Ufone Could Be the Only Operator to Participate in 4G Spectrum Auction

Although Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has made the upcoming auction for Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) spectrum (3G/4G) more lucrative for new entrants, it remains pessimistic about the participation of any new player.

“There is no chance of a new telecom operator/entrant as the market is already consolidating,” said a senior official of PTA while speaking with ProPakistani.

“While PTA has sought applications through national and international media for the upcoming spectrum auction, it is highly unlikely for a new player to join the spectrum auction,” said the official adding that an open outcry auction process will be applied to assign spectrum lot if demand exceeds supply.

According to the Information of Memorandum (IM), all the existing telecom operators and new entrant(s) can participate in the auction process.

A Potential New Entrant in the Cellular Mobile Market gaining spectrum in the NGMSA shall have the right to negotiate national roaming with existing Operators. A NGMS licensee that is a New Entrant in the Cellular Mobile Market will also have a longer period to fulfill rollout obligations.

If NGMS spectrum rights are awarded to an existing Operator, then numbering resources already allocated to that Operator may also be used for NGMS. If an Operator instead wishes to have separate numbering series for NGMS, the same shall be allocated to it from the National Numbering Plan relating to mobile cellular services.

New Operator can request numbering series as per the procedure and regulations devised by PTA. A New Entrant in the Cellular Mobile Market shall be provided a unique network identity code.

Chances for Existing Operators

While this is highly speculative, we think that only Ufone will participate in the auction. Well placed sources confirmed to ProPakistani that Pakistan and UAE discussed the matter at government level and Mr. Ishaq Dar somehow convinced UAE government to push Etisalat to take part in the the spectrum auction.

Again, we don’t have confirmations for this, but it is said that Ufone is all good to participate in the auction.

Not to mention, Ufone board has not yet given a go ahead for the participation in the auction.

Telenor’s participation is out of question, given that they just bought 10MHz in 850MHz band for $395 million some six months ago only.

Mobilink won’t be needing 4G spectrum, thanks to Warid’s rich spectrum resources (that are not expiring till 2019). Additionally, they are refarming their spectrum to make their network more efficent for various 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

Zong, however, may go ahead and buy 4G spectrum but only if it wants to waste some bucks. They are under-utilizing their already available 4G spectrum and will not need any additional spectrum for at least one year if not more.

If Zong decides to participate in auction, it will do so for two reasons:

  • It would like to show-off its deep pockets, or
  • It would want to block Ufone from buying 4G spectrum and may acquire the company (in couple of years) for a lesser amount as compared to a company with 4G spectrum and 4G network.

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

  • Actually i do not like Ufone before, but Now i like it because Ufone is suddenly changed and their customer services are good. Now i am using 10 Mbps 3G in Ufone at Karachi, before that no more than 1 mbps.

        • Super Card and 50 Rs per 250 mb weekly. Facebook, Whatsapp , Twitter and Line are totally free in this package.

          • El. OO. EL
            Expensive Packages? What can you do with 250 MBs?

            Zong 1800 for 3 months (10 GB Each Month) But this package in for Internet SIM.

            I also have ufone SIM and use supercard but its data is too low.

            • You are right, I have PTCL 4Mbps Connection, so I mostly uses Social apps that are totally free, with unlimited audio and video calling.

  • Zong isn’t under utilizing their spectrum, they have a poorly optimized network. They use 15 MHz refarmed spectrum in most places for increased capacity, but the speeds will still be poor due to SNR issues and whatnot.

    Mobilink better hurry up with the spectrum re-farming because their network is seriously starting to under-perform in some places.

    Lastly, forcing Etisalat to participate in the auction isn’t the only important factor in all this, PTCL and Ufone management have to agree to this as well, so as legitimate as this information may be, it’s nothing solid.

  • I already said Ufone might be an only participant. And Zong and Ufone could be potential buyers I have told as well. Jazz doesn’t require further spectrum and Telenor participation is out of question I have told too.

    I still doubt Ufone’s participation. And If Ufone will go for it Zong may go for it as well.

    @aamir How can you say Zong is under utilizing 4G spectrum when they have already refarmed 5 MHz of 2G spectrum to make their 4G 15 MHz? And if they need more spectrum after 1 year, Is not it good to buy now? God knows when will PTA auction 2600 MHz spectrum.

  • what mean of 10MHz or 850MHz band spectrum . how many downlink and uplink on it . is its any artical about it .?

  • Jitna ghatiya network hai yeh, 4G lainay kay baad baaqi networks kay 3G kay qareeb qareeb speed pohanch jaeygi. Good for U customers.

    • speed bhut alaw hai but zong ki ghatya 2g 3g aur 4g coverage ka bhut msala hai indoor coverage bhut gandi hai.only jazz is good.ufone ka network b bhut weak hai.

  • This auction is happening on Ufone request like the previous one happened on Telenor’s request ;-) … Govt. need money whoever is willing to pay …

  • Ufone has only 5MHz Bandwidth of 2100 3G block. As per policy Ufone can only participate if it has 10 MHz bandwidth of 2100 block. A speculative column written by admin. Zong and mobilink are so far serious buyers especially Zong. So far Zong is playing well.

  • Another reason why Zong would want to acquire spectrum now is that the price will be much higher in one years time when they definitely need to buy spectrum. They have just 3 million 4G users in a country of 200 million. There is a lot of scope for more internet adoption in Pakistan and 4G will be how most people do it.

    PTA keeps increasing the base price of these licenses. The best time to buy is now.

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