ISLAMABAD: The government would require approximately eight to 10 months after issuance of the policy directive to complete the process of the 5G launch in the country.
The timely rollout of 5G mobile phone connectivity is, however, contingent on political stability in the country, which has already wasted several months and may delay the launch of services.
Official documents of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) reveal that it published draft policy guidelines for 5G on 15 December 2021 on its website. Based on the same, all stakeholders were consulted by the MoITT and the Pakistan Telecommuni-cation Authority (PTA) for market readiness in relation to 5G adoption in the country.
Approximately eight to 10 months would be required after the issuance of the Policy Directive by the government of Pakistan to complete the process of the 5G launch in the country.
The previous government had planned to auction the 5G spectrum latest by end of March 2023 in the country with the initial launch in big cities.
However, due to political instability in the country, around four months were wasted which has impacted the initial plan, sources added.
Top officials at the PTA said that the question of the timeline for the 5G auction should be directed towards the ministry.
The official further stated, “If it is a priority item for the government and the telecom industry, then the Authority can do the spectrum auction before the election.”
Jazz Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Aamir Ibrahim has stated on record that it would be hard for 5G to make any business case in the next two years because less than one percent of consumers afford such handsets in the country. He further said that people think that better internet would be provided once the 5G is launched in the country, but it could be provided with 4G even now by government interventions for greater propagation.
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.
He further said that first, the focus should be the 15 percent population currently having no telecom services.
As per documents, the MoITT is currently in the process of finalising policy guidelines for 5G in consultation with the PTA/Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) and other stakeholders.
However, no consulting services have been procured so far for the said purpose.
The documents further reveal that the ministry is presently in a process of assessing the options available for the timely launch of 5G services in Pakistan.
In this connection, the following bands are being evaluated for the 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) Millimeter 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 FAB for sharing the current status and availability of all 5G spectrums in the above-identified frequency bands.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022