Govt approves 2020-2023 spectrum strategy

6 Nov 2020

Pakistan’s government has approved a new three-year roadmap for the management of the nation’s spectrum resources over the next three years. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA’s) ‘Rolling Spectrum Strategy 2020-2023’ sets out the timeline for spectrum-related policy reviews, and frequency allocations that are set to take place over the next three years. The regulator notes that the strategy was prepared through collaboration between the PTA, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) and the Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) and has incorporated international best practices (where applicable in Pakistan). Included in the paper were 20 items, listed with their projected completion date, and a rank (either ‘Low’, ‘Medium’ or ‘High’) based on the level of demand for the policy/allocation and the expected difficulty that the authorities expect to encounter in the process of implementation.

Notable plans for policy and allocations include: the development of a spectrum sharing and trading framework to encourage the more efficient use of frequency resources (2020-2021); the refarming and allocation of the 700MHz band for mobile services (2020-2022); the refarming of the allocation of spectrum in the 1950MHz-1980MHz/2140MHz-2170MHz range (2020-2021); the reassignment and renewal of licences for 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum (2020-2021); and the allocation of unused 1800MHz spectrum (2020-2021). The PTA and FAB are also looking to refarm the 2500MHz band for mobile services – in particular 5G technology – but the timeline for this process is dependent on the judiciary process as the regulators must first recover the band from pay-TV operator Sourthern Network (SunTV). Use of the 3400MHz-3600MHz band, meanwhile is set to be expanded to include mobile services once the current licences expire, whilst allocations of spectrum in the 2300MHz and 3300MHz-3400MHz bands are pencilled in for 2020-2022 and 2021-2022 respectively, depending on demand.