ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Wednesday issued 4G license to PTML (Ufone) against the spectrum auction for Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS), which includes enhanced network rollout obligations and quality of service standards to ensure consumer interest.
Ufone had submitted a bid of $279 million for a 9MHz block in a 1800Mhz band, and since there were no other operators participating in the auction process, the total proceeds from spectrum auction stood at $279 million.
The license signing ceremony of was held at PTA Headquarters, Islamabad, where license was issued to Ufone.
DG Licensing PTA, Brig Amer Shahzad (retired) and President and Group CEO, PTCL and Ufone, Hatem Bamatraf signed the contract.
The event was attended by Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Syed Aminul Haque, Federal Secretary for IT and Telecommunication, Chairman PTA Major General (retired)Amir Azeem Bajwa, Members of the Authority, executive director, Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) and senior management of the PTML (Ufone).
The PTA received bid from PTML (Ufone), after scrutiny of submitted bid, the PTA declared the PTML as winner of the auction process.
The process generated the revenue of $279 million (excluding advance tax).
The government will receive 50 percent upfront payment of Rs23.44 billion within 15 days; out of which 20 percent of the said amount, ie, Rs9.38 billion has already been received on 9th September 2021.
Remaining 50 percent will be paid in five equal annual installments.
Total spectrum won by Ufone is 9MHz in 1800MHz band, which is 70.3 percent of the total offered spectrum in the said band during the current auction.
This addition will increase Ufone spectrum holdings from 6MHz to 15MHz in 1800MHz band.
This will help Ufone to provide enhanced quality and increase coverage footprint for Voice and Data services.
Haque said that the Ministry of IT is committed to enhance connectivity and improve digital infrastructure in the country.
The government is taking numerous steps to fulfill the Digital Pakistan vision.
The chairman PTA said that the authority is working to ensure that Pakistanis have access to high quality services and benefit from ubiquitous coverage.
Bajwa said that the Pakistani market is a big one in terms of opportunities.
Making the spectrum auction process transparent was their top priority, the chairman said, adding that quality service standards have also been reviewed.
He also appreciated the tireless efforts of concerned officials of the PTA, the FAB, and the MoIT for timely conclusion of the spectrum auction process.
Sharing his thoughts on spectrum acquisition, Hatem Bamatraf said: “It is a historic day for Ufone, as we have acquired additional 4G Spectrum in order to fully optimize our mobile data services. This will enable us to further enhance our users’ experience, expand the existing network to serve the unserved areas. Improved data experience will enable a digital transformation in education, health care, agriculture, banking and ecommerce ecosystems to name a few.”
“We appreciate Government of Pakistan for executing the spectrum auction process in a seamless and transparent manner,” he added.
The additional spectrum will enable Ufone to not only connect Pakistanis living in far flung areas without cellular services but will also enable people in urban centers and towns to enjoy new sets of innovative products and unmatched experience.
The CEO PTML (Ufone) said that the additional spectrum will build on Ufone’s existing assets and enable the operator to deliver long-term value and connectivity to its subscribers.
The purpose of acquiring spectrum is to provide better services to consumers. We will use the spectrum for 4G service in remote areas, said the official, adding that providing employment in rural and backward areas is a priority.
Ufone will be able to increase subscribers by three percent in every province, said DG Licensing PTA.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021