Cellcos’ absence prompts concerns over auction

24 May 2016

The absence of several major telecom operators from a preliminary meeting regarding next month’s spectrum auction has prompted concerns that many of the incumbents will sit out of the competition, Pro Pakistani writes. The news portal cites a senior Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) official as saying that only Mobilink, Telenor, WorldCall and Multi Net took part in the meeting, suggesting that China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak, which operates under the Zong brand) and Ufone will not take part in the auction, which features a single 2×10MHz block of 850MHz spectrum with a base price of USD395 million. Operators have until 29 May to submit applications to take part in the tender, but the source noted that the PTA has yet to receive an application from any of the nation’s cellcos. Although Mobilink and Telenor – the largest and second largest mobile providers by subscribers respectively – attended the meeting, Mobilink is not expected to make an offer, as its planned acquisition of Warid will give it a toehold in the 4G market, whilst Telenor has yet to be given the green light by its Norwegian parent to enter the competition.