Senators Question 3G License Prices, Move to Stop Auction

Government of Pakistan’s plan to auction new telecom licenses including 3G/4G and a defunct cellular license through bidding with base price of USD 210 million and USD 155 million respectively, was disapproved when opposition senators warned the government not to proceed with its auction plan without taking them into confidence, reported Business Recorder.

Senator Pervez Rashid of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, (PML-N) who was supported by Haji Adeel, Ilyas Bilour of ANP, Col. Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi (retd) of MQM, Prof. hurshid of JI and others, took serious note of an advertisement to auction the Mobile Cellular Licenses/Spectrum (3G,4G/LTE etc) by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Terming the auction as a ‘license to loot’, the Senators demanded the chair to immediately issue directives to block the move. However, after government’s intervention, the chair referred the matter to Senate’s Standing Committee on Information Technology with the directives to present a report in the house within two days.

They said that $210 million base price of each 1900/2000 MHz (megahertz) 3G license and $31.5 million the earnest money was a peanut, and any effort to auction such an expensive and advanced technology at such a cheap rate would be resisted.

Speaking during the Senate session, Rasheed said that it was astonishing that the base price for the 3G license had been set at $210 million when the 2G license was auctioned for $290 million.

They said that such a deal would be like that of Etisalat, which bought PTCL, is yet to pay $800 million outstanding dues and are paying the said amount after earning the same from the country.