Govt plans auction of 3G licences in October

Published: July 29, 2011

The fifth-largest cellular market in Asia has more than 107 million mobile users. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The government plans to issue its first licences for third-generation (3G) mobile telecom services in October, hoping to generate nearly $1 billion through an open auction, officials said on Thursday.

The fifth-largest cellular market in Asia – behind China, India, Indonesia and Japan – had more than 107 million mobile users in April, almost 65 per cent of the population.

“A committee of the cabinet has agreed in principle to launch 3G services as soon as possible without any conditions,” a senior official of the Ministry of Information Technology, which is handling the project, told Reuters.

The Economic Coordination Committee is expected to give the green light to the auction in the first week of August. The auctions are expected to be held in mid to late October, another official said.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the number of licences to be issued would depend on the availability of 3G spectrum. “For instance, if we have 30 Mhz, it could be three licences of 10 Mhz each. If we have 20 Mhz, then it will be two licences,” one official said.

Pakistan Telecomm-unication Authority (PTA) will advise the ministry about the available spectrum in August.

Among existing telecoms operators, Mobilink leads the market with 32.96 million subscribers, followed by Telenor at 26.06 million, according to PTA data.

Other operators include Ufone, Warid Telecom and Zong.

The officials did not say if the licences would be offered to the existing telecoms operators or include others. A PTA official said it would probably be only for those already operating in the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Sabih Shad
    Jul 29, 2011 - 12:50PM

    With our population we could easily as well climb up to number 3.

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  • First drink, don't think
    Jul 29, 2011 - 9:39PM

    Well out of 107 million user nearly a million will be using data services!! Report lacks the qualitative aspect!

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  • Interconnect
    Aug 19, 2011 - 5:31PM

    What is the point of anonymity to declare the spectrum which is national wealth of Pakistan. This should be the inventory of the wealth documented by the central bank. The reservations for the frequency is not fair. At the upcoming ITU, Geneva an independent body as PTA could be invited for assistance of the international union of telecoms., to ascertain the spectrum, and the spectrum management, which has always laxed. The most important thing is the inventory of the frequencies and its management.

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