The Ministry of IT and Telecommunication (MoITT) is planning for the stepwise launching of 5G service in the country, senior officials told ProPakistani.
In the first step, 5G will be launched in the five capitals of the country, i.e., Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, and Peshawar. According to MoITT officials, all other countries are also working on stepwise launching, and the Government of Pakistan (GoP) will do the same.
The ministry has shared a 5G policy draft with the industry and relevant stakeholders. According to sources, the ministry has received input from one or two operators, and it is waiting for the response of other stakeholders from the industry. The date for input on the policy guidelines draft has been extended to 28 February 2022 at the request of the stakeholders. After the input from the industry, the draft will be shared with the Federal Government. Consequently, the GoP will issue policy directives for 5G on the directives of the ministry.
The government is planning to launch 5G in the last quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023. In this regard, a spectrum advisory committee has been formed, and incentives for spectrum rollout will be announced in the upcoming finance bill. The Ministry of Finance, in consultation with MoITT, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Frequency Allocation Board (FAB), and other relevant stakeholders, will finalize incentives, which will be reflected in the Financial Bill 2022-23.
According to officials, following the policy directive from the Federal Government, PTA will appoint consultants for the auction of 5G in the country. Recommendations of these consultants will be forwarded to the Federal Government, and after the approval, PTA will make arrangements for the commercial launching of 5G.
The telecom operators, including Jazz, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), Telenor Pakistan, and Zong, have successfully conducted trials of 5G in Pakistan. After the input from the industry on draft policy guidelines, the GoP will issue policy directives, after which hiring of consultants and other processes will be started.