MoIT issues POLICY DIRECTIVE FOR NEXT SPECTRUM AUCTION
In pursuance of the policy framework finalized by the Advisory Committee for auction of frequency spectrum left unsold in the NGMS auction 2014 and subsequent approval from the Prime Minister, Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunications has issued Policy Directive to PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) for conducting transparent and competitive auction for allocation of one block of 10 MHz paired spectrum in 850 MHz band. The base price of the block on offer has been set at USD 395 Million after thorough analysis and based on the market demand study of the PTA and international technology and market benchmarking.
Due to rapid growth and escalating demand for mobile broadband services requirement of more frequency spectrum, which is a critical input for high-quality mobile broadband services, was foreseen. It is pertinent to mention that the penetration of mobile broadband services have quickly grown from a paltry figure of less than 3% in 2014 to more than 17% in wake of the successful and transparent spectrum auction of 2014. Keeping in view the future demand of the industry in terms of frequency spectrum an Advisory Committee, under the chairpersonship of Minister of State for IT, was constituted by the Honourable Prime Minister of Pakistan to analyze the market situation and recommend a way forward. The Advisory Committee convened four meetings and extensively deliberated on different options and market scenarios. In its 4th meeting, the Advisory Committee finalized its recommendations for approval of the Honourable Prime Minister.
In the policy directive, PTA has been directed to design the auction process in a manner to fulfill policy objective of optimal outcome while mitigating chances of collusion amongst the bidders. PTA will conduct the auction within this financial year. Payment terms and conditions will remain the same as in 2014 NGMS auction. All existing mobile operators, as well as new entrants, will be eligible to participate in the auction. New license for provision of NGMS services will be issued to the successful bidder for a period of 15 years. Provisions of Telecommunication Policy 2015 related to sharing of infrastructure and national roaming will be applicable.
It is expected that the current move by the Government to supply the market with critical commodity of frequency spectrum will prove to be an important milestone in enabling mobile industry to aggressively expand their networks to each and every nook of the country while maintaining international quality of service standards for Pakistani users and digital economy of the country. The policy directive is available on the website of Ministry (www.moitt.gov.pk) for general information.