Pakistan’s 3G, 4G auction draws dismal response as Warid stayed away


Pakistan’s upcoming 3G, 4G auction draws a dismal response Reuters reported. The auction is all set for next-generation cellphone spectrum licenses in Pakistan.

Pakistan IT industry biggest auctions for 3G and 4G network licenses will be held on April 23. The auction will raise about $2 billion to boost foreign reserves.

But officials said that Monday’s bidding process hardly attracted huge interest and it is estimated that  Pakistan will not raise more than $850 million.

The bidding which closed at 4 pm on Monday attracted only four out of major five cellular mobile companies in Pakistan while new companies showed little interest.

 Khurram Mehran,PTA spokesman while said that the response of four cellular mobile operators of Pakistan was encouraging and satisfactory.

Mobilink and Zong bid for 10 MHz while Telenor and Ufone both bid for 5 MHz.

Warid Telecom Pakistan, did not submit a bid,Neither did Saudi Telecom Company and Turkcell.

Ishaq Dar, the finance minister is reported to be very angry and thought of delaying the auction, said an official. Pakistan is one of the major countries which is not even offering 3G services while its neighbor, Afghanistan, switched to the next generation 3G services in 2012.

Pakistan has currently a mobile phones user base of 132 million while the total population touches 180 million people as per Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

Pakistan’s telecommunications market has been heavily invested by firms like Etisalat (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates). The finance ministry in February announced auction of 3G and 4G LTE spectrum in Pakistan.

The finance ministry estimated that 3G licenses could raise $2 billion, while along 4G spectrum could bring $4 billion and $5 billion.

The 3G spectrum auction was expected to create up to 900,000 new jobs as well as to raise Pakistan’s gross domestic product by $8 billion.

There are 4 available 3G blocks in the 1800 MHz: 2 in 10 MHz and 2 in 5 MHz. 10 MHz block has a base price of $291 million and 5 MHz is $146 million,

Bids for 4G LTE licenses with base price of $210 million attracted zero operator.