Confirmed: 3G/4G License Auction in March 2012

310097-order-1324491993-563-640x480After piles of delays and then affirmations, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has finally received the directive from Ministry of Information Technology (MOIT) to make preparation for auction of third generation cellular licenses, said a statement issued by PTA itself.

Statement said that PTA is now planning to Auction Frequency Spectrum for Cellular Mobile Broadband Services and license will be technology neutral and the licensees be able to deploy any technology including 3G / 4G / LTE / any other upcoming technologies.

The information Memorandum (IM) for auctioning process is being prepared by PTA. The auction will be held tentatively in March 2012 for which exact schedule will be issued later.

The auction process will be overseen by a joint professional group (Auction Supervisory Committee) comprising of public sector stakeholders, including representatives of Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information Technology, PTA and FAB etc.

PTA has constituted a special committee for making preparations to conduct the auction in the most possible transparent manner.

For the awareness and information of potential investors, PTA is also planning to hold Investors Conferences in Karachi and Islamabad. International Road Shows will also be organized. The exact schedule for this auction would be made available soon, said PTA.

It is pertinent to mention that the introduction of Cellular Mobile Broadband services in the country will initiate a new economic cycle in the country and accrue great benefits for the national economy. It will also usher in new era for proliferation of a number of new applications for data intensive value added services. This will greatly fulfill the requirement and demands of Cellular Mobile Phone subscribers and professionals who are eagerly waiting for this service.

Tech and telecom reporter with over 15 years of experience, he works as founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • Actually I am amused that because since next year is in severe budget deficit so to cover to up they need some revenues while Etisalit is not giving its due unpaid payments, they need something to cover it up, this is why they are pulling this act, otherwise they were not gonna do this.
    Even if they are doing because it, it is good for us.

    • Dear Friend, Etisalat Launched the LTE system, and its On Air. Etisalat Telecom Authority, NSN and Huawei Launched the LTE system and Ericsson is planning for swapping the Huawei coz of lot of troubleshooting

  • Statement said that PTA is now planning to Auction Frequency Spectrum for Cellular Mobile Broadband Services and license will be technology neutral and the licensees be able to deploy any technology including 3G / 4G / LTE / any other upcoming technologies.

    I love this part.

  • Another Roll of the dice! But i don’t want it now, because i have found the alternative, a wifi router!

      • Yup indeed it’s another story, but what if i am using skype (perfect video and voice calling)? I don’t need 3G, and that too in reasonable rates ;) coz you can expect an high 3G data/video calling from our operators, who are providing edge services at such an expensive rates, save zong, believe me, get a wifi router and start browsing without/video calling without pricing worry ;) and save your self from “UNLIMITED monthly internet package (1.5gb cap)” lol this is a fact my bro…accept it, get the idea from there expensive edge services, on 3G they might give you package for Rs.2,000 UNLIMITED and on bottom they would have written in ultra small letters 1GB cap ;) wakeup guys.

        • So while you are driving, or in a market, or at a meeting in Karachi, do you take your wifi router WITH you? Im amazed at the type of luggage you’re willing to carry just because you dont want 3 G;)

        • come on bro, you are denying the fact that 3G isnt needed!! WiFi only gives you coverage in a limited area example a home or an office.. 3G isnt just data but it even gives better voice quality.. its a better technology and its better for both the operator & the subscriber

          • we need to be at par with the world.. we are lagging behind.. i want 3G!!! sick of GSM

      • Ufone is being run by pta, what makes you think that it wont invest in 3g..

        And zong has pathetic edge service , so its 3g would be pathetic also

        And what makes you think warid will not get 3g liscense, it is backed up by Abu Dhabi Group.

        • Because in order to obtain license Money is required not just money huge chunks of em, How many Advertisements or marketing campaigns have you seen by warid in the past 2 years they just don’t have enough investment coming in and they had to shut down their Direct Sales operations in order to save money.Ufone give me a break Ufone is run by PTCL+Etisalat do you honestly think they have the money.Plus i never mentioned anything about the service level it’s all about the investment and FYI for you Zong has the most equipped systems in the industry right now personally seen it.

          • i think they got alot ov money. but if they dont have it like u say then they have the authority that will make others operators to deal with them and offer them a huge amount of money in order to launch the technology before them..:D

      • lol…ufone will launch it 1st even if it is only in big cities like isl,lhr and khi…cuz they have govt behind;) or in other case all other operators have to offer them a big money which they can’t refuse…:)

    • License requires having funds. So, who has the funds?

      * ZONG – Yes! The dady (China Mobile) pays it. Not a big deal for them. That’s change money in the pocket for CMCC that makes more than 600 MUSD as net profit per day.

      * Ufone – No! Even though it has the government (which in turn needs money and that’s why it has started to discuss mobile broadband license) and Etisalat as its parents, the funds are not available. In addition to Ufone’s current liabilities of some 1 BUSD, it has also to start paying 600 MUSD to Huawei as of this year as its deferred payment T&C for its initial network from Huawei, as well as the new fee of 196 MUSD for its 2G license that will expire in 2013. Etisalat has no clear strategy for MBB in Pakistan and beside its CDMA EVDO MBB service, it’s reluctant to invest further on 3G/4G in Pakistan. So, I don’t thing anyone see any money coming from there.

      * Telenor – No! Telenor is just starting to swap its network out. Its 3G/4G strategy based on a license fee that’s around 100 MUSD, as Telenor has an internal debt of 2 BUSD to its HQ as well as current liabilities to NSN and Huawei, and new liabilities to ZTE for the upcoming swap. So, not much money left to invest in MBB. Telenor’s 3G strategy is not well defined either.

      * Mobilink – Yes! They’re the 2nd biggest operations of Vimpelcom/Orascom group. They have the money and they have the competent marketing management, while the technical side isn’t that strong. Nonetheless, being the biggest operator in Pakistan, obtaining a MBB license is a major image thing for Mobilink. They will invest on the license, but they won’t invest much on the roll-out of 3G/4G.

      * Warid – No! Warid has the best quality network in Pakistan. However, due to its recent financial difficulties and also too much of company culture differeneces between its parents (SingTel and ADG), spending funds on MBB licnese is doubtful. Anyhow, Warid can work around this (like any other operator) and can provide 3G/4G like services to its subscribers without any need to invest on a 3G/4G license.

      My 2 cents on this!

      • Also, Mobilink has the largest customer base of corporate users in indigo who will most likely be the USERS of this service. Appreciate your detailed analysis!

        • Dear Amna. Even though Mobilink (by its size and by its first-mover-advantage) has the biggest corporate users, it doesn’t still “own” the richest corporate users and the ones that require very fast and reliable data services such as high-tech corporations, who have a lot of staff on the move. Mobilink mostly has the “static” corporate users. Warid, at the other side, has many of the newer fast pace corporate customers as Warid offers the highest network and services quality in the country.

          None of the operators will invest on nationwide 3G deployment, but will limit the deployment investments on 3G overlay networks in spots where they have the heavy data users (corporations that are heavy users of data within their customer bases – post-paid and pre-paid alike) such as Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad, etc. This would be the same strategy for all the 5 operators in Pakistan. Each operators can distinguish itself from others by deploying high-quality 3G services that would give solid and sustainable – not necessary quick – ROI (Return On Investment). Banks, currier services (such as DHL, FedEx), airlines, and armed forces are among those corporate customers that WILL and NEED to use high-speed data services. Any of the 5 operators that already has some of those corporate accounts, has got almost half of the work done. The operator just needs to give them the high-quality services to retain them and to establish an reasonable data ARPU.

          Three (3) things that each operators has to do to enhance its 3G strategy and its revenue generation strategy are: (1) to identify the location of the highest paying corporate users (their own and potential ones migrating (churning) from other operators once the high-quality 3G services are available) to define where to deploy the 3G overlay network – don’t be surprised if that doesn’t turn out to be major cities, but places far away such as Baluchistan (smuggling generates money ;-)) or where Pakistani armed forces and various law enforcement operate, (2) to do data usage analysis of existing and potential corporate subscribers, i.e. to find out what data services these corporate users are already using and/or will use, how, where and when, as well as the data traffic pattern. By doing this, the operators can already now define the 3G data packages that they could and should offer to those existing/potential corporate users and also the corresponding price strategy (supply and demand process), and (3) to investigate what 3G handsets are already used by these existing/potential corporate users, available in the market, and the forecast during 2012-2016 or so. The handsets have major impact of the data usage and the data traffic generation, which many of the operators across the world tend to forget/neglect, whereby they get into trouble by congested and wrongly dimensioned networks.

          Oh, boy! This is a long story! Let’s wait and see how the market players react!

  • So every one is gonna get license.
    Instead of specific technology, spectrum allocation is good thing, so no hurdle in 4G/LTE.
    ATM 3G will cover up over needs.

  • Indeed a very good news. Network should start with 3.5 or 3.7G. There are not many 4G/LTE handsets plus there battery life will crap. 3.75G can hit up to 50Mb/s, what else we want right now?

    • wow thats good news waiting for long .i agree with you not 4g 3g is good option for every one over then 4g for limited people

  • Mobilink, Telenor and Ufone should go for 4G LTE, and Warid and Zong should go for 3G HSDPA/HSPA/HSPA+

  • I think only Telenor will get the License as Telenor has been forced by government/PTA to give the nationwide swap project to ZTE, whereas Telenor has swapped their BSS department with Nokia Flexi EDGE BTS(on of the best equipment in the World) just less than 2 years ago.
    Now they are going to Swap the complete network from NSN to ZTE i-e:(BSS, MW & Core).

    • I think so? As I have watched interview of Naeem Zamindar at Geo in which he is in favour of 3G. You can watch this at wateen web site.

      • My friend, Mr. Zamindar is not representing Warid. He’s the CEO of Wateen, not Warid. Mr. Zamindar has no say when it comes to Warid’s evolvment, even though both companies belong to same group (ADG). Wateen (read carefully, I say “Wateen”, not “Warid”) can not afford 3G/4G license. It doesn’t have the necessary transmission backbone and the RAN infrastructure in order to be able to provide a nationwide MBB network. Neither can it afford to lease such transportation services from other service providers/vendors. Once the 3G/4G is launched and exploded in Pakistan, all the WiMax and CDMA broadband services provider will die. Mark my words!

  • well frankly speaking none of the telcos are intrested in 3G cuz current revenues per user is not sufficient but there would be no option for them when bid will start cuz they are in competition with each other. Still I can’t see high usage potential in Pak data market.
    I would be delighted if this auction is for investment is Tharcoal project atleast we can charge our phones before using 3G .hahahaha

    • Mr. Fahad Disagree with you. World Cheapest calling rates are in Pakistan just for 2G, if we enhanced into 3G or LTE its a great jump. Towards next….At least which Telecom Engineer like me who are working on these system can move back to Pakistan and work for Pakistan instead of working other countries network. Yani we telecom boost again in Pakistan……its a great news.

    • The country (subscriber base) is too small for yet another player. Consolidation is already delayed by few years, so new market players will drive the telecom industry/market further down into deeper disaster. Not even good for the consumers. Long discussion, buddy.

    • The government needs this money to survive the next 5 fiscal years, IMF and WB se aur qarza na lia jaye tou behter hai, aur ager ye na hua, tou gas bujli paani hamesha k liye ghayab ho jayein ge!

    • Dear Hair Transplant,

      Atleast we can come back and serve for Pakistan who have already have on hand experience on these systems LTE and 3G.

  • I just know up-to LTE system, I don’t know what is next and i am enjoying with working on LTE system. LTE is just swapping or jumpers and modules of 3G & 2G antennas.

    • Atid sb, I disagree. Too slow. 3G licenses should have been released already 5 years ago. We’ve lost the momentum, even though the train is not gone yet.

  • First of all it will not be auctioned in March, secondly if auctioned it will not be available in most parts of the country initially. Also it will be too costly service about Rs. 500/month+tax, Daily charges Rs. 15+tax, data charges Rs. 5/Mb, and One time subscription charges of Rs. 1000+tax. It will take about 5 years to reach 50% coverage areas. In short its a USELESS technology for 99% of Pakistani mobile users..

  • Ufone could be the one to offer bid for 3G License! After all Ufone is subsidiary of PTCL and PTCL is owned by Government of Pakistan (62% shares), Etisalat (26% shares) and remaining is general public (12% shares).
    Ufone has strong structure behind. Recall your memory, Ufone was the 1st operator to launch GPRS services in Pakistan. If they could dare to launch GPRS services when most of people were ignorant to word ‘GPRS’ even Google, they might be the 1st to launch 3G services =)

    Anyhow, personal opinions doesn’t worth a lot. Lets see what happens. It’d be a blessing even we get 3G services in Pakistan.

  • Seeing is believing! Even if the auction happens in 2012, the roll-out and services launch won’t most likely happen until in 2013.

    We’re a bunch of engineers and possibly economists here. So, we look upon this from those perspectives. So, try to look at it from political view: The new elections are coming. The government is in serious financial crises and deficit. The new government also needs funds to get the things around. Now, if you were one of the heavy politicians to run the new government, would you allow 3G licenses money to be cashed it by the current government or would you do everything to delay it until you take office?

    Think about it! :-)

    • I think the auction is going to be done in installments. Which means the money is going to get transferred in installments going up to 2 years till launch. Iss hakoomat ko bhi faida, agli ko bhi;)

  • As far it is concerned after bidding, definitely it’d take some time (few months) to launch 3G services for public in Major Cities or across Country! Company will have to install new machinery and this would surely take time. So we’ve to wait for coming December or may be early before December to enjoy 3G Services (Insha-Allah) =D

  • I did waited eagerly for 3G to come in Pakistan, and i still want it, but i mentioned wifi router because it can be used by anyone with almost 3G like speed, and well i don’t think people like me who don’t have car, would like to use 3G services in the streets of Karachi, when everywhere people are afraid of snatching, anyways i bet u, that you have to spend all your income to use 3G services in Pakistan, can you show me any decent EDGE bundle out there in affordable rates? (save zong) i know you can’t, if EDGE is such expensive in Pak, how can you afford 3rd Gen data pricing? Think deep, 3G is great to have, but sorry to say i have to take care of my family 1st instead of sky high 3G rates, i don’t even use zong’s Edge outside home, i bet too you’ll not see atleast 1gb 3G data bundle for arround 500

      • bro you’re giving the lame comment, not me, because i did typed the reason for what i think and i wrote, and you don’t have any reason to proved my comment a lame! I feel ashamed for you my friend :D lol

  • Technology has same course like history…It will proceed and move further , any one like or dislik.

    3G/4G will come to pakistan….There may be lil delay because of these corporate crimes ( Cartilisation, politics etc)

    • Dear NKV – Can you please elaborate what you mean by “delay because of these corporate crimes”? I’m all ears to hear!

      When it comes to politics, that’s accurate and that’s not what I am asking about.

  • Dear Moderator, Learn to respect other point of views because they might be less stupid than yours. Wireless can NEVER compete with optical and WIFI can have optical in its backbone. Ok we cannot use wifi on the move but we don’t need that high bandwidth on the move because on the move our eyes are focussed forward, and we can only use ears and hands. So no bandwidth hungry applications will be needed to push operators to 3G. They will just do it as their national and inter-national competitors will be doing it.

  • i think whole world is now convert in 3g and 4g so our govt try to put a cheap money for investors for introduce the 3 and 4g system in our country. through such technology new investor will come in Pakistan and will produce the lot of opportunity for our youths and any one can develop his business through such technology and can be possible entire world once again come in Pakistan to start business in our country. and i know about the USA start experiment on neuron technology which will work with the intention of human brain. entire nation try to develop her skill in cyber and communication for developing the soft image of our country.


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