PTA on Wednesday said it selected an international consultant to auction the remaining spectrum of 3G and 4G services in the country.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Wednesday said it selected an international consultant to auction the remaining spectrum of 3G and 4G services in the country that is estimated to raise Rs27 billion.

PTA completed evaluation process for the selection of the international consultant for spectrum auction of 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands as per directions of ministry of information technology and telecommunication.

After detailed evaluation of financial bids, in the presence of five technically qualified bidders – three were physically present while two joined the meeting via video link – Frontier Economics Limited has been declared successful.

PTA evaluated the proposals and finalised the consultant in accordance with PPRA rules. After the completion of further formalities, the successful consultant is expected to formally sign a contract.

The budget documents for 2020/21 showed that the government envisaged to raise Rs27 billion through auctioning of 3G/4G spectrum during the current fiscal year.

Sources said the process of 5G services has not yet kick-started and it might take a couple of years because it requires a lot of spade work to transform the whole infrastructure of cellular mobile companies. The spectrum of 1800 MHz is used for 4G services so this remaining spectrum will be used for improving 4G services in Pakistan.

All existing telecom players that will make efforts to win this upcoming spectrum auction are going to bring desired improvement in quality of 3G/4G services in the country. The improvement of 4G services is required immensely for providing data services in the country.

The advertisement for hiring of consultant/consultancy firm was published in national and international newspapers on September 30 and also published on PTA and Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) websites. In response to the advertisement, PTA received 12 bids from consultants/consultancy firms till the deadline – November 17.

The mobile data traffic in Pakistan increased over 400 percent to 1.75 gigabytes per user per month in 2018 from 0.34Gb/user/month in 2016. 5G tests and trials have already been started in Pakistan and the government identified 2600, 3500 MHz and millimeter wave bands for the trial purpose, according to the PTA. Mobile services continued to lead the sector by providing reliable and affordable connectivity. Mobile sector showed a steady growth in subscribers on its networks and increased subscriber base to 163.5 million at the end of FY 2019, showing a year-on-year growth of 7 percent.

Originally Published at The News