Pakistan’s telecoms regulator set a reserve price of $295 million for 10MHz of paired 1.8GHz spectrum scheduled to be sold before 30 June.
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) plans to hold an auction of unsold 3G/4G spectrum before the end of its fiscal year, the Daily Times reported. The auction of the single block, which will have a 15-year assignment and be technology neutral, is open to existing mobile operators as well as new players.
An auction in 2014 of 850MHz, 1.8GHz, and 1.9GHz to 2.1GHz spectrum left two blocks unsold in the 850MHz and 1.8GHz bands.
Telenor, the country’s second largest operator, acquired the 850MHz spectrum in June 2016 for the base price of $395 million, with the operator making the only bid for the 4G spectrum. Three of the country’s four largest operators — Mobilink, Ufone and China Mobile’s Zong — opted not to participate in the auction.
The government’s push to hold the auction last year came despite a report from a consultant, hired by the telecoms regulator, which concluded the market was not ready for another auction.
Pakistan’s 3G/4G user base increased 27 per cent to 37.6 million in the six months to end-2016, with 4G subscribers nearly tripling to 2.9 million. Mobile broadband penetration (3G/4G adoption) rose to 27.5 per cent from 22 per cent at the end of H1 2016, according to a report from the PTA.