ISLAMABAD: The government has estimated non-tax revenue of Rs45.436 billion from 3G/4G licenses in the budegt for next financial year 2021-22. According to the budegt document 2021-22, the government had budgeted Rs27 billion from 3G/4G licenses for the outgoing fiscal year, which was later revised upward to Rs33.89 billion.
The government has delayed the auction of next generation mobile services (NGMS) spectrum in Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K), and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) till the next fiscal year.
Earlier, the government had planned spectrum auction in the outgoing fiscal year for improvement of mobile broadband services of which the government had estimated to generate over one billion dollar of revenue.
Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin, on May 25, 2021 chaired the 4th meeting of the Advisory Committee for the release of NGMS Spectrum in Pakistan, AJK and G-B.
After a detailed discussion, the advisory committee approved the draft policy directives for the release of NGMS Spectrum in Pakistan, AJK, and G-B unanimously for improvement of mobile broadband services with setting base price of $31 million and $29 million for the spectrum auction in 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands, respectively.
After the approval, the draft policy directive would be sent to the federal cabinet for approval.
After getting the cabinet approval, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications would send the policy to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for implementation and holding spectrum auction.
After receiving policy directive, the PTA will issue Memorandum of Information (IM) for spectrum auction.
Cellular operators would be required to respond within 15 days if they have any question and after finalisation, a final date would be issued for the auction.
The spectrum auctions for NGMS in Pakistan were conducted in 2014, 2016, and 2017, respectively, under the policy directives issued by the federal government of Pakistan.
Subsequently, the demand for data services grew exponentially and in a short period of seven years, the broadband subscribers in the country increased from mere 14 million in 2014 to over 100 million in April 2021.
A significant surge in the demand of broadband services has been witnessed particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This ever-increasing reliance on wireless mobile broadband services necessitated the demand for availability of more spectrum and hence to meet the connectivity needs of the citizens of Pakistan.
The government has also budgeted Rs4 billion from the Pakistan Telecom Authority (surplus) for the next fiscal year against Rs2 billion for the outgoing fiscal year, which was later revised to Rs2.4 billion.
The government has increased the levy on mobile handsets.
According to the budget documents, the government has budgeted a revenue of Rs9 billion from mobile handset levy for the next financial year.
The government had budgeted Rs5.8 billion for the outgoing financial year from mobile handset levy, which was later revised downward to Rs5 billion.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021