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PTA sets out plan for auction of unsold 4G spectrum

29 Mar 2017

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has issued a policy directive for the auctioning of unsold 3G and 4G frequencies, with the tender set to take place by the end of June 2017. The government has decided to sell the remaining 2×10MHz of 1800MHz as a single block, with a reserve price of USD295 million. All of the nation’s cellcos, plus any prospective new players, are eligible to participate in the auction. The concession has a 15-year duration, and will be subject to the provisions of the Telecommunication Policy 2015 with regards to quality of service (QoS), spectrum and infrastructure sharing, and national roaming. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, only one of Pakistan’s four major mobile providers has yet to introduce 4G services: Pakistan Telecommunications Mobile Limited (PTML), which operates under the Ufone name. China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak, operating under the Zong brand) was the only cellco to purchase 1800MHz 4G spectrum in the April 2014 tender and launched an LTE network in September that year, whilst Telenor snapped up 850MHz band frequencies in June 2016 and inaugurated a rival platform in September 2016. Mobilink, meanwhile, is entering the 4G market through its ongoing merger with Warid, which was granted permission in 2014 to use its existing 1800MHz spectrum to offer LTE services.

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