Published on February 28th, 2012 | by Arsalan Mir1
3G Spectrum Auction Next Month: Chairman PTA
Amid resistance, questions on transparency, confusions and other views; PTA’s Chairman Dr. Yaseen in his recent interview have yet again expressed that 3G Spectrum Auction in Pakistan will take place next month.
The brief of Dr. Yaseen’s interview as reported by Mobile Business Briefing can be read below. Some key points have been underlined.
Pakistan is to hold 3G auctions next month and is aiming to attract 15 million mobile broadband users within the first year, the country’s regulator has told Mobile World Daily in an exclusive interview.
Dr Mohammad Yaseen, chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), said that three blocks of spectrum in the 1900/2100MHz band and another at 800MHz are to be sold off, with licences expected to be awarded to at least three operators. Both new and existing market players are invited to bid and Yaseen said the country’s regulatory framework was geared up to facilitate foreign investment.
Bids will start at US$210 million for the 1900/2100MHz spectrum and US$155 million for the 800MHz licence. In the first rollout phase, existing operators will need to launch services in four Provincial Capitals and the Federal Capital within six months after being allocated, while new players will be given a year.
Pakistan is the world’s tenth largest mobile market with around 113 mobile subscribers at year-end 2011 – but has a market penetration of just 66.5 percent.
“Keeping in view the situation for fixed line broadband in the country [under 1 percent], we expect that during first year of its introduction 3G mobile broadband services will attract approximately 15 million subscribers with a steady growth afterwards,” said Dr Yaseen. He added that the Pakistan government was looking at the mobile sector as a “major contributor” to the country’s economy. “The telecom sector contributes about 1.5 percent in the national GDP on annual basis [and] is providing direct and indirect employment opportunities to more than 1.5 million individuals. [The] government is putting all emphasis on cellular broadband proliferation for further economic growth.”
Dr Yaseen said that 3G will enable value-added services such as health, education, money and entertainment. “The majority of the population consists youth who are eager and excited to enjoy mobile entertainment and Internet service on the move,” he said.
It is worthy to note here PTA has recently sought for EOIs from consultancy firm of international repute to offer services for the auction of 3G license which is due for submission on March 26, that is three-days before the Spectrum Auction date. Also some recommendations of the Standing Comittee on IT are yet to be considered.