The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced it had raised $903 million from the auction of 3G spectrum and another $210 million from the sale of a 4G licence.
News agencies report that the four winners of 3G spectrum – all of which run mobile networks in Pakistan – are Russian-owned Mobilink, China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak), Norway’s Telenor, and Ufone (a company jointly owned by the Pakistan government and the United Arab Emirates’ Etisalat).
CMPak, wholly-owned by China Mobile, secured 4G spectrum in the 1.8GHz frequency band.
Warid Telecom, Pakistan’s smallest mobile network operator, didn’t take part in the auction process.
Successful bidders, reports Bloomberg, can either pay 100 per cent upfront or 50 per cent of the winning bid amount within 30 days. The remaining 50 per cent then carries a mark-up rate of Libor (plus 3 per cent) due to be paid in equal annual instalments over the next five years.
Licenses issued expire in 15 years’ time.
PTA chief, Ismail Shah, quoted by Bloomberg, said “the new technology will benefit Pakistan’s industries and businessmen and will create thousands of jobs”.
The 3G/4G auction in Pakistan has not been without some controversy. The regulator took umbrage at “assertions” made in an earlier report by Reuters entitled ‘Pakistan’s long awaited 3G, 4G auction draws disappointing bids’. A PTA spokesperson described the report as “incorrect and baseless”.
The regulator said it was considering taking legal action against the news agency.