Exclusive: Pakistan May Auction Four 3G Licenses and Two 4G Licenses


Government of Pakistan is likely to auction four 3G and two 4G licenses later this month in its planned spectrum auction, ProPakistani has learned.

Sources with direct knowledge of the final auction plan confirmed ProPakistani that there is a possibility of four 3G licenses – that will be auctioned on April 23rd 2014 — instead of three.

Move is aimed at equipping four operators with next-generation licenses to develop more competitive telecom market in Pakistan during post 3G era.

Revised Information Memorandum for Next-Gen spectrum auction had said:

The spectrum floor for the 2100 MHz may be reduced to 2×5 MHz for the auction stage depending upon the lot definition following receipt of Sealed-bid Offers.

According to this clause (Section 2.2.2 of IM dated March 17th, 2014), after sealed-bid offers, government may decide to auction 5Mhz blocks from 2100 spectrum, resulting into a total of four 3G licenses.

Spectrum Lots

According to the authorized and confirmed information, a total of four lots of 3G spectrum and 4G licenses will be auctioned, where two 4G spectrums are tied with 10 Mhz of 3G spectrums (meaning that two operators opting for 10Mhz 3G licenses must have to buy 4G licenses as well), while other two lots of 5Mhz from 2100 Mhz band will be auctioned through bidding.

Check below details for more clarity:

  • Lot A:
    • One 3G spectrum of 10 MHz from 2100Mhz
    • One 4G spectrum of 10 MHz from 1800Mhz
  • Lot B:
    • One 3G spectrum of 10 MHz from 2100Mhz
    • One 4G spectrum of 10 MHz from 1800Mhz
  • Lot C:
    • One 3G spectrum of 5MHz from 2100Mhz Band
  • Lot D:
    • One 3G spectrum of 5MHz from 2100Mhz Band

Possible Scenarios

Operators will be able to purchase any one lot (or more) from above four lots. If an operator is able to buy Lot A then it will be granted with 10Mhz of 3G spectrum along with 10Mhz of 4G spectrum as well.

Lot A and Lot B are bundled with 10Mhz blocks from each 2100Mhz and 1800Mhz bands, which means, buyer of Lot A and Lot B will have to buy spectrums from both bands for 3G and 4G.

Similarly one operator can also buy more than one lot, for example, an operator can buy Lot A and Lot C that will grant it 15Mhz of 3G spectrum and 10Mhz of 4G spectrum.

In another scenario, one operator can buy Lot C and Lot D to obtain 10Mhz of 3G spectrum.

Furthermore, in a more likely situation, two operators may end up with Lot A and Lot B while third operator may purchase Lot C and Lot D going to operator number four.

Another comprehensible scenario can be a possibility where one operator will buy Lot A, while another operator may end up buying Lot B and third operator may end up buying Lot C and Lot D.

By tying up 1800Mhz band with 2100Mhz band will ensure the auction of two 4G licenses.

If any operator ends up with 5Mhz of 3G spectrum then it will be able to offer next-gen services but with more challenging tasks. Such operators will have to deploy more cell sites to maintain the quality of services.

With this auction plan, four major players from Pakistan will be able to acquire 3G licenses.

Experts say that more 3G operators will only negatively impact the ARPUs and the economy of the country. However, there are others who opine that more 3G operators will mean more options for customers and hence better pricing with more competition amongst the operators.

Nevertheless, Pakistan’s telecom market is undergoing the most crucial and decisive phase of its history. Decisions made during next two weeks will shape the course of the industry for decades to come.

Tech and telecom reporter for over 15 years

    • 2 blocks of 10mhz means theoratically one cell site can offer twice the speed to same number of users

  • What is the difference between these 2?

    Lot A:

    One 3G spectrum of 10 MHz from 2100Mhz
    One 4G spectrum of 10 MHz from 1800Mhz

    Lot B:

    One 3G spectrum of 10 MHz from 2100Mhz
    One 4G spectrum of 10 MHz from 1800Mhz

    • These are two lots, and will go to two different operators. Lot type and lot sizes are sames.

  • I think this would b a great move. more chances for telcos, more money for gov, more options for end users…..

  • Great step taken by our government.There is a chance for Warid, they will able to get lot C or D.I hope now Warid will able to get 3G :)

  • I found this a little bit confusing as how lots are being distributed? I have read an in-detail analysis on the Expected Winners and Post auction Scenario which gave a great in sight on the probable winners of the spectrum.

  • i knew this will happen, sooner or later mean before auction or after auction the will add new 3g licence. Anyways i gues the 4th slot competition would be between warid and telenor

  • Well, I think we all know where this is going…Telenor , Mobilink, Ufone and Zong for 3G, and Telenor and Ufone for 4G, and welcome Turkcell…Just Bring It !!!

    • LoLZ clearly you have no idea what you are talking about , IM states that if any party shall acquire 5mhz block will NOT be able to bid for 4G !!!!

      • Brother, kindly point out where in the IM it says that a party who has bought a 5mhz block of 3G cannot buy a spectrum block of 4G…its says if party has not bought a spectrum block of 3G, they cannot buy a spectrum block of 4G alone…buying 3g license is necessary to buy a 4g one, whether it be 10 or 5mhz

        • Just a little correction: 4G spectrum is tied with Lot A and Lot B, which will be sold in 10Mhz of block for 2100Mhz Band. If someone is willing to buy 4G spectrum then it will have to buy 10Mhz of 2100 band…

          Lots are sold as a bundle, either take whole Lot or leave it altogether.

          • These lots are not the way the process will go…what if the ones who have bought a 10 mhz block of 3G do not want to buy a 4G spectrum…our government will do everything it can to make sure that every.locense is sold…5 mhz will be okay for ufone and zong because of their lower customer base than mobilink and telenor, and all the news point to the fact that telenor and ufone are the only ones in the hunt for a 4G license.

          • Sorry, my bad…just launch the damn services already, i’m on warid and i’d be willing to jump on any operator who has both 3G and 4G

  • Won’t this allow every major company to buy the licenses at base prices? No need to get into competition when everyone can get license.

  • I hope after the launch of 3G/4G services, telcos immediately launch 3G/4G broadband service so plenty of bandwidth for home and business users will be available. Similar to those being offered by PTCL EVO (30GB, 50GB, 75GB etc).

    I will not be cheap in the beginning just like EVO which wanstn’t quite affordable at the time of launch.

  • just some information required…………. does a smartphone which has 3G/4G bands different from these bands of 1800/2100 would be able to run 3G or 4G on it? please clarify, do the smartphones which have 3G and 4G functionality, support the entire frequencies that are going to be auctioned?

  • Does anyone happen to whow the exact band/frequencies which PTA is going to auction ?

  • this govrment start flim 3g is not coming 10 yers i am waiteing 3g 2 yers but next mounts next mounts plz surpemcourts acution and start 3g argnntly

  • Koi bta skta ha k turkcell aur stc main se kon c company new licence k liye intrested ha.

    • PTA is doing a great job at least we have to admire this….in the country where processes take years to bring the reality,PTA did it in shorter span of time,even in the presence of political hindrances.

      • May PTA do other important processes within no time…..hoping for a great news soon

  • I think with the launch of next-generation licenses, telecom sector will progress within few months,and it’s a great sign for Pakistan

  • it is indeed a great move in the technological and advancement history of Pakistan…..

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