In another development today, Advisory Committee constituted by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, finalized the draft policy framework for the auction of frequency spectrum left unsold in the frequency auction of 2014, said a statement issued by the Ministry of IT and Telecom.
The meeting of the Advisory committee which was assigned the task of finalizing the policy for the impending auction in view of the market assessment conducted by the PTA and other market dynamics, was held under the chairperson ship of the Minister incharge for IT Ms Anusha Rahman Khan.
It must be noted here that Pakistan auctioned 3G and 4G spectrum back in 2014, after which mobile phone companies deployed their 3G and 4G networks in more than 250 cities across Pakistan.
During the 2014 auction, one block in 1800MHz and another in 850MHz remained unsold.
The demand for data services grew exponentially and in less than two years the broadband subscriber base which stood at a paltry 3.5 million in 2014 has now crossed 28 million and is still on the rise.
With this rapid growth and escalating demand of mobile broadband services, requirement of more frequency spectrum, which is a critical input for high quality mobile broadband services, is foreseen in near future.
The Advisory Committee was constituted as a high level multi-stakeholder body to formalize the policy modalities to make the frequency spectrum available through a competitive process.
Previously it was agreed — by the government — that since demand for the spectrum both in 1800 and 850 MHz bands, which were left unsold in the 2014 auction, does not exist concurrently, therefore it would be prudent to split the auction into two phases.
After discussions on pros and cons of prioritizing within the bands it was agreed to consider auctioning 10 MHz of the 850 MHz band in the first phase.
The Advisory Committee, based on various considerations including market assessment report, emerging market scenario analysis by PTA, FAB, and MoITT and keeping in view the necessity of cost effective rollout of services in the rural areas of the country, decided to recommend draft policy directive for auctioning within the current financial year 2015-2016, the spectrum in the 850 MHz frequency for the kind approval of Honourable Prime Minister.
At the end of the Advisory Committee meeting Ms Anusha Rahman said that
“The government has moved to supply the market with the frequency spectrum to ensure that operators can competitively expand their services and meet the international quality of service standards for the benefit of the Pakistani users and the digital economy of the country”.
She said that GoP will continue to work proactively to provide the necessary impetus for the growth of telecoms services across the country for both urban and rural communities.
The meeting was attended by the AC members including, Barrister Zafarullah Khan MOS for Law and Justice, Secretaries of Finance, Law& Justice and IT&T divisions as well as Chairman PTA, ED of FAB, and Member Telecom Ministry of IT &T.
Now, when we have the draft policy framework for the auction of 850MHz spectrum, the policy will get approved and notified.
After approval of policy framework for auction of 850MHz, PTA will be asked to prepare the Information Memorandum for the auction. IM will contain various information on the spectrum auction, including base price, date of auction, type of auction and so on.
According to sources, PTA and MoIT are aiming to auction 850MHz spectrum by mid June.