KARACHI: The Pakistan Telecomm-unication Authority (PTA) has formally invited applications from interested mobile phone service providers to participate in the auction for a 3G/4G mobile internet licence.
The operators, including existing or new ones, may submit the application maximum by April 30, 2017, while the bidding would take place on May 12, 2017, the PTA announced.
The interested participants would be provided consultation, change of rules and procedures, if any, and provided all the information they want to seek before they submit applications, PTA said.
The telecom regulator has been tasked to sell the spectrum before the current fiscal year ends on June 30, 2017 so that this income may help the government to achieve the set, ambitious revenue target of Rs3.60 trillion for the year.
The auction would be held for 10 MHz of spectrum in the 1,800 MGz band (Band 3) for technology neutral Next Generation Mobile Services (including 3G/4G and advanced generations) across Pakistan, PTA said.
This is the last licence left with the regulator for mobile broadband. Earlier, it was put on sale in the first round of auction held in 2014, but failed to win any buyer.
The federal cabinet has set its starting bid price at $295 million, expecting stiff competition for grab of the licence from participants.
The base price was determined keeping in view growing demand for internet data from end-users and “more frequency spectrum is expected to be required by the operators,” policy directives said.
The base price is 29%, or $85 million, higher than the one ($210 million) at which China Mobile (Zong) acquired the 4G spectrum of a similar technical specifications (10MHz block in 1,800MHz band) in 2014, it was learnt.
An Information Commu-nication Technology’s expert said that the base price at $295 million is exorbitant and will discourage operators from participating in the forthcoming auction.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2017.