The country’s four largest mobile operators – Mobilink, Telenor, China Mobile and PTCL – have signed up for Pakistan’s forthcoming auction of 3G and 4G spectrum, according to the country’s regulator. The auction is set to start next week (23 April).

But for-sale Warid Telecom – the country’s fifth player – has not put itself forward for the country’s Next Generation Mobile Services contest, said Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

The deadline for bids was 14 April and PTA will now evaluate and announce qualified bidders on 17 April for the auction of 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz frequencies.

Warid was put up for sale by owner Abu Dhabi Group last year for a price of around $1 billion.

Etisalat-controlled PTCL was in the running to acquire Warid but dropped out last month after failing to agree on price.

On offer is 2×30 MHz of paired spectrum in the 2100MHz band and 2×20 MHz of paired spectrum in the 1800MHz band.

In addition, 2×7.38 MHz of paired spectrum was originally on offer in the 850MHz band offered for new entrants but this is no longer available given the absence of outside interest.

The 1800MHz frequencies are included to encourage the early introduction of 4G services in the country, said the regulator.