ISLAMABAD: The government has revealed that 4G coverage is considered a pre-requisite for 5G launch and 5G services can be deployed in the area where 4G services have already been provided.
Official documents revealed that the government of Pakistan is planning to launch 5G in the country and the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MOIT&T) is in the process of finalizing policy guidelines for 5G in consultation with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)/Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) and other stakeholders. However, no consulting services have been procured so far for the said purpose.
The documents further revealed that no expenditure was incurred by the PTA as no consulting services have been procured so far.
The previous government was planning of launching 5G services in the country in the first quarter of 2023.
The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has evaluated seven bands for adoption of 5G services in the country.
Official documents revealed that the ministry is presently in a process of assessing the options available for timely launch of 5G services in Pakistan.
In this connection, the following bands are being evaluated for adoption of 5G services as low bands, mid bands and high bands: (a) 700 MHz; (b) 2.3 GHz; (c) 2.6 GHz; (d) 3.5 GHz; (e) MiIIi meter wave bands; (f) C-Band (3.6-4.2) GHz and (g) Unlicensed Backhaul Frequency bands (P2P & P2MP).
The ministry in view of these bands has requested the Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) for sharing the current status and availability of all 5G spectrum in the above-identified frequency bands.
Cellular operators are continuously expanding their networks. Currently, Pakistan has 90 percent teledensity with mobile penetration of 89 percent. Total mobile subscribers stand at 193.4 million. These numbers are on a continuous increase. All the CMOs are putting their efforts to expand 4G coverage nationwide as per license conditions.
Approximately, 60 percent of the population is covered with 4G coverage. New rollout conditions have been imposed on the operators’ licenses to increase the pace of 4G rollout in Pakistan. In addition, population-based rollout obligations are introduced to provide 4G coverage to the maximum population of Pakistan. However, network expansion and smartphone adoption is impacted by heavy tax regime, which needs to be reviewed by the government.
4G coverage is considered a pre-requisite for 5G launch and 5G services can be deployed in the area where 4G services have already been provided. The Cellular Operators are obliged to extend 4G coverage as per license conditions and charge consumers on the basis of data used/consumed by the subscribers irrespective of the technology, ie, 2G/3G/4G.
All cellular mobile operators are charging same tariffs/offering uniform packages for 2G/3G/4G services and there is no differentiation between the charging mechanism.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022