NGMS auction at AJ&K, GB: three CMOs issued new licenses – Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) on Monday issued new licenses to three mobile operators after winning spectrum in first-ever cellular spectrum auction for Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), which generated sales of $ 30.322 million

The license signing ceremony for NGMS in AJ&K and Britain was held here on Monday, where three mobile operators (CMOs) including CMPak (Zong), Telenor Pakistan and PTML (Ufone) were awarded new licenses.

The event was attended by Federal Minister of Kashmir Affairs and GB Ali Amin Khan Gandapur; Chief Minister of GB, Muhammad Khalid Khurshid; Federal Secretary for Informatics and Telecommunications Dr Suhail Rajput, Chairman PTA, Maj Gen Amir Azeem Bajwa (retd), Members of the Authority, Special Assistant to Prime Minister AJ&K for Information Technology, Secretary Kashmir and British Affairs , Executive Director, Frequency Allocation Commission (FAB) and senior management of mobile phone companies.

The PTA conducted the electronic auction where two operators, namely CMPak (Zong) and PMCL (Jazz) participated for the 1800 MHz band.

The electronic auction increased to 18 rounds and concluded by declaring Zong the winner of 10 MHz (2 blocks of 5 MHz) in the 1800 MHz band for the price of $ 14.398 million.

The spectrum sold in the 1800 MHz band represented 85% of the total spectrum offered in that band for AJ&K and GB.

In addition, Telenor, Ufone and Zong also won 1.2 MHz in the 1800 MHz band. Telenor, Pakistan was declared the winner in the 2100 MHz band for 15 MHz spectrum over the fixed base price.

Spectrum sold in the 2100 MHz band represents 50 percent of the total spectrum offered in that band.

The PTA completed the auction process with the help of internationally renowned consultant JV Telconet / Frontier Economics, who had been on board since April 2021, and conducted extensive consultations with the cellular industry and other stakeholders.

Ali Amin Khan Gandapur, Federal Minister of Kashmir and UK Affairs addressing the occasion, said that adding this spectrum will help collective management organizations provide better data and voice services in both regions, currently focused on tourism promotion.

The minister said one of the area’s two demands was the spectrum auction, which was met.

The other request to give GB provincial status is in the final stages.

He added that Britain is very important when it comes to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the additional spectrum would solve the connectivity issues faced by residents as well as tourists.

He said that thanks to the NGMS, the digital divide will be reduced and tourism will flourish more in the regions.

The Minister also appreciated the efforts of the PTA for the success of the spectrum auction process.

Britain’s Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid said that during Covid-19, one of the biggest issues facing the region was connectivity.

He said the education sector suffered the most due to low coverage; however, the additional spectrum would help reduce barriers to connectivity and the Prime Minister’s digital vision.

He said the region’s tax-exempt status will continue to facilitate the public. He also said that in addition to real leadership, political will was also needed to address long-standing issues, including spectrum auctions.

He said the additional spectrum would usher in a new era of modern telecommunications services for the people of AJ&K and GB.

He also praised the Special Communications Organization (SCO) for providing better connectivity facilities in the region despite difficult terrain and environment.

Federal Secretary for Information Technology and Telecommunications DrSuhail Rajput said the IT&T Ministry is committed to improving connectivity and digital infrastructure in the country.

He also said the government is planning 5G auctions in a year and a half.

The PTA Chairman said that the PTA strives to ensure that Pakistanis have access to high quality services and have ubiquitous coverage.

Continuing efforts are being made to extend advanced telecommunications services to remote areas, allowing access to a multitude of opportunities for business, education and health.

Licensing for NGMS in the two regions will help strengthen the uninterrupted provision of better telecommunications services to the people of AJ&K and GB, in line with the GOP’s vision of a “digital Pakistan”.

Bajwa said the government will not keep the spectrum and will call on potential buyers for their requests.

He said the additional spectrum auction would pave the way for the 5G roadmap.

DG Licensing PTA said cellular licenses in AJ&K and GB were issued to Jazz, Telenor and Ufone in 2006.

The same were renewed in June 2021 at $ 13.5 million each (total $ 40.5 million). 3G / 4G standards were introduced through these licenses on a technology neutral basis.

CMPAK’s cellular license was issued in June 2007 and will be renewed next year, the managing director said, adding that additional spectrum has also been made available by the government for the first spectrum auction by the PTA. in AJ&K and in the UK to further meet the growing demand for data. services in the wake of tourism and mobile financial services activities.

He added that new quality of service (QoS) standards have been introduced for 3G / 4G, i.e. 3G – (1 Mbps) and 4G – (4 Mbps). New network deployment obligations to meet growing consumer demand, with proportionate distribution in urban and rural areas to reduce the digital divide.

Kamal Ahmed, Director of Corporate Affairs of Telenor Pakistan, said that a prosperous future cannot be conceived without providing high-tech connectivity to a company. There is no doubt that ICT will drive the country forward, Ahmed said, adding that Telenor Pakistan’s mission is to connect people to what matters most to them.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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