Govt Sets Base Price for Additional Spectrum Auction

The government has set a base price of $31 million and $29 million for the spectrum auction in 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands, respectively, which is likely to be held in June 2021, Propakistani has learned.

Well placed sources revealed that the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications is likely to issue a policy directive next week, to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for conducting a spectrum auction in June 2021.

PTA had hired an international firm – Frontier Economics Ltd – as a consultant for spectrum auction of 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands. The firm presented its report to the Advisory Committee for the release of Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) on April 29, 2021, which was presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin.

Sources revealed that the consultant had recommended $30 million and $27.5 million as the base price for 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands to the Advisory Committee.

PTA in its proposals to the advisory committee suggested a base price of $31 million and $29 million for 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands, respectively. Sources who attended the committee meeting said that it has decided to set base prices of $31 million and $29 million for 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands, respectively, while considering demand in the market, revenue generation, and improving the quality of services.

In September 2020, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) had constituted the advisory committee for the release of unsold Next Generation Mobile Services spectrum to improve mobile broadband services in the country.

According to a statement issued, the Finance Division had then stated that the Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the committee would be:

  • To examine and evaluate the market assessment report and recommendations of PTA for release of maximum NGMS spectrum in Pakistan,
  • Examine and finalize policy directives for the federal government for the release of NGMS spectrum,
  • To oversee the release process to be conducted by PTA.

A PTA official said that the objective of the consultancy was to devise a strategy for existing mobile cellular license renewal and additional spectrum auction in 1800 & 2100 MHz bands in light of international best practices suited for the telecom market.

Further, the consultancy was aimed at spectrum pricing benchmarks for renewal and auction with the future projections, targeting to achieve overall economic growth and incentivize foreign investment, considering the impact of past benchmarks and other relevant factors.

One of the objectives was also a spectrum rationalization/re-adjustment plan with an objective to maximize efficient spectrum utilization in line with international best practices for assigned spectrum.

The aim was to assign spectrum in a manner to make block size of contiguous frequencies by re-farming existing assignments to make standardized block sizes. However, it is the prerogative of the government to take the final decision on the consultant’s recommendations.

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