5G Launch Unlikely Any Time Soon Despite Govt Claims

The government would require approximately eight to ten months after the issuance of the policy directive to complete the process of the 5G launch in the country while following Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Rules.

Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Amin Ul Haque has stated that the government would try its level best to launch 5G by the end of June 2023 at least in major cities.

However, industry stakeholders as well as senior government officials are terming it next to impossible while some are of the view that the 5G launch is difficult even by the end of December 2023, keeping in mind the economic situation, particularly in the telecom sector. General elections are also expected in 2023 in the country which may further delay the launch of 5G.

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) published draft policy guidelines for 5G on 15 December 2021 on its website. Based on the same, all stakeholders were consulted by the MoITT and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for market readiness in relation to 5G adoption in the country.

Official sources revealed that after completing the consultations, the feedback was shared with the government where industry stakeholders linked the launch of 5G with a conducive market and incentives including a reduction in GST and WHT.

Why govt would require up to 10 months for 5G launch?

All the deadlines given are ideal situations. First, the government would communicate to all stakeholders that it is going to launch 5G and would prepare a draft policy directive.

The policy would be approved first by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and then by the Federal Cabinet to be chaired by the prime minister. The approved policy would be shared with PTA and Frequency Allocation Board (FAB). FAB would specify frequency bands, while PTA would conduct the required process.

After getting the Policy Directive for the auction of 5G from MoITT, PTA would issue an RFP (Request for Proposal) for hiring consultancy services for the auction. It would take two weeks while one additional week would be required for the advertisement and process through embassies in countries like the US and the UK. As per PPRA Rules, it would require 30 days to complete the process while two months would be required to reach this point.

After the submission of bids, two weeks would be needed for technical evaluation and later opening financial bids. Further 10 days would be required if any entity or person has an objection and then an agreement would be signed with the qualified consultant. The consultant would require at least 2 months to complete the report and submit it to the auction advisory committee.

After approval, it would be sent to ECC and then to the cabinet where approval would be granted for benchmarks, prices, and bands. Over six months would be required (from starting date) to reach this point.

After this PTA would publish Information Memorandum (IM) which requires 45 days as per the rules, taking the time to over 8 months. Later, the auction would be held and the spectrum award and payment would take 30 days.

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  • 5G will make Pakistan even more powerful country in the world. We are much ahead of our neighbours.

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