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ISLAMABAD: Auction of 5G Spectrum will be held within the next 10 months, while hurdles in the process relating taxation, teledensity and spectrum will be addressed on a priority basis.

This was decided in a meeting between Caretaker Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif and Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Maj Gen Hafeezur Rehman (retired), here on Tuesday.

Matters related to telecommunication, 5G auction and spectrum were discussed in detail during the meeting.

Caretaker Federal Minister for IT Dr Saif said that all the hurdles in 5G auction would be removed on a priority basis, adding that issues relating to taxation, teledensity, and spectrum would be addressed.

He said that effective measures would be taken for the provision of quality services to the masses. He vowed to facilitate people through 5G auction.

Responding to Business Recorder queries regarding 5G auction, the PTA officials stated the government of Pakistan’s initiatives for adoption/launch of new technologies were fully supported as telecom services/infrastructure were key enablers for any digital reforms in the country. The PTA has already provided input on the subject matter after consultation with relevant stakeholders.

The officials further stated that consultant hiring was a standard procedure that was being followed for all spectrum auctions held in the country. The same will be adopted for 5G as well when policy directives/guidelines are received from the government of Pakistan.

The MoIT&T has already engaged with relevant stakeholders, including the FAB, to crystalise the spectrum bands for future technologies and address industry concerns in relation to impediments that may impact the process in the future.

Pakistan ranks very low in terms of quality of service for cellular users (79 out of 100 globally by the Inclusive Internet Index). One of the main reasons for this is the lack of investment in the telecom infrastructure. Our telecom operators only have 274 MHz Spectrum currently to serve the 7th largest number of telecom users in the world.

For comparison, a single telecom operator in Australia (Optus) uses over 345 MHz. Therefore, in order to afford better services to our citizens, we must ensure immediate improvement in 4G infrastructure and accelerate the rollout of 5G in Pakistan, the ministry added.

The meeting was also attended by Additional Secretary MoITT Aisha Humera Moriani and DG Wireless Muhammad Jahanzeb Rahim.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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