3G is a term you will read a lot about on this website in coming weeks and months. As we know that Information Memorandum is already floated by PTA and cellular companies are working out on it to determine their best options to deal with 3G license auction on March 29th.
Meanwhile we are going to keep an eye on happenings to discuss the developments going around.
We will start our series of commentary with Ufone, which we believe is best placed to get a 3G license based on the fact that it has Etisalat on its back.
Its not that other (telecom) groups are struggling with pockets, but Etisalat has this edge of holding USD 800 million dollars from PTCL’s sale which it can now lend back to government of Pakistan to get a 3G license.
Even better, don’t touch those USD 800 million dollars, instead sell the properties it has taken control of (90 percent of properties are said to be handed over to Etisalat) to pay the license fee and keep holding the disputed money.
During an interview with a high-up at Ufone, on condition of anonymity, we were told that Ufone will definitely go for 3G by saying “There is no other option”, however he was unclear about the maximum value of license fee Ufone can afford to pay.
“Exact value of license will be determined on March 29th. In January we can only speculate and while considering low ARPUs I hope it doesn’t go too high”, the official said.
They ruled out the possibility of combined 3G license for Ufone and PTCL, instead they opined that PTCL will keep focusing on landline, broadband and other services but it will for sure couple the portfolio with Ufone’s 3G services in future.
Analysts said that source of funding is a tricky matter to discuss, but they were certain that Ufone will need injection in case of new license and network expansion.