While accepting various demands of telecom companies, the Government of Pakistan has announced that auction for 3G / 4G spectrum will be held on 23rd April 2014.
This was announced after a Spectrum Auction Advisory committee meeting that was held today under the lead of Mr. Ishaq Dar, the Minister for Finance.
Earlier, as per initial draft IM, the auction was planned to be held on April 7th, 2014.
The announcement from Ministry of Finance said that sealed biddings can be submitted by April 14th, 2014.
It was revealed that government has decided to accept the spectrum fee and bank guarantees in Pakistani rupees instead of dollars. Moreover, operators will be offered more time to meet rollout obligations.
It was also decided that no-new license will be issued with the spectrum auction and operators will continue to operate under previous licenses. However, license fee and other obligations are likely to remain the same.
More details about the decisions taken in the meeting are going to surface through revised IM, that is likely to get released by March 17th, 2014.
Chairman PTA Dr. Syed Ismail Shah briefed the Committee on the progress made so far on the auction of 3G/4G licenses. He informed that the new spectrum will provide increased download speed and multiple new applications would be available to the Consumers, and would also generate employment opportunities.
The Finance Minister said that PTA should ensure that best international standards for quality of service were provided to the consumers. He emphasized that the consumers should get state of the art next generation mobile services in line with the international best practices. PTA was also directed by the committee to launch a public awareness campaign.
Finance Minister emphasized that the whole process should be completed with transparency and expressed his satisfaction over the progress. He expressed the hope that PTA would conduct competitive auction for deployment of next generation mobile network. He concluded that with the introduction of new technology the local telecom industry would benefit from transfer of technology and users would have new services and applications through the introduction of mobile broadband.
Later on the committee met the CEOs of cellular mobile operators, who were contended with the fact that government has shown agreement with majority of their demands.
The meeting was also attended by Mr. Zahid Hamid, Minister for Science and Technology, Ms. Anusha Rehman, MoS Information Technology, Dr. Waqar Masood, Finance Secretary, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology Mr Ikhlaq Tarar and senior officials of Ministries of Information Technology and Finance.