Hafeez hopes that spectrum sales will fetch a higher price

ISLAMABAD: The Finance Minister on Thursday said that the sale of maximum possible Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) spectrum would help in overall economic growth and improve the quality of broadband services in Pakistan through digitization.

Presiding over the meeting of the Advisory Committee, the Minister asked the advisers to take a proactive approach and meet the deadline for release of NGMS spectrum.

Meanwhile, government sources said that the government expects to raise 1 1 billion from the spectrum auction at a time, with strong reactions from telecom companies against the auction.

The committee was briefed by Major General (Retd) Amir Azeem, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), on the latest developments in the sale of available spectrum of next generation mobile services.

The auction could produce up to b 1bn, and broadband services could improve

The committee was informed that PTA had hired Frontier Economics Limited, a UK-based company, as a consultant for the spectrum auction of 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands.

The PTA, on the instructions of the Ministry of Information Technology, had invited bids for an international consultant for the spectrum auction, and the advertisement for the services of a consultant or consulting firm was published in the national and international newspapers on 30 September 2020. Was published In response to this advertisement, 12 bids were received by the November 17, 2020 deadline.

The Committee was informed that Spectrum Auction Pakistan 2020-21 is focusing on increasing regular consistency and expansion of mobile broadband for investors which will also have an impact on the overall economic growth of Pakistan.

The key responsibility of the consultant will be to formulate a strategy for the auction of spectrum available in Pakistan at 1800 and 2100 MHz in the light of international best practices suitable for the local telecom market.

The committee was informed that the sale of available spectrum would be completed within the current financial year after following the prescribed procedure.

“There are two schools of thought on this subject. The Ministry of Finance wants open auctions to generate high revenue and NAB, FIA etc. also want open auctions to ensure transparency.

“The second approach – especially to operators – is that providing spectrum at lower prices will help companies invest more in service and access in insecure areas. Mobile companies say the government should provide infrastructure that There is spectrum and it will increase service to remote and remote areas at affordable rates like Gilgit-Baltistan and the former FATA and other parts of the country.

The next meeting of the advisory committee is expected in March.

The meeting was attended by Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry, IT Minister Syed Aminul Haq, Trade Adviser Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Executive Director Frequency Allocation Board and other senior officials.

Pakistan currently has about 85 million 3G / 4G subscribers and 87 million broadband subscribers, but Internet access across the country is less than 41%.

Updated: January 18, 2021 — 1:24 pm

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