Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pakistan - Cabinet is to approve the arrangements for an auction of spectrum for national 3G services

[daily times] The government of Pakistan is expected to invite international telecommunication players along with five local operators to take part in the open auction of 3-G licences, official sources informed here on Tuesday.

The government has two options under its consideration for auction of 3-G licences. The government under option number one will offer up to 10 Mhz frequency to telecommunication companies with licence and minimum $420 million and maximum $800 million revenue is expected to come through the auction.

Under the option number two, the government will offer frequency ranging between 20 Mhz and up to 35Mhz to telecom sector with licences through open bidding and minimum $749 million and $1.2 billion revenue is projected to come.

The 3-G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) specifications by the International Telecommunication Union. Application services include wide-area wireless voice telephone, mobile Internet access, video calls and mobile TV, all in a mobile environment.

Official sources informed that a meeting held at the Ministry of Finance and chaired by the Federal Minister for Finance Dr Hafeez Shaikh discussed the issue of auction of 3-G licences and considered the said options and decided to submit the recommendations of the meeting to the federal cabinet meeting, expected, today (Wednesday).

The federal cabinet in its meeting would be requested to approve the modalities of the auction of the 3-G licences with possible decision on any one option.

Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) is managing the frequency and some excess frequency is available with the FAB that would be allocated to the successful bidder - telecommunication companies with 3-G licences. The sources said that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) would be managing the affairs of the auction of 3-G licences.

Sources said that meeting held in the Ministry of Finance decided to go for open auctioning of the much awaited 3-G licencing to generate around Rs 60 billion receipts budgeted for the current fiscal year.

They said that the meeting thoroughly discussed the auctioning options, anticipated revenue and decided to move a summary to the cabinet.

The meeting was informed that Mobilink, Ufone, Telenor, Warid and Zong are five potential candidates for taking part in the bidding to buy excess frequency for running of 3-G service network. The meeting decided that access frequency would be bridged by 2013.

The Privatisation Commission representative present in the meeting was of the view that the government should also invite international telecommunication players in the auction of 3-G licenses not only to fetch maximum price as well as to make it more transparent and to eliminate any chance of post auction litigation by the international players.

The proposal has been pending for quite a long time and the government had estimated Rs 60 billion receipts in the last year but was not able to materialise it.

Federal cabinet to approve modalities today

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