Govt decides to launch 3G & 4G spectrum in one go
ISLAMABAD: In a bid to compete with other regional countries in the field of technology and to compensate the inordinate delay in auction of 3G license in the country, the government has decided to launch 3G and 4G spectrum in one go, it is learnt.
India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have already launched 3G services; and are now moving towards the introduction of 4G, however, Pakistan has so far remained far behind in this race, officials sources revealed to Business Recorder.
The government has formally tasked the Value Partners Management Consulting Limited (VPMCL) consultant hired for the auction of next generation, to introduce 3G and 4G simultaneously. Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) has identified the availability of 30 MHz paired spectrum in 1.9GHz/2.1GHz band for auction, which has the capacity to afford 4G services in the country, official sources added.
The VPMCL is currently engaged in preparing Information Memorandum (IM) for spectrum auction and expecting the process would be completed by January 20, 2014, which would also cover the modalities for the auction of 4G licenses, sources added.
When contacted, telecom industry sources maintained that the PTA had yet to issue any directives to the industry about the auction of the 3G/4G spectrum, including the bidding process, frequency allocation etc. However, the industry is ready to support the introduction of 3G and 4G in one go in the country. It is not possible to launch 3G/4G services simultaneously in the whole country but in a few big cities for which the operators are well prepared.
Policy directives approved by Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif state that transparent, competitive auction be conducted for spectrum allocation for deployment of the next generation mobile networks. The allocation will be technology neutral and usable for technologies standardised for 3G and advanced generation(s) of mobile services. Sources claimed that it was clear from the policy directives that the government wanted to introduce the latest version of 3G and 4G in the country.
The Prime Minister approved the issuance of this policy directive in supersession of the policy directive issued on 19th December 2011 regarding “introduction of third generation (3G) mobile services in Pakistan”, sources added.
The Mobile Cellular Policy, 2004, laid down the principle of auctioning spectrum for the introduction of 3G (Third Generation) services in Pakistan. The auction could not materialise at that time as the industry stated that the market was not ready for introduction of 3G while at the same time requisite frequency was not available as it was being used by other national entities for different purposes. As soon as the requisite frequency was made available and positive indications came from the market, the Ministry of IT issued policy directive to the PTA for the introduction of third generation mobile services in Pakistan on 19th December, 2011. However, the auction could not materialise, officials maintained.