MoIT finalises draft to centralise spectrum

Will enable govt to auction 300-400 MHz spectrum bands to generate revenue


Zafar Bhutta January 11, 2023

ISLAMABAD:

In a bid to repurpose the available spectrum bands, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) on Tuesday finalised the draft for the Telecom Airwaves Spectrum Refarming Framework.

The framework, prepared after consultations with relevant stakeholders, will enable the government to auction 300-400 MHz spectrum bands available with different departments. According to the ministry, these frequency bands are not being fully utilised at the moment.

In 2021, the government had auctioned excess spectrum at the price of $30million per megahertz (MHz). The government, thus, aims to generate billions of dollars in revenue by centralising the spectrum available with different departments and organisations in the country.

Airwaves spectrum refarming is globally practiced by communications service providers as a way to optimise existing bands. It repurposes spectrum bands that have historically been allocated for legacy cellular services – such as 2G mobile services – for newer generation of mobile technologies.

In a statement, IT and Telecommunication Minister Syed Aminul Haque said, “Spectrum refarming is considered a powerful and innovative approach to manage the spectrum dynamically, so as to make it available for newer commercial applications – including 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), broadband wireless access and digital broadcasting.”

“This framework has been designed in view of the increasing demand for advanced cellular and radio communication services worldwide,” he added. The draft has been uploaded on the ministry’s website to receive feedback from organisations and individuals alike. It will then be presented in the federal cabinet for approval.

The ministry expects that spectrum refarming will not only help improve the quality and coverage of mobile broadband services, but also promote emerging technologies in the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2023.

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