Regulation: PTA devises spectrum trading framework

Telecom Policy 2015 states it will be permitted under specific conditions


APP/APP November 10, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has devised a Spectrum Trading Framework to allow markets to determine the best use of spectrum, asking all stakeholders to provide their input by December 5, 2016.

The goal of Telecom Policy 2015 with reference to spectrum is ‘allocation and assignment of spectrum to maximise social and economic benefits derived from use of this scarce resource.’

Section 8.15 of Telecom Policy 2015 deals with subject of spectrum trading and states that spectrum trading will be permitted under specific conditions.

Documents available with APP have revealed that spectrum trading occurs through outright sale of rights and obligations or term lease, subject to licence conditions and approval by PTA/Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) under intimation to Frequency Allocation Board (FAB).

The policy further states that a Spectrum Trading Framework will be developed by the PTA, PEMRA and FAB, and will be subject to policy level approval by federal government and Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT).

Factors like spectrum capping shall be considered while developing such a framework. In relation to trading, the document said the seller will be expected to pay a trading fee or processing fee and any other applicable fee will be levied to cover re-issuing of licences.

The decision to trade is a commercial decision for the licence holder. The terms of the trade will be a commercial agreement between licencees. Spectrum will be traded only if the relevant licence that contains the spectrum assignment to be traded, permits trading.

Spectrum assigned to a licensee without such a permit will not be traded unless the government specifically authorises the trade as being in public interest.

Nevertheless, spectrum trading will be permitted only for spectrum that has been acquired through a pricing arrangement that represents its market value.

According to the policy, spectrum may be traded between holders of the same licence type only. For example, spectrum trading may take place between Local Loop (LL) licencees or mobile licencees but not between an LL licencee and a mobile licencee to maintain basic value of different categories of spectrum.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2016.

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