Tech and Telecom

IT Ministry Seeks ECC’s Nod for Constituting Committee on Pakistan’s 5G Readiness

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has sought approval of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet for constituting a broad-based intentional mobile telecommunication (IMT) 5G technology advisory committee comprising, among others concerned, officials from intelligent agencies.

In its summary floated to ECC, the Ministry has adopted a stance that quality broadband connectivity is critical for increasing IT exports, generating new business and employment opportunities, and realizing the Digital Pakistan vision. It said an efficient utilization of frequency spectrum for mobile broadband services was fundamental to enable quality broadband connectivity.

The Ministry has constituted a 5G Pakistan Plan (5GPP) committee to define a roadmap and finalize policy recommendations for 5G readiness in Pakistan. The development has taken place in consultation with the stakeholders to formulate the 5G strategic plan, which has also been produced. A 5G Readiness Study was also undertaken with stakeholders’ consultation and technical assistance from the World Bank.

It is to note that at present 173 operators have launched 5G services across 69 countries. Bangladesh has recently allocated 60 MHz to one operator for launching 5G services on a trial basis. Similarly, India has announced the launch of 5G services in 13 cities during 2022 after approving major policy reforms for the telecom sector.

Moreover, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased digital activity have led to the requirement of more International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum so that the telecom operators can expand their current networks, improve the quality of broadband, and are enabled to introduce 5G technology in the country. It may be noted that the country’s use of spectrum for commercial IMT services in 700 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 2,600 MHz, and 3,500 MHz bands is significantly low as per global best practices.

It is worth mentioning here that all previous exercises for the release of the IMT/NGMS(Next Generation Mobile Services) spectrum have been conducted through an auction under the oversight of an Advisory Committee constituted by the Prime Minister. Hence, it is proposed that an Advisory Committee for the release of IMT/5G spectrum may be constituted with the following composition and Terms of Reference (ToRs):

  • Federal Minister – Finance & Revenue (Chairman)
  • Federal Minister – Information Technology & Telecommunication
  • Federal Minister Science & Technology
  • Federal Minister Industries & Production
  • Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce & Investment
  • Secretary, Finance Division
  • Secretary, IT & Telecom Division
  • Secretary, Law & Justice Division
  • Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)
  • Executive Director, Frequency Allocation Board (FAB)
  • Representative of GHQ
  • Director General (Tech) – ISI
  • Member Telecom, MolTT (Committee Secretary)
  • And, any other member that the Committee may wish to co-opt.

Terms of Reference

  1. To review the total IMT spectrum utilization vs available and used spectrum in Pakistan vis-a-vis global spectrum utilization and submit a clear way forward and plan for optimum use of this scarce valuable resource.
  2. Review and approve the 5G Strategic Plan to enable the timely launch of 5G services in the country in consultation with all stakeholders including the telecom operators.
  3. To examine and finalize the telecom reforms and incentives to promote IMT/5G technology ecosystem adoption and ensure that hose are reflected in Finance Bill 2022-23.
  4. To review the market assessment report and approve the way forward based on the recommendations of the reputed consultant hired by PTA for the auction design/ details of an investment-friendly IMT/5G spectrum release to maximize the spectrum utilization in line with the Digital Pakistan vision
  5. To approve the policy directives for the Federal Government for release of IMT/5G spectrum in Pakistan
  6. To oversee the spectrum auction/ release process to be conducted by PTA.
Published by
ProPK Staff