Islamabad: Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom has said that tepid response by the mobile companies during auction of additional spectrum was due to payment being asked in USD, well informed sources told Business Recorder. The ministry shared this viewpoint with the Federal Cabinet, in its recent meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The PM expressed concern at the lukewarm response of mobile companies for auction of additional spectrum. The premier, sources said, has been informed that initially four companies had expressed interest but later only one company participated. This was the pattern in the past rollouts as well, however, the revenue target from the sale would be accomplished. Furthermore, the mobile companies were being asked to improve quality of service and expand coverage, which would eventually encourage purchase of additional spectrum.
Tepid response by the mobile companies was due to payment being asked in USD, and it was clarified that the payment in Pak rupees pegged to USD exchange rate was to be accepted. It was pointed out that the quality of service of mobile phone companies has deteriorated a great deal, which needs to be addressed: A member observed that the revenue-driven approach to spectrum sale needed to be re-thought as it hindered the benefits that could accrue to the economy through faster and quicker expansion of broadband and digitalization. It was explained that the price offered was at the lower end of the band recommended by the international consultants.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021