Pakistan’s Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) disclosed on its website that it has begun preparations for an upcoming auction of additional mobile broadband spectrum. The brief statement reads: ‘On the direction of Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin Ul Haque, [the MoITT] has started working to release/auction additional available frequency spectrum for improvement of mobile broadband services and network expansion in the country. The network expansion will facilitate better digital connectivity, online education, e-commerce etc. Additional spectrum release/auction will help enhancement of 4G services and subscriber base which is necessary for the successful launch of 5G technology in the country.’ The announcement did not mention specific frequency bands or other details.
TeleGeography notes that local operators Jazz, Telenor and Zong have all carried out 5G testing under temporary trial licences but do not yet possess commercial 5G concessions. This trio alongside Ufone have all rolled out extensive 4G LTE network coverage using 1800MHz band frequencies and, in Telenor’s case, 850MHz spectrum. 4G mobile subscribers overtook the number of 3G users in Pakistan in the second half of 2019, and the 4G base accounted for 30.6% of the nation’s active mobile SIMs by end-June 2020 (up from 19.8% a year earlier), compared to 3G’s 17.8% (down from 22.8%), according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.