Spectrum Auction in Pakistan on June 20th: Minister Finance

Finance Minister, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar Tuesday announced that auction of Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) spectrum (3G) would be held on June 20.

He urged the investors to take benefit of this opportunity for their better interests as the spectrum auction approaches. He made this statement while addressing a function to commemorate the “World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2016”.

The minister said that all the economic indicators have been performing well. Mr. Dar said that 10 thousands MW electricity would be added in the system by 2018 which would help in reducing the power shortage for the industrial sector.

“Pakistan is set to take off and it’s now just matter of time,” he said adding that credible world institutions have termed Pakistan second choicest place for investment and predicted the country to be the 18th biggest economy of the world by 2050. However, a lot more still needs to be done; he said adding that with efforts the dream of becoming 18th biggest economy could be materialized by even 2030.

He said that Business Confidence Index for Pakistan has changed from minus-34 to + 36. By taking steps to ensure intellectual property rights, the confidence of investors in Pakistan has also gone up.

Minister for Information Technology and Telecom, Anusha Rehman said that IT sector has potential to contribute 1.5 percent in the GDP.

She said that broadband penetration would touch 38 percent by 2018 which currently stands at 18%, higher than India and Bangladesh. She said that Rs 14 billion projects were in place to promote IT sector while the government through Telecom Policy 2015 and Cyber Crime Bill has addressed most of the issues confronted by the sector. The Minister said that despite challenges, grey traffic was curbed.

Anusha Rahman said introduction of mobile broadband has contributed a lot in connecting people and increased internet penetration in the country from mere 3 percent to 18 percent in a short period. Availability of these technologies have resulted in speedy proliferation of broadband access both in urban and rural communities with a record achievement of more than 30 million subscribers in less than 2 years.

She said that the previous spectrum auction fetched $ 1.2 billion for the national exchequer. In addition, around $1.3 billion worth of investments are being made in rolling out of 3G/4G networks and infrastructure.

She said IT exports and services have increased by 41 per cent since 2013 by just reorganizing the processes. Pakistan is now at number four in the world when it comes to freelancing. This achievement is very encouraging which remained unknown to most in the public domain.

She said prospective young and energetic IT professionals would soon be under umbrella of National Incubation Centre of the Ministry. These startups with potential to become IT giants will be given full facilitation including premises, mentorship and opportunities to reach out to local and international markets.

The centre will be managed by a private partner. Every year 40 start-ups will be hosted in the centre with each startup comprising of 5-10 member team.

The Minister said ICTs for young girls system has been launched with joint effort of Pakistan Baitul Maal (PBM), Universal Service Fund (USF) and Microsoft to help prepare many young girls from underestimated area of society, with a goal that they can get suitable occupations.

Chairman PTA said for the consumers, availability of high speed mobile broadband services in both urban and rural areas is encouraging a more connected community and promoting e-commerce related activities. He said next generation mobile services are considered an enabler towards GDP growth and help introduce more innovative e-services.

Country Head of Microsoft, Nadeem Malik expressed commitment of his organization in promoting ICT and hoped this particular initiative would help materialize government’s vision to make Pakistan a digital country. Head of Mobilink said that stability and security have been established in Pakistan.