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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has invited applications from cellular mobile operators for 16 MHz paired spectrum in the 1800 MHz band, and 30 MHz paired spectrum in the 2100 MHz band for technology neutral Next Generation Mobile Service (NGMS) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

The PTA has issued the Information Memorandum (IM), according to which, the auction is scheduled to be held on October 13, 2021; however, according to sources, the operators may require more time for consultation.

However, the auction may be held latest by October 20, 2021.

The Spectrum Auction of the NGMS in the AJK and the GB is for use of spectrum from the internationally harmonised 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands within the AJ&K and the GB.

The spectrum included in the Spectrum Auction of NGMS in the AJ&K and the GB comprises: (a) 2 x 16 MHz in the 1800 MHz band; and (b) 2 x 30 MHz (1930-1950 MHz/2120-2140 MHz and 1960-1970 MHz/2150-2160 MHz) in the 2100 MHz band.

The 2x16 MHz of spectrum will be packaged as two blocks of 2x5 MHz and five blocks of 2x1.2MHz.

1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz bands: Govt sets base prices for spectrum auction

The 2x30 MHz in the 2100 MHz band will be packaged as six specific blocks of 2x5 MHz: (a) 2x5 MHz (1930-1935 MHz/2120-2125 MHz); (b) 2x5 MHz (1935-1940 MHz/2125-2130 MHz); (c) 2x5 MHz (1940-1945 MHz/2130-2135 MHz); (d) 2x5 MHz (1945-1950 MHz/2135-2140 MHz); (e) 2x5 MHz (1960-1965 MHz/ 2150-2155 MHz); and (f) 2x5 MHz (1965-1970 MHz/2155-2160 MHz).

Each applicant will be required to state their interest in the following spectrum at the base price: (a) Product 1: Up to 2 blocks of 2x5 MHz in 1800 MHz; (b) Product 2: Up to 5 blocks of 2x1.2MHz in 1800 MHz; (c) Product 3: Between 1 and 6 blocks of 2x5 MHz in 2100 MHz: (i) Block 1: (1930-1935 MHz/2120-2125 MHz); (ii) Block 2: (1935-1940 MHz/2125-2130 MHz); (iii) Block 3: (1940-1945 MHz/2130-2135 MHz); (iv) Block 4: (1945-1950 MHz/2135-2140 MHz); (v) Block 5: (1960-1965 MHz/2150-2155 MHz); and (vi) Block 6: (1965-1970 MHz/2155-2160 MHz).

The base price for 2x1 MHz in 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz is $0.87 million.

The base price for 1800 MHz - Product 1 2x5 MHz is $4.35 million, 1800 MHz - Product 2 2x1.2 MHz $1.04 million and 2100 MHz 2x5.0 MHz is $4.35 million.

Pursuant to the Policy Directive, PTA/FAB shall undertake a process for the rationalisation of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band to achieve contiguity where feasible (the Rationalisation Process).

The PTA, however, notes that its ability to ensure contiguous spectrum holdings in this band will depend on the outcome of the auction.

All set for spectrum auction in G-B, AJK

The Rationalisation Process will involve the entire spectrum in 1800 MHz band and all CMOs, irrespective of their participation in the auction.

The Rationalisation Process will be conducted in accordance with the timeline set out in Section 1.7 of this IM.

Under the Rationalisation Process, the PTA will endeavour to group together, in the 1800 MHz band, each CMO's existing spectrum and the auctioned spectrum.

This may involve a CMO's existing spectrum changing from its current position, either up or down in the band. Suppose one CMO has 2x8.8 MHz of existing spectrum and that it acquires 2x1.2 MHz in the auction.

In that case, the PTA will endeavour to group its 2x8.8 MHz of existing spectrum adjacent to its 1.2 MHz of auction spectrum, to make a contiguous block of 2x10 MHz. No spectrum cap has been imposed in this auction.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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