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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has initiated the process of auctioning the available spectrum from 1800 and 2100MHz bands to cellular mobile phone operators aimed at improving the quality of services and generating revenue.

The auction drive entitled, “Spectrum Auction Pakistan 2020-21” is focused on regulatory consistency for the investors, mobile broadband proliferation, and future sustainability of the cellular mobile communication sector with an overall economic growth of Pakistan.

The PTA has started the process to hire a consultant for this process to carry out research on the industry, the design of the spectrum, and the potential price of the spectrum.

The consultant(s)/consulting firm(s) will conduct the market study, consult with stakeholders and advise PTA on auction of available spectrum in accordance with the RFP.

Consultant(s) will be required to have relevant technical, financial, legal and regulatory expertise to successfully carry out the assignment.

Method of selection will be quality and cost based.

Spectrum Pricing Benchmarks for 1800 and 2100MHz bands with the future projections of next 3x years, targeting to achieve overall economic growth and incentivise foreign investment, considering impact of past auctions, renewals, and other relevant factors.

Further, the auction is aimed at spectrum rationalisation/re-adjustment plan (850, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz) with an objective to maximise efficient spectrum utilisation in line with international best practices for spectrum assignments.

The aim will be to assign spectrum in a manner to make block size of contiguous frequencies by re-farming existing assignments to make standardised block sizes.

Further, it is aimed at transparent and competitive spectrum auction plan with an optimal outcome, promoting mobile broadband proliferation, growth of cellular services and preventing collusion among the bidders.

As the Covid-19 pandemic spread in the country, the demand for broadband internet has risen in a staggering way, including the use of the internet by old and new users.

The country witnessed various new trends including increasing demand for content related to entertainment, online classes, and work-from-home, e-commerce, and e-health.

The high demand for mobile internet has compromised the quality of service for broadband internet.

The PTA, through its consultant, will conduct a study on the available spectrum in 1800 and 2100MHz in Pakistan with future projections for the next three years, targeting to achieve overall economic growth and incentivise foreign investment, considering the impact of past auctions, renewals, and other relevant factors.

The study will help devise a strategy for available spectrum auction in the light of international best practices suited for Pakistan’s Telecom market.

The aim will be to assign the spectrum in a manner to make block size of contiguous frequencies by re-farming existing assignments to make standardised block sizes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020