Auction Committee to Decide 3G/4G Top-Up Spectrum’s Fate Today

The meeting of the Auction Advisory Committee will be held today under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Miftah Ismail. The committee will finalize the recommendations regarding the auction of the 3G/4G top-up spectrum.

Sources in the Ministry of IT and Telecom (MoITT) told ProPakistani that the government wants to auction an additional 3G/4G spectrum to generate revenue of Rs. 40-50 billion. After quality-of-service issues, a major operator expressed interest in purchasing an additional spectrum, prompting consideration of the matter.

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According to sources, an additional 18 MHz of spectrum was spared due to non-participation by all players in the previous auction. The federal government is considering the option of auctioning at least 5-10 MHz spectrum at the base price. An existing operator has expressed interest in purchasing a 5 MHZ spectrum.

The Advisory 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. If the committee is satisfied with the PTA’s report and the IT Ministry’s briefing, it will approve the spectrum auction. The advisory committee will give the responsibility to PTA to hire a consultant for the spectrum auction.

Before the auction advisory committee meeting, a high-level meeting was held in the Ministry of IT and Telecom yesterday, which was chaired by the Additional Secretary in charge Mohsin Mushtaq. The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of IT and Telecom, PTA, and Frequency Allocation Board (FAB).

In the meeting, PTA briefed on the market assessment report while FAB briefed authorities regarding the available spectrum. The meeting also discussed the impact of the rising dollar and the interest of operators in the auction.

In October 2020 federal government constituted an advisory committee for the auction of next-generation spectrum in Pakistan. The auction advisory committee was revised in March 2021 for the inclusion of AJ&K and GB representatives. In July 2022, the coalition government reconstituted the advisory committee.

Along with Finance Minister, the Minister for IT and Telecom, Minister for Economic Affairs Division, Minister for 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 Headquarters, Director General Tech of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Member Legal MoITT and other officials also part of the committee.

Previously, the spectrum auctions for NGMS in Pakistan were conducted in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2021 under the policy directives issued by the Federal Government. Sources in MoITT say that the most worrying thing at the moment is the fluctuation of the dollar since the value of the rupee is constantly decreasing. Holding an auction in such a situation is not an easy decision and the government should stabilize the dollar first, they stated.

  • Can someone explain how will Dollars will be made by these telecom companies to pay spectrum dollar fees?

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