Transparency to oversee 3G licence auction -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Transparency to oversee 3G licence auction

By: Zulqernain Tahir

LAHORE: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on Thursday engaged the Transparency International to watch the much-awaited auction of 3rd Generation Spectrum (3G) licences.

A senior PTA official told Dawn that the authority and the TI had reached an agreement for the purpose and an integrity pact would be signed soon. “The Transparency International will act as an observer of the process of auction of 3G licences,” he said.

The 3G represents a spectrum allowing higher speed of data transmission.

The government is expecting over $1 billion revenue from the auction of at least three 3G licences to the existing and foreign cellular operators. The base amount of the licence is reportedly $210 million. The PTA recently hired known consultants — Dr Rob Nicholls, Dennis Ward and Martin Sims — to get the auction done professionally.

According to an official associated with the telecom sector, the 3G licensing has been successfully carried out in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. But the people of Pakistan had been deprived of this facility because of `incompetence’ of some people in the PTA and the information technology ministry, he added.

The PTA had earlier announced the auction of 3G licences in March last year. The authority official alleged that still there were some elements who were trying to stop the process.