Pakistan Aiming to Pull New Operators for 3G/4G Auction

Dr Ismail Shah with STC


Pakistan government is making all possible efforts to bring in new operators for participation in expected 3G auction that is planned with-in next couple of months.

Anusha Rehman, Minister for IT and Telecom and Dr. Ismail Shah, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority are on their visits to Middle Eastern and European markets to arrange road-shows for 3G auction in Pakistan.

Anusha Rehman visited Qatar and met Qatari regulator and telecom operators to invite them for participation in Pakistan’s next-gen license auction. Similarly Dr. Ismail Shah met with Saudi regulator and telecom operators in Saudi Arabia to convince them about the potential that Pakistani market bears for telecom players with next-gen telecom services.

Dr. Ismail Shah, according to Arab News, first time hinted that a 1800Mhz 4G license – in addition to 2100 Mhz 3g licenses – might also go on for auction. 1800Mhz is considered a rich spectrum for LTE deployments, making it extremely viable for the investors to cap the untapped broadband market of Pakistan.

Chairman of Board of Saudi Telecom, Abdulaziz A. Alsugair, during his meeting with Dr. Shah showed his enthusiasm in the upcoming auction, acknowledging that statistics pertaining to opportunities in Pakistan were highly attractive.

Pakistan has currently mere 2 percent broadband penetration with less than 3 million subscribers. Estimates suggest that with 3G and 4G networks the number of broadband subscribers can cross 20 million mark in just less than three years. This translates to over Rs. 50 billion in quarterly revenues per telco by 2018 or double the revenues of what the largest telecom operator is currently generating in Pakistan now.

Dr. Ismail Shah and Anusha Rehman has plans to visit Turkey and UK during this week.

Next-gen telecom licenses are being planned for auction during March-April 2014.

Government is intending to maximize the money generated through auction by making sure that new foreign operators also take part in the auction.


At least four operators in Pakistan namely Telenor Pakistan, Mobilink, Ufone and Zong of China Mobile have already shown interest in the auction.

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


  • Local operators have already upgraded equipment for 3G. New operators, what will they do? Build a network? Buy a local operator?

    Does this scenario even make sense to any businessman? With local market totally saturated for voice, and data being a small component of traffic, who in the right mind would invest lots of $$$ to build a network, and how long before they make profit?

    The only way new companies can compete is if they buy 4G license not 3G. because no one right now (local operators) has 4G set up. But even then, voice market is saturated. So they have to buy a local operator. Who will they buy? Warid? I don’t think Mobilink or Telenor is for sale. Not Zong either. Ufone is already owned by Etisalaat.

    How does this make sense?

  • ali bahi slave hum khud banna psand karty hin, all telco apny countries ko support kar rahy hin na k pakistanis ko…

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