The Federal Cabinet has approved the formation of the 17-member Auction Advisory Committee to oversee spectrum auctions for Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS). The cabinet meeting was held under the chair of the Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif.
The formation of the committee had earlier been approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and proposed by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT).
According to the proposal, the ministry suggested forming a 17-member committee comprising of Minister of Finance, Minister of IT and Telecom, Minister of Economic Affairs Division, Minister of Science & Technology, Secretary, Finance Division, Secretary, IT & Telecom Division Secretary, Secretary Law & Justice Division, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Executive Director Frequency Allocation Board (FAB), Representative of Army General Head Quarters, Director General Tech of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Member Legal MoITT and officials from MoITT.
The committee will examine and evaluate the Market assessment report, spectrum demand and supply, and recommendations of PTA for the release of available spectrum for NGMS in Pakistan. It will further examine and finalize the Policy Directive for the Federal Government for the release of the NGMS spectrum in Pakistan and oversee the spectrum auction process, which is to be conducted by PTA.
Previous exercises for the release of the spectrum have been conducted through an auction under the oversight of an Advisory Committee constituted by the Prime Minister. The proposal for the committee had been submitted on similar lines by the ministry.
Previously, the spectrum auctions for NGMS in Pakistan were conducted in 2014, 2016, 2017 & 2021 under the policy directives issued by the Federal Government. Consequently, a paired spectrum of 30 MHz in the 1900/2100 MHz band, 29 MHz in the 1800 MHz band, and 10 MHz in the 850 MHz band were auctioned and assigned to the cellular mobile operators.
PTA has completed the spectrum auction process with the assistance of an internationally reputed consultant, Frontier Economics, in September 2021. Pak Telecom Mobile Limited (PTML/Ufone) acquired 2×9 in the 1800 MHz band for 15 years while there was no bid for the offered spectrum in the 2100 MHz band.
For enhancement of capacity and improved quality of service, the Federal Government may issue a policy directive to undertake a spectrum auction under section 8(2) of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act 1996 to offer the available frequency bands to all interested new and existing operators in open, transparent & competitive way.