3G licences: Restarting the process
The optimism at the beginning of this year that the much-anticipated 3G spectrum auction would finally take place is long gone. Though the authorities are still in hibernation mode, recent events suggest that the process may be moving ahead. Reportedly, the finance minister is keen to expedite the pre-auction process, and so is the National Assemblys Standing Committee on IT, saying: Hire the Consultant!
Considering the current political climate in Pakistan and the looming intrigues and intricacies of an election year, it seems unlikely that the incumbents would be in a position to complete the transaction this year. Yet there is also a perception if government weathers the impending political storms and decides not to go for early elections; then there is a strong possibility that the auction could be completed in this fiscal year.
Holding this auction is very important, and Pakistan does not really have a choice but to migrate to 3G data networks to allow the socio-economic benefits of mobile broadband. It has been reiterated by telecom experts that the said auction must be conducted in a manner that ensures transparency and balances interests of all stakeholders: operators, customers and government.