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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoITT) has finalised the draft of the first-ever framework for managing the spectrum dynamically and make it available for newer applications, such as 4G, 5G, broadband wireless access, and digital broadcasting.

Official sources revealed to Business Recorder that the government is likely to allocate the band of 700 MHz for adoption of 5G services in the country.

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has evaluated the following bands 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) MiIIi8meter wave bands; (f) C-Band (3.6-4.2) GHz and (g) Unlicensed Backhaul Frequency bands (P2P & P2MP).

As per the Telecom Policy 2015 section 8.5.1, the spectrum will be reframed where its current use is not in the best social and economic interests of Pakistan, it is underutilized, used inefficiently or its use is inconsistent with international allocations. Incumbent users/licensees, as per the details of this framework, will vacate their spectrum assignments in a particular band either partially or completely so that the band may be allocated to other users.

Spectrum reframing is a combination of administrative, financial and technical measures aimed at removing equipment of the existing frequency assignments either completely or partially from a particular frequency band. The frequency band may then be allocated to the same or different services.

MoITT has finalized the framework on spectrum reframing which is first of its kind prepared with recommendations from PTA, PEMRA, FAB and Industry Stakeholders after multiple consultations.

Syed Aminul Haque, Federal Minister for IT & Telecommunication said the draft has been uploaded on the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication website for open consultation before approval of the Federal Cabinet. He said frequency or airwaves spectrum reframing is a process governing the repurposing of frequency bands that have historically been allocated for legacy cellular services for new generation of mobile technologies, including emerging technologies, Internet of Things & 5th Generation Technology for on ground inclusion of 4th Industrial Revolution.

Haque added that in view of the increasing demand for cellular and radio communication services worldwide, emerging technologies, Spectrum reframing is considered a powerful and innovative approach to manage the spectrum dynamically so as to make it available for newer commercial applications 5G, Internet of Things, broadband wireless access and digital broadcasting.

The framework shall enable the effective utilization of the available frequency spectrum for front end and backhaul frequencies, increase potential business viability for licensees, better quality and coverage of mobile broadband services and emerging technologies including additional revenues for the national exchequer. The frame work shall enable Operators to have sufficient contiguous spectrum to support the simultaneous operation of multiple technologies in a frequency band.

Based on international developments, including but not limited to, technological trends, the vendor reports, Telecom operators’ feedback, R&D landscape, survey reports and most importantly the recommendations from ITU, IEEE, ETSI, 3GPP, 3GPP2, GSMA and other standard framing bodies, PTA/PEMRA and FAB will recommend to MoIT&T the requirement to reframe any given frequency band for efficient utilization.

As per Telecom Policy 2015 section 8.5.4, federal government, through MoIT&T, will decide to reframe any spectrum and such decision will be affected through a policy directive. The policy directive shall include: a. Spectrum to be reframed e.g. 700 MHz b. Constitution of “Spectrum Reframing Committee” comprising of MOIT&T, FAB, PTA/PEMRA and incumbent user.

Federal Government may opt for any other member which it considers appropriate at that time. c. Authorization to PTA/PEMRA for hiring an independent reputed expert/consultant (if required) to carry out a detailed subject analysis and present recommendations to the Committee.

The main ToRs of the Committee/Consultant may include the following: a. Estimate the value of the re-farmed spectrum using the valuation method to be adopted (for government users only). b. To estimate the compensation cost of reframing (for government users only). c. Quantum of spectrum to be reframed in the approved band e.g. 700 MHz. d. To determine timeline for re-framing. e. Seek the input from relevant stakeholders.

Committee shall submit its final recommendations to the Federal Government through the MOIT&T within three (3) months (if 3rd party consultation is not required). If 3rd party consultation is required, then appropriate time will be added to engage the consultant.

The Committee will regularly monitor the implementation status of the spectrum reframing process as per the approved timelines. The recommendations of the Committee as approved by the Federal Government shall be binding for the incumbent user.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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