Advisory Committee to be Formed for Release of Unsold Spectrum

The government has decided to constitute an Advisory Committee including NAB and GHQ for the release of the unsold spectrum to telcos for Next Generation Mobile Services in Pakistan.

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has forwarded a summary to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet for approval.

According to the details available with ProPakistani, the approval will be given in the next meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on September 9, 2020.

With the rapid growth and escalating demand of mobile broadband services, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the utilization data due to the adoption of online platforms by businesses, educational institutions and the general public.

This has led to the requirement of more spectrum so that the operators can expand their services and meet the quality of service requirements as regulatory compliance.

At present, the unsold spectrum in 1800 and 2100 MHz bands is readily available for release through auction in Pakistan.

In a meeting held in the Prime Minister’s house on 28th July, 2020, the Prime Minister directed to proceed for the availability of additional spectrum for mobile services.

It is pertinent to mention here that all previous exercises for the release of NGMS spectrum have been conducted through an auction under the oversight of and Advisory Committee constituted by the Prime Minister.

On similar lines, it is proposed that an Advisory Committee for the release of the unsold spectrum for the Next Generation Mobile Services may be constituted with the following composition and Term of Reference (ToRs).

  1. Federal Minister for Information Technology & Telecommunication
  2. Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance
  3. Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives
  4. Secretary, Finance Division
  5. Secretary, IT & Telecom Division
  6. Secretary, Law & Justice Division
  7. Chairman, PTA
  8. Executive Director, FAB
  9. Representative of GHQ
  10. Representative of NAB
  11. Member (Telecom), MoITT (Committee Secretary)
  12. Any other person that Committee may wish to co-opt

The Committee will evaluate the market assessment report and recommendations of PTA for the release of the maximum NGMS spectrum in Pakistan. It will examine and finalize the policy directives for the Federal Government for the release of the NGMS spectrum in Pakistan. The Committee will oversee the release process to be conducted by PTA.

The participation of the representatives of GHQ and NAB has been proposed to avoid subsequent issues and build confidence in the public and private sectors.

The spectrum auctions for Next Generations Mobile Services (NGMS) in Pakistan were conducted in 2014, 2016 and 2017 under the Policy Directive issued by the Federal Government i.e.

Ministry of IT & Telecommunication. 30 MHz paired spectrum in 1.9/2.1 GHz, 20 MHz paired spectrum in 1.8 GHz band and 7.38 MHz paired spectrum in 850 MHz band was auctioned and assigned to cellular mobile operators.

Consequent to the auction and issuance of licenses, 3G/4G mobile broadband services were launched by cellular operators which triggered the growth of mobile broadband services in Pakistan. At present, Pakistan has over 80 million broadband users.

  • it will continue to be useless as there are no local servers and it costs dollars to buy international bandwith so Pakistani consumer will continue to pay high charges. Secondly Pakistan will continue to cap frequency distribution into 10 mhz slots which is in my view not enough, even India’s reliance has 40Mhz slots in many regions. Thirdly Pakistan should ban 2G and 3G networks as they are unsecure(2G can be hacked easily) and take a lot of spectrum. Fourthly all internet in Pakistan is based ipv4 which has high latency as compared to ipv6. Pakistan should make it mandatory for ISPs to have ipv6 services by default.

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