Govt to auction last 4G spectrum for around $300 million

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March 21, 2017
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The Advisory Committee for the Auction of unsold Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) spectrum has geared up for the auction of the last spectrum of 4G.

The government has decided to go for auction of the last available paired spectrum of 10MHz in 1800MHz. The projected base price for one 10MHz block is approximate $300 million, reported by ProPakistani.

The demand for data grew exponentially since the auction of spectrum Next Generation Mobile Services in 2014. The mobile broadband penetration has increased and now there are over 38 million 3G/4G users in Pakistan. Currently, planned spectrum auction will cater for escalating demand of mobile broadband services.

During last three years, the government has successfully completed two rounds of next generation spectrum (3G/4G) auction. In February 2017, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif constituted an Advisory Committee for auction of the third and final spectrum which is headed by Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rahman.

The committee held a series of meetings since February to finalize the policy directive including the base price and other provisions. In the last meeting, the base price and the provisions were recommended for the approval of the cabinet. During succession of meetings various technical, commercial and market parameters were discussed to determine the base price. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) has recently conducted a market survey to know the demand for acquisition of the spectrum and the reports suggest that the auction is expected to invite healthy competition from mobile companies.

The policy directive after the approval of the Cabinet will be issued to PTA to carry out necessary procedure to hold a transparent spectrum auction. The upcoming spectrum auction will be the third auction since 2014 under the leadership of the PM Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. PTA may formally start the process for the auction in a week or 10 days by inviting bids from interested mobile phone companies. The auction process would be completed by end May 2017 or in June.

In 2014, the auction for 3G/4G licenses raised $1.112 billion. In 2016, after no other telco participated in the bidding of the 850 MHz 4G spectrum, it was awarded to Telenor. Ufone remains the only company which doesn’t have the 4G spectrum. The government has earned around $1.5 billion in the last two auctions.

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