Ishaq Dar, Minister Finance, has asked Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Ministry of IT and Telecom to complete its preparation for auctioning next round of 3G and 4G spectrum in near future. Mr. Dar remarked this during a contract signing ceremony between USF, Telenor and Ufone yesterday.
Ishaq Dar said that Government has budgeted the revenues from spectrum auction for the current financial year and hence auction must be completed before the end of fiscal year.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has already advertised the RFPs (request for proposals) for hiring a consultant company that could advise the regulator on auctioning of 3G/4G spectrum in the country, however, no one is finalized for the job as of yet.
It won’t be out of place to mention that one 4G block and another block from 850Mhz band is leftover from the last auction that was held in April 2014.
Anusha Rehman, State Minister for IT and Telecom, recently made few calls to arrange a buyer for 850Mhz spectrum — supposedly to be a new entrant — however it is said that no solid response was received.
It is yet unclear that what amount and magnitude of spectrum from which band Pakistan may auction now, as already operating mobile phone companies with 3G and 4G spectrum, particularly Ufone and Telenor, are nearing their capacities and may need more spectrum during months to come.
Such decisions will be taken by MoIT and a policy will be drafted to specify the spectrum that government may intend to sell. Based on this policy from MoIT, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority will prepare Information Memorandum (IM) that will constitute detailed specification of the auction including the base price, auction mode and other modalities of the auction.
This whole process should require least six months if not more.