PTA Set to Auction Additional 3G, 4G Spectrum to Telcos

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has initiated a drive to auction the available spectrum from 1800 & 2100 MHz bands to cellular mobile phone operators.

The auction will be held in the coming months, as the telecom regulator wants to hire a consultant for this process to carry out research on the industry, the design of the spectrum, and the potential price of the spectrum.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread in the country, the demand for broadband internet has risen in a staggering way, including the use of the internet by old and new users. The country witnessed various new trends including increasing demand for content related to entertainment, online classes and work-from-home, e-commerce and e-health.

The high demand for mobile internet has compromised the quality of service for broadband internet.

PTA, through its consultant, will conduct a study on the available spectrum in 1800 & 2100 MHz in Pakistan with future projections for the next 3 years, targeting to achieve overall economic growth and incentivize foreign investment, considering the impact of past auctions, renewals and other relevant factors.

The study will help devise a strategy for available spectrum auction in the light of international best practices suited for Pakistan’s Telecom market. The aim will be to assign the spectrum in a manner to make block size of contiguous frequencies by re-farming existing assignments to make standardized block sizes.

The auction drive entitled “Spectrum Auction Pakistan 2020-21” is focused on regulatory consistency for the investors, mobile broadband proliferation, and future sustainability of the Cellular Mobile Communication Sector with an overall economic growth of Pakistan.

PTA will carry out spectrum rationalization, re-adjustment plan (850, 900, 1800 & 2100 MHz) with an objective to maximize efficient spectrum utilization in line with international best practices for spectrum assignments.

At present, Zong, Telenor and Jazz maintain 2 blocks of 5 MHz each. Ufone manages 1 block of 5MHz. In 2017, Jazz was last awarded a spectrum with a 4G license at $295 million.

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