Pakistan, South Asia’s second-biggest economy, is mulling second auction of third- and fourth-generation mobile-phone network, after an exponential growth in subscribers following the first auction less than two years ago.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has constituted an Advisory Committee for the auction of 3G/4G spectrum which remained unsold in 2014 at the time of the first auction held in April that year. All the spectrums were sold to the companies already operating in Pakistan.
The first auction brought $1.3 billion to the national exchequer. At the time 3G spectrums were sold to four operators — the Pakistan unit of China Mobile Ltd., Pakistan Mobile Communications Ltd.’s Mobilink, Telenor ASA’s local subsidiary and Ufone of Pakistan Telecommunication Co. China Mobile also won a 4G license.
For the second auction, consultants have already been hired and they are working on “Market Assessment”, due to be completed by end of January. Following the report the country’s telecom watchdog – Pakistan Telecom Authority – will prepare an auction strategy, a government statement said Jan. 6.
Pakistan’s IT Minister Anusha Rehman said the auction would be a golden opportunity for the telecom companies to enhance their spectrum capacity and provide high quality broadband services to a growing number of subscribers.
Pakistan’s telecommunication market was deregulated in 2004, and there has been a steady growth in the number of users in the country of nearly 190 million people.
According to PTA, the number of cellular phone users stood at 124,240,494 as of November, 2015 from 12.7 million in 2005. Those using 3G/4G spectrum are 21,658,155. Pakistan’s telecom sector contributed $1.2 billion in taxes to the national kitty in 2014-15 financial year.