The government of Pakistan has approved proposals to auction unused spectrum in the 850MHz band ahead of the planned sale of the 1800MHz frequencies left over from the previous spectrum auction, TechSought writes. The decision was based on the results of a report produced by an unnamed consultant for the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and aims to satisfy industry demand for spectrum and growing data consumption. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar green-lit the proposal following discussions with an inter-ministerial committee featuring members of the PTA, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoITT), Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) and Spectrum Advisory Committee as well as the Attorney General and the Minister for Law and Justice. Further, it was agreed that more spectrum needs to be made available to the industry to allow operators to meet the evolving demands of Pakistani consumers. To that end, the relevant government agencies will work together to quickly conclude further procedural measures to release the requisite spectrum via auction.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the PTA completed the long-delayed auction of 3G and 4G licences in April 2014 and the first 3G network was commercially launched the following month. By the end of the year the nation’s cellcos had signed up 7.68 million 3G customers, and by December 2015 that figure had nearly tripled to 22.65 million.