All 4 Telcos Submit Bids for 3G/4G Spectrum Auction in AJ&K and GB

All the four cellular companies operating in Pakistan have submitted bids for the Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) spectrum auction in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJ&K) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB), learned ProPakistani on Wednesday.

Officials sources told ProPakistani that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has received bids against both bands, i.e., 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz from all the mobile operators, viz. Telenor Pakistan, Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited (PMCL/Jazz), Pakistan Telecommunications Mobile Limited (Ufone), and China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak/Zong)

The Authority invited applications from cellular mobile operators for 16 MHz paired spectrum in the 1800 MHz band and 30 MHz paired in the 2100 MHz band for technology-neutral NGMS in AJ&K and GB.

PTA had issued an Information Memorandum (IM), according to which the deadline for prospective applicants to submit application forms and sealed bids with pre-bid deposits was September 22, 2021.

PTA will notify qualified applicant(s) and further inform them whether the auction will move to the electronic auction stage or PTA will declare qualified applicants as provisional winners on September 23, 2021.

If PTA proceeds with the electronic auction stage, an information package containing confidential information and instructions to participate in the electronic auction stage will be provided to the qualified applicants eligible to participate in that stage on September 24.

Mock Clock Auction (1800 MHz and 2100 MHz), if required, for eligible qualified applicants will be held on September 27. The Clock Auction bidding will start, if required on September 28.

The Spectrum Auction of NGMS in AJ&K and GB is for use of spectrum from the internationally harmonized 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands within AJ&K and GB. The spectrum includes in the Spectrum Auction of NGMS in AJ&K and GB comprises: (a) 2 x 16 MHz in the 1800 MHz band; and (b) 2 x 30 MHz (1930-1950 MHz / 2120–2140 MHz and 1960-1970 MHz / 2150-2160 MHz) in the 2100 MHz band.

The 2×16 MHz of spectrum will be packaged as two blocks of 2×5 MHz and five blocks of 2×1.2MHz. The 2×30 MHz in the 2100 MHz band will be packaged as six specific blocks of 2×5 MHz: (a) 2×5 MHz (1930-1935 MHz / 2120-2125 MHz); (b) 2×5 MHz (1935-1940 MHz / 2125-2130 MHz); (c) 2×5 MHz (1940-1945 MHz / 2130-2135 MHz); (d) 2×5 MHz (1945-1950 MHz/ 2135-2140 MHz); (e) 2×5 MHz (1960-1965 MHz/ 2150-2155 MHz); and (f) 2×5 MHz (1965-1970 MHz/2155-2160 MHz).

Every applicant will be required to state their interest in the following spectrum at the Base Price: (a) Product 1: Up to 2 blocks of 2×5 MHz in 1800 MHz; (b) Product 2: Up to 5 blocks of 2×1.2MHz in 1800 MHz; (c) Product 3: Between 1 and 6 blocks of 2×5 MHz in 2100 MHz: (i.) Block 1: (1930-1935 MHz / 2120-2125 MHz); (ii.) Block 2: (1935-1940 MHz / 2125-2130 MHz); (iii.) Block 3: (1940-1945 MHz / 2130-2135 MHz); (iv.) Block 4: (1945-1950 MHz / 2135-2140 MHz); (v.) Block 5: (1960-1965 MHz / 2150-2155 MHz); and (vi.) Block 6: (1965-1970 MHz /2155-2160 MHz).

The base price for 2×1 MHz in 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz is $0.87 million. The base price for 1800 MHz – Product 1 2×5 MHz is $4.35 million, 1800 MHz – Product 2 2×1.2 MHz $1.04 million and 2100 MHz 2×5.0 MHz is $4.35 million.

Pursuant to the policy directive, PTA/Frequency Allocation Board shall undertake a process for rationalization of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band to achieve contiguity where feasible (the Rationalisation Process). PTA, however, notes that its ability to ensure contiguous spectrum holdings in this band will depend on the outcome of the auction. The rationalization process will involve the entire spectrum in 1800 MHz band and all CMOs, irrespective of their participation in the auction. The rationalization process will be conducted in accordance with the timeline set out in Section 1.7 of this IM.

Under the rationalization process, PTA will endeavor to group together, in the 1800 MHz band, each CMO’s existing spectrum and the auctioned spectrum. This may involve a CMO’s existing spectrum changing from its current position, either up or down in the band. Suppose one CMO has 2×8.8 MHz of the existing spectrum and that it acquires 2×1.2 MHz in the Auction.

In that case, PTA will endeavor to group its 2×8.8 MHz of existing spectrum adjacent to its 1.2 MHz of auction spectrum, to make a contiguous block of 2×10 MHz. No spectrum cap has been imposed in this auction.