Though Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has recommended the federal government start work on 5G immediately and everyone was expecting an early 2023 release(partial) now that we are in 2023 there are still several challenges that are hindering the release of 5G even to some areas. According to an annual report issued by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Monday, it said that to implement new technology, the relevant government authorities need to overcome a number of significant obstacles.
The report claims that among the top obstacles in implementing 5G in Pakistan were poor optical fiber cable (OFC) penetration, lack of feasible use cases, and low tower density. The effective rollout of 5G services in the nation was further threatened by rising inflation, low average revenue per user (ARPU), high operational costs including gasoline and power prices, and excessive taxation.
PTA has written a letter to the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication recommending to start work on 5G technology. The letter recommended the federal government approve the 5G guidelines and direct all departments to start work.
MoITT and PTA want the homework to be completed regarding 5G, at least 3 are required for the hiring of an international consultant. PTA will have to involve foreign offices and Pakistani embassies for advertisement in international newspapers for hiring an international consultant, after hiring the consultant it takes more than 6 months to prepare the report.
The International after consultation with all stakeholders and operators will give a detailed report to the PTA. The federal government after review can ask the consultant to revive the report.
According to sources in PTA, this homework is necessary whenever the government will launch 5G. If this 6-to-9-month exercise is completed then the timely launch of 5G will be possible. The work will also give an idea of what the industry and other stakeholders want. The MoITT had issued draft guidelines regarding 5G, on which a report was submitted to the federal government after taking input from all stakeholders. PTA Chairman Maj Gen Amir Azeem Bajwa.
On the policy front, however, the PTA said that the country has made significant progress and has leaped to becoming an ‘advanced’ version of fifth-generation regulation (G5).
“I take pride in sharing that Pakistan has leaped to an ‘advanced’ level of fifth-generation (G5) regulator in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 2022 regulators’ ranking,” said
The report added that the ITU recognition of Pakistan/PTA is a testimony to the rapid evolution of Information Communication Technology (ICT) regulations in Pakistan and a move towards collaborative regulations.
“Being at an ‘Advanced’ stage, Pakistan is very close to achieving the ‘Leading’ stage of the G5 benchmark. PTA is working with different sector regulators and ministries because innovations have a larger spread across different sectors like banking, education, commerce, health, and agriculture, etc.”
To achieve this level, there are quite a few pointers that require national collaborative action plans, and for this purpose, PTA is closely following up with MoITT, other stakeholders, and public authorities. In the 2021 benchmarking, Pakistan, among 58 other countries, was ranked as an ‘Advanced’ G5 country in terms of its level of readiness for G5 regulations.
Despite these obstacles, the PTA, MoITT, and FAB are trying to create laws that will speed up the rollout of 5G. These laws include the infrastructure sharing framework, spectrum refarming framework, spectrum sharing, national roaming, and ease-of-doing-business.
The assessment also stated that 5G is a game-changing technology with the ability to significantly improve socioeconomic conditions in the nation by enabling communities to participate in the sophisticated and data-intensive digital economy.
The PTA and MoITT understand how crucial it is to deploy 5G services in Pakistan on time given that predictions indicate it would draw 3.5 billion customers by 2026.