Chances of 3G auction seem slight in the coming months but authorities involved in the auction process are taking positions on the possible issue of cartelization between the two cellular operators — Mobilink and Telenor – having single ownership at holding level.
CCP has clarified its position on the auction issue and categorically sidelined itself with the process.
It is not the mandate of Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to certify 3G auction process, however, we can observe the concern in such matter, said CCP’s spokesman on Friday.
Spokesman explained that it is for this reason that CCP, based upon the review of various jurisdictions, briefed the Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications in the meeting held on Thursday regarding the key factors that have yielded new entry as well as sustained number of facilities based mobile carriers in the country.
An official statement issued by commission said that CCP was not invited to the previous meeting held on 23-02-2012; it was only during the recent meeting CCP learnt that the Committee required its view relating to the issue whether the restriction in the auction on the new entrant to begin operations till March 2013 is anticompetitive? In this regard, on behalf of CCP it was stated that:
Prima facie, the provision seems to place the foreign entrant (if any) at a disadvantage by giving competitive edge to the incumbent through earlier operations or if infrastructure sharing is not forthcoming.
However, it is relevant to take into account the actual time line for the auction as well as the time line for the roll out, as delay may neutralize and/or other relevant factors, may have mitigating effect.”
Since, the above questions are pertinent to be advised by PTA, CCP categorically stated that “unless PTA advises CCP on these facts and aspects, it is difficult to ascertain whether in effect such a provision is anti-competitive.” It was also stated that: “the objective is not merely to satisfy the Committee but to assist in the light of the relevant facts in accordance with law.”
The Committee recognizing that PTA was the principal authority regulating the subject matter directed it to provide required document and any further information required by CCP for the purposes of providing assistance to the Committee on the above referred aspect.