IT Ministry directed to speed up 3G licences’ auction process
ISLAMABAD: According to recommendations of the sub-committee, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information Technology (IT) here on Thursday directed the IT Ministry to speed up the process to auction 3-G licences by hiring international consultant.
The Pakistan Telecomm-unication Authority (PTA) must observe the performance and financial viability of existing mobile phone companies before considering them to qualify for the bidding process.
The committee unanimously accorded approval to the recommendations of the sub-committee aiming at ensuring transparency in the process of awarding 3G licences. The committee directed the ministry to expedite the auction process in the light of recommendations submitted by the sub-committee and approved by the main committee. The IT secretary said the ministry was in the favour of hiring international consultant to ensure transparency.
The committee recommended that in view of the appointment of an international consultant to oversee 3G auction as directed by the Auction Supervisory Committee (ASC) headed by the finance minister, the entire process already initiated in this regard stands redundant. The international consultant, once appointed, would determine and review the auction process from scratch. PTA was directed to follow the best international practices in awarding 3-G contracts and with the objective of maximising revenue, efficiency and competitiveness in the best national interest.
The PTA must observe the performance and financial viability of existing mobile phone companies before considering them to qualify for the bidding process. The Ministry of IT was recommended to ensure that infrastructure sharing is mandatory for the licence holders to avoid environment pollution and encourage economies of scale. The PTA was suggested to avoid awarding more than one block to one operator as this would be anti-competitive. Alternatively, PTA must impose the condition to launch 4-G technology on two blocks brought by any one operator.
The PTA should make criteria for appointment of international consultant transparent as well as complete the hiring process at the earliest so that the auction process of 3-G could be completed without further delay.
The regulator was also recommended to ensure that some portion of profit earned by licences could be invested back in Pakistan for manufacturing telecommunication equipment, which would not only contribute to revenue generation but become a source of employment as well. The Auction Advisory Committee or PTA should oversee the process of awarding 3-G licence for effective delivery and accountability.
Ministry of IT Secretary Farooq Ahmed Awan said that ASC meeting would be held today (Friday) regarding hiring of consultant. He said that he would inform the meeting about the recommendations of the committee.