STAFF REPORT IBD: Pakistan will auction the third generation (3G) telecom licences on March 29 this year with each licence to be base priced at $210 million and auctioned through bidding.

PTA Chairman Dr. Muhammad Yasin told the media that said that the amount bidders will have to deposit with initial expressions of interest would be $31.5 million and licence terms would be from eight to 15 years.

He expects to attract at least 10 to 15 potential investors for the initial bidding process. The existing telecom operators could start offering 3G services immediately after being awarded a licence, while in case of new operators, they will have to wait till March 2013 to commence 3G services in the country.

Analysts say that the base price is little higher than they had originally expected. Earlier estimates suggested that the base price for 3G licences would be $195 million, they said.

They opine that the winning bid wont go beyond $270 mark, though those existing telecom players who have plans to not to go with 3G will play their best to increase the bid value.

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