Telenor 4G Spectrum is Causing Interference for Other Telcos: Petition Filed

Islamabad High Court has accepted a petition filed by Mobile phone operators in which they have contented that Telenor’s recently acquired 850MHz — that it is using for 4G network — is causing interference in neighboring networks.

It maybe recalled that Telenor was granted 2x10MHz block in 850MHz spectrum for $395 million earlier this month.

According to details, Zong’s spectrum is placed right next to Telenor’s newly acquired spectrum with a gap of just 3.5MHz.

Telenor’s spectrum line ends at 879MHz while Zong’s uplink band starts at 882.5Mhz, with just 3.5MHz as a total buffer between both the networks.

This close proximity, at few locations where Telenor was testing its 4G network, caused interference in networks of other operators.


Resultantly, mobile operators petitioned the Islamabad High Court that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority should ensure there is no interference between Telenor and other networks due to the new spectrum.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has said that Telenor is already mandated (through IM and license terms) to deploy receive filters on its towers to confine its network usage with-in the allotted spectrum.

For those who don’t know, “receive filter” is a hardware installed on telecom towers to confine network communication from interfering other frequencies.

According to network professionals, these receive filters cost around USD 1,000 per installation and will cost Telenor around 3 million dollars if such filters are installed at 50% of its entire tower base.

In actuality, Telenor may have to deploy receive filters at around 2,000 cell sites.

Parvez Iftikhar, a telecom consultant, told ProPakistani that such receive filters will only be required:

  • On sites operating in 900MHz band owned by Telenor or other operators (Not all sites are in 900MHz, both for Telenor and other networks)
  • Even in 900 band, only those sites where operators are using them for 3G as 2G does not need such filters
  • Additionally, it will also depend on several other factors, like location of the site/s and which part of 900MHz band they have

PTA told ProPakistani that newer operators (Telenor in this case) are obligated by license terms to deploy receive filters, like Mobilink once did back when Instaphone was operational.

PTA also explained that this is a usual practice around the world, in fact in India — in one instance — there’s a spectrum gap of 1.5MHz between two operators.

Telenor Pakistan, when asked for comments on the matter, said that it received the commencement certificate from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on Thursday, 4 August 2016 for the use of 3G and 4G services on the newly acquired 850MHz spectrum, whereas the court order inviting our comments on the use of the said spectrum, has just been received.

Telenor said that the matter is currently sub judice therefore it cannot comment on the proceedings of the case.

“We would like to highlight that Telenor Pakistan is working closely with the Regulator and Frequency Allocation Board in order to ensure strict adherence to legal requirements and international best practices for the use of spectrum to serve our customers and fulfill our ambition of providing Internet for All and Empowering Pakistani Societies with Digital Technology”, Telenor further said in its response to ProPakistani.

Islamabad High Court has set 25th of August for the hearing of the case, where PTA is likely to clarify the situation in the court.

Also Read: Telenor Launches its 4G Network in Six Cities with Free Trials

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK

  • Meanwhile Zong is offering 50% extra data on new MBB devices for 6 months. Thats competition for you dears :P

  • That is called negative tactics/competition. Its the responsibility of FAB and PTA The Regulator to snub the other operators, as they are responsible for providing interference free spectrum to all operators and for that they charged huge fees in the form of Spectrum/licensing

    • Don’t be spoon of telenor every time. It is the common practice around tge world where telcos have to deploy filters to avoid interference. Telenor had agreed to install filters at the time of purchasing spectrum, PTA and FAB didn’t forcefully sold spectrum to Telenor.
      And in My opinion its all telenor’s fault when they only went for 5MHz 3G band and didn’t even participate in better spectrum 1800 MHz for 4G. Now they have to buy low frequency spectrum for 4G which could provide better indoor coverage but will lack capacity which is very necessory to fullfil demand for their 38 million customers. Stupid planning by management

      • Dear its not matter of spoon rather matter of principal. When you buy something you are expecting complete delivery, same applies to Telecom Frequencies. PTA after involving International Consultants decided to go for available brands in 850 Mhz, now its their responsibility to confine other operators to the band which they paid for. These days Frequencies is the most expensive commodity and Pakistan should sell every possible band.
        Mobilink and Ufone are not directly affected from interference, as Zong and Telenor are immediate band carriers, their participation in Joint petition only shows their bad intention.

        • Well I think it is the responsibility of all stockholders including Telco’s and Regulators to jointly work for best practice and resolve the issue without going into the courts like Apple and Samsung.. (Hope It would be fixed soon and we will get the best out of it)…

      • I saw many things in this forum, which changes people’s mind, therefore correction is necessary. No offense as such.

        1. First of all, there are no filters that can improve interference. This is entirely concerned with RF Planning and RAN Optimization dept. And this can be tested after Network deployment, not before.

        2. PTA and FAB …… yes its their responsibility to test the spectrum …….. but we know the people sitting in PTA (yes they need consultants for spectrum auctions) ……. They have all the necessary equipments, such as Spectrum analyzers, Nemo test kits (they have been trained back years from Anite), but they are hopeless ……..

        3. 5MHz is not Telenor’s fault at all …….. there were four lots A,B,C,D and only 02 operators bidding high will get 10MHz license, each for 3G and 4G (therefore, last 02 operators were Ufone and Telenor ultimately getting only single carrier)

        4. Low frequency also has the same capacity in 3G and 4G ….. Infact its far better in performance also ….. its not GSM where low frequency has limited channels …..The first ultimate requirement of every operator is low freq (700/800/850) bands, as they have to deploy less sites as compared to high (1800MHz for 4G and 2100MHz for 3G) and 2600 bands

        Note: All this has been written with great responsibility as the writer is a RAN Consultant (2G, 3G & 4G) Networks, having over 12 years experience in Telecommunication

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