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ISLAMABAD: All of the four cellular mobile operators have submitted bids for Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) spectrum auction in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), it is learnt.

Official sources revealed that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has received bids against both bands i.e. 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands.

The Authority invited application from cellular mobile operators for 16 MHz paired spectrum in the 1800 MHz band and 30 MHz paired in the 2100 MHz band for technology neutral NGMS in AJ&K and GB.

The PTA had issued the information memorandum (IM), according to which, the deadline for prospective applicants to submit application form and sealed-bid form with pre-bid deposits was September 22, 2021.

The PTA will notify qualified applicant(s) and further inform all qualified applicants whether the auction shall move to the electronic auction stage or the PTA declares qualified applicants as provisional winners on September 23, 2021.

If the PTA proceeds with the electronic auction stage, an information package containing confidential information and instructions to participate in the electronic auction stage is provided to those qualified applicants eligible to participate in that stage on September 24.

Mock Clock Auction (1800 MHz and 2100 MHz), if required, for eligible qualified applicants will be held on September 27.

Clock Auction bidding starts, if required, on September 28.

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

The spectrum included in the Spectrum Auction of NGMS in AJ&K and GB comprises: (a) 2x16 MHz in the 1800 MHz band; and (b) 2x30 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.

The 2x30 MHz in the 2100 MHz band will be packaged as six specific blocks of 2x5MHz: (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 two 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, the 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.

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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