Concrete Steps Already Underway to Launch 5G Within 10 Months

The launch of 5G technology in Pakistan is a 10-month process and necessary administrative steps are already underway in terms of fiscal and policy interventions for cellular mobile operators to participate in the 5G spectrum auction, top IT Ministry sources told ProPakistani.

Approximately eight to 10 months are required by the Government of Pakistan to complete the process of launching 5G technology in the country.

Dialogue With Stakeholders, Telcos

The government’s top priority is coverage and expansion of 5G technology across the country within the specified period. Officials said the IT Ministry has initiated talks with telecom companies and vested stakeholders with several meetings scheduled to expedite the launch.

Keeping in view the prevalent economic environment, the Ministry of IT and Telecom is working to offer plausible incentives/initiatives to engage telcos and stakeholders involved.

10-Month Timeline for 5G Launch

First, the government would communicate to all stakeholders that it is going to launch 5G and would prepare a draft policy directive.

Sources said the approved policy would be shared with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Frequency Allocation Board (FAB). The FAB would be required to specify frequency bands, while the PTA would conduct the required process.

After getting the policy directive for the auction of 5G from the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, the PTA would issue an RFP (Request for Proposal) for hiring a 5G consultant firm for the auction.

After the submission of bids, technical evolution and later opening of financial bids would be conducted. Subsequently, an agreement would be signed with the qualified consultant. The consultant(s) hired for the purpose will be responsible for procuring the auction in a transparent, professional, and profitable manner.

The consultant would require at least two months to complete the report and submit it to the auction advisory committee. After approval, it would be sent to the ECC and then to the cabinet where approval would be granted for benchmarks, prices, and bands.

The PTA, after this, would publish an Information Memorandum (IM). Later, an auction would be held and spectrum award and payment would be undertaken. All the deadlines given are a sort of ideal situation where no objection or court intervention is included.

Caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Dr.Umar Saif recently said that Pakistan is going to launch 5G services in the country within 10 months.

Meanwhile, telecom operators have proposed the government adopt a model to earn with 5G developments instead of spectrum fees and taxes, as return on investments will be a serious issue with the 5G launch in Pakistan due to high Capex and Opex requirements. Official documents revealed that telecom operators have proposed tax breaks in spectrum fees and local handset manufacturing applications.

Further, one-window operations for Right of Way (ROW) decisions are becoming inevitable in Pakistan, they added. “Pakistan launched 3G and 4G with very mature systems in 2014. We can move in the 5G direction certainly but the government of Pakistan/Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MOITT) should incentivize to make this transition a success,” operators added.

Operators demanded the introduction of innovative, radically different, and implementable 5G policy with the following to be considered;

  1. free spectrum for the first five years with zero taxes on the import of equipment and 5G handsets/devices,
  2. any proposal of an auction should be after five years, once the use cases have developed and
  3. policy intervention required to ban 2G/3G handset local production as well as import.

The previous two governments had planned to auction the 5G spectrum by the end of March 2023 in the country with the initial launch in big cities. However, political instability as well as economic crunch and impediments to LCs impacted the plan, sources added.

Sources said that it would be hard for 5G to make any business case in the next two years because less than one percent of consumers afford such handsets in the country. People think that better internet would be provided once the 5G is launched in the country, but it could be provided with 4G even now by government interventions for greater propagation.

  • 5G is the fetish of the affluent class.

    A country running on loan each year, whose people are under occupation by it’s “protectors” who sell their future to their own myopic and selfish ends, cannot afford to import the equipment to satisfy the urges of their affluent cronies.

    But yes. It will happen anyway. Because who cares? We just need faster internet only the rich can afford.

    • What do you expect from Wardi Waalaas?. Chairman PTA is from Pakistan Army. Army has taken over this post forcefully (despite this post belong to Industrial Telecom Engineer). They live in luxury DHAs and they don’t know how normal people are living.

  • Point 3 is crazy. Why ban 2G/3G phones?. Just visit any village and people still use normal phones. Many poor people cannot even afford to have 4 5G phones.
    So tell the General Sahib of Pak Army (Forceful Chairman of PTA) to get out of your luxury home and reject such fantasies.

  • Usad Umar (Minister of IT) is a son of a Senior Officer of Pak Army. PTA Chairman is also from Pak Army. Please tell us where civilians should go?. Thanks.

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