Pakistan to Hold Another 4G Auction Round in March 2017

Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (IT&T) has initiated the process of auctioning the remaining spectrum (4G) and planning to auction it by end March 2017, it is learnt.

Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (IT&T) spokesperson revealed that the process for auctioning the remaining spectrum has been initiated. File has been sent to Prime Minister Office seeking approval for constitution of Auction Supervisory committee which will determine the base price, he added.

However, background discussion with industry stakeholders revealed that uncertainty prevails in the market due to heavy estimated price and low demand.

The government had budgeted Rs 65 billion from the auction of two licenses of 3G and 4G for 2015-16. However, later government revised it to Rs 45 billion, while deciding to go for single frequency spectrum auction in the 850 MHz band with base price of $395 million. One license (4G) remained unsold and the government has budgeted Rs 75 billion for the current financial year from its auction.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar earlier this month stated that national exchequer earned Rs160 billion through five transparent auctions of telecom spectrums, adding that the earning from the spectrum is expected to reach to Rs200 billion with one more auction still to be held.

IT&T Ministry and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) have expressed ignorance about the budgeted amount while saying that they have no say in the budgeted amount, as they were not taken on board in this regard.

PTA officials expressed ignorance while saying, “The last 4G license was sold in around Rs 25 billion. How the government budgeted Rs 75 billion, they do not know”.

PTA officials confirmed that spectrum is available and they would go for the auction, once the directive is received. Further this time PTA would not require to hire the services of consultant as the market study has already been done by the last consultant.

The number of 3G and 4G users in Pakistan reached 37.57 million by end December 2016 against 36.41 million by November. PTA data shows that the number of 3G/4G subscribers increased in the country from 29 million in 2015-2016 to over 37 million by end December i.e. 8 million in last six months. The upcoming spectrum will depend on the number of subscribers and data usage as it would determine the market appetite for additional spectrum.

The government last year approved telecommunication policy with the objective to improve the sector’s efficiency and service delivery but refused to give the status of industry, which it desperately needs to get relief from heavy taxes, officials added.

The situation became further worse for the government after the Mobilink-Warid merger. Except Ufone, other operators including Mobilink, Zong and Telenor have already 4G licenses. They would participate in the upcoming 4G license, if require additional spectrum.

  • Zong and Ufone could be potential buyers.
    Ufone obviously need 4G spectrum for 4G services and Zong is facing congestion issues in their 4G services because of so many MBB devices in use. This another 10 MHz of 1800 MHz will cost only spectrum price to Zong and no operational cost because they have already enabled their cell sites as 4G. Ufone will require to have so much money for this.

      • First Jazz is busy integrating spectrums.
        Second Jazz need huge money to expand its 4G footprints because Zong is much ahead.
        Third Jazz has enough spectrum after merger.

        So Zong is in more need than Zong because Zong’s 4G spectrum has already been choked. And Ufone which doesn’t jave 4G at all. Baqi lene ko to koi b le sakta hai.

        Still no chance for outsider.

        • Plus, Jazz has already acquired Warid and spent tonnes of money making them highly unlikely to invest further.

    • AJK Need AG, OG LO G, Sunu G (Ghar Gharasti) Environment
      Becuase Ap K Pass Green Plus Free Pollution Enviromnet Hai
      In Specturn K Bad Bohat zaida environment effect atay hai
      Chill Yar 2G to Hoga Usi Se Kaam Chala Lo

      • I know this is suppose to be a joke but i am not laughing… We have been waiting for a while now… We have people paying extremely high amounts of bills and the same amounts for packages to get shitty 2g speeds. I m sure your humor wasnt suppose to hurt anyone but ask people who pay the money for shitty service. I bet if you were a kashmiri you would have been clamoring for 3g/4g too!

        No offense but we are also pakistani and would like to be treated as such!

  • I think Zong will not go for it because they already said PTA to allow them for 5G testing in 2020

      • Ufone is in talks to buy out by Zong, and do you expect that such huge customer base can get quality with 5 MHz LTE band. Also prereq for LTE band was you have to buy 10 Mhz 2100 3G to qualify for 4G auction.

          • Because they didn’t bought 1800Mhz band (most premium LTE) Telenor bought 850MHz band as which is only long range low through put. This condition was only 1800Mhz LTE band

        • Who said Zong is in talk with Ufone for buyout? Etisalat has officialy denied that they are not in talks for buyout with any company nor they planned to have in future. Infact PTCL is merging Ufone into PTCL. Brands, Departments and operations all of that.
          And that 10 MHz 3G clause was in old auction. PTA will not add that clause because they knew that Ufone is only possible contender this time. And one more thing, Ufone 3G is not 5 MHz anymore. They are now around 9 MHz 3G.

    • Source?

      Jazz can refarm it’s newly acquired 900 or 1800 MHz spectrum for LTE, why would they buy more?

      This will be a tough competition between Zong and Ufone for the remaining spectrum.

      Zong to prevent congestion and Ufone to survive.

    • Ishaq dar need money for next budget. It will not be delayes and will be auctioned even on base price incase of single bidder. Like previous year.

      • Yaar aap ko kitni dafa bataya hai Ufone sale nai ho rahi merge ho rahi hai PTCL mein. Ufone ko sale karna easy nai hai. Govt k 74 percent shares hyn, privitization commission ki ejazat zaroori hai aur pata hai woh kitna lamba chakkar hai?

        • Lekin Ufone aisi halat mein Q or kaise pohncha? Pehle to bara shahi network hota tha. Her waqt TV mein 2,2 4,4 (Shughli type) Ads. Show Shaa…full ayashi. Baqi networks ghreeb lgte thay Ufone k samne.
          Phr Islamabad k Blue Area mein Ufone tower.

        • If you live in any big city. Go to any PTCL exchange one stop shop. You will find a renovated new office with counters with board outside mentioning both brands PTCL and Ufone like Jazz and Warid on Jazz-Warid offices. You can even replace Ufone sim from there. Ufone offices will soon shift there.

        • They are just merging operations. There will be still a separate mobile company unlike Warid.

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