KARACHI: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) plan to bring fast-paced information technology services – 3G/4G – in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) is expected to materialise by February next year, reveals an official.
The arrival of 3G/4G in these far-off areas will bring socio-economic change in the entire region and also benefit those situated along China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) routes in AJK and G-B.
PTA has already sought expressions of interest (EoI) for hiring a consultant or consultancy firm for working out the base price and design of the auction process for the next generation mobile services (NGMS).
The subscribers of 3G/4G in Pakistan have risen to 44.4 million and PTA expects to see a fair number of interested users in AJK and G-B who are eager to receive this service, which will swiftly connect them with the rest of the world.
The technology will help boost tourism, local economy and also create job opportunities for the local people.
In general, transportation in the area is very difficult, but the arrival of 3G/4G can greatly help resolve this issue and ensure better connectivity for all.
The broadband technology will also give a boost to commerce in these areas. “NGMS in these areas will bring an investment of more than $100 million over the next two to three years,” said IT expert Parvez Iftikhar.
People of AJK and G-B are heavily dependent on remittances and the 3G/4G service will provide people with easy access. The hospitality industry and tourism value chain will also improve as it will make online marketing more efficient and effective.
“I saw appetite for this modern technology when I visited Kashmir last year, not only the locals will avail themselves of this service, but it will also benefit a huge number of tourists who visit these areas every year,” said Aslam Javed, a resident of Faisalabad.
AJK and G-B have approved the policy for introducing 3G/4G services and asked PTA to make arrangements for the NGMS spectrum auction.
According to the policy, PTA will hire a local consultant who would hold consultation with cellular service providers of Pakistan and relevant AJK and G-B departments in order to suggest a base price after studying telecom markets of these areas.
Experts say these kinds of auctions are not an everyday occurrence and finding a consultant for the 3G/4G auction in AJK and G-B is really a difficult task as such consultants are rare around the world.
If PTA cannot find a consultant, it will make a decision by January or February next year without any suggestions from the consultant, said PTA spokesman while talking to The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2017.