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.