, telecom experts and professionals.