The 3G saga
While the rest of the world has moved on to bigger and better things, Pakistan remains as determined as ever to remain stagnant as now, after months of deliberation, the government has changed its mind about the revenue generated from the auction of 3G licenses which they feel are worth more than was estimated in the budget. When the budget was announced last year, $1.2 billion was written down as predicted earnings from issuing the licenses, which they have now rounded off the wrong way to $2 billion. 3 licenses have to be issued, and out of the four companies that are mildly interested, none are willing to pay above $500 million.
While the government is busy dreaming big, maybe they should be reminded that the auction has been attempted on several occasions, but has failed to materialize so far. This unrealistic optimism is doing no one any good. The budgeted amount of 1.2 billion is fine if the contracts are finally sold, and the long term benefits need to be taken under consideration as well. Personal consumption aside, the infrastructure built through 3G networking will be immensely beneficial for the development of the country. An entire new industry opens up, as well as creating new possibilities in fields such as e-commerce.
Meanwhile, South Korea is spending $1.5 billion on 5G, and in London, a test has been conducted that succeeded in transmitting 1.4 terabits in just one second. That is 44 uncompressed HD movies all sent 410 kilometers away, in one measly second. And here we are, having trouble opening our email inbox on our cell phones. So while being ambitious is certainly positive, and helps in getting things done, in the case of Pakistan, being prudent and realistic is more important, because nothing works the way it is supposed to.