ISLAMABAD Apr 15 (Reuters) – A gloomy response in this
week’s auction for next-generation cellphone spectrum licences
means cash-strapped Pakistan will onslaught to account a budget
this year, financial and IT method officials and telecom
industry executives told Reuters.
Pakistan is set to reason long-awaited auctions for 3G and 4G
network licences on Apr 23, a step a supervision projects
will lift $2 billion to boost a country’s unfamiliar reserves.
But officials contend there has been meagre seductiveness in Monday’s
bidding routine and guess Pakistan will lift no some-more than
“The financial apportion (Ishaq Dar) is really angry, so most so
that he wants to call off a auction if we are so
embarrassingly off target,” pronounced an central on his team, who
declined to be identified as he is not certified to speak
officially on a matter.
“This has happened since of an over eager IT
ministry that oversold an undercooked devise to a fiscal
managers. It looks like heads might hurl on this one.”
Pakistan is a usually vital nation in a segment that still
does not offer 3G services. Its neighbour, war-ravaged
Afghanistan, switched to 3G services in 2012.
There are about 132 million mobile phones in use in
Pakistan, a nation of 180 million people, according to the
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
Pakistan’s telecommunications marketplace was deregulated in 2004
and unfamiliar firms such as Etisalat have invested
heavily in new years.
The financial method pronounced in Feb that Pakistan would
sell both a 3G and a some-more modernized 4G LTE spectrum. Selling
just 3G licences could lift $2 billion, and bundling them with
4G spectrum could beget between $4 billion and $5 billion,
finance apportion Ishaq Dar had estimated.
The 3G spectrum auction was approaching to lift Pakistan’s
gross domestic product by $8 billion and indirectly emanate adult to
900,000 new jobs, a government-commissioned investigate by Plum
But when behest sealed during 4 pm on Monday, usually 4 out of
five mobile mobile companies handling in Pakistan had
submitted bids and no new companies showed interest, sources
privy to a behest told Reuters.
Telecom companies Mobilink and Zong bid for 10 MHz. Telenor
and Ufone both bid for 5 MHz.
Warid Telecom Pakistan, owned by a privately-held
conglomerate Abu Dhabi Group, did not contention a bid, pronounced a
source in a company. Neither did Turkcell and Saudi Telecom
Company, dual unfamiliar companies who had progressing shown interest.
“There are 4 accessible 3G blocks in 1800 MHz: dual 10 MHz
and dual 5 MHz. The bottom cost for 10 MHz retard is $291 Million
and 5 MHz is $146 million,” pronounced a financial method official
present during Monday’s bidding.
“The auction is so approaching to go for $863 million,
nowhere tighten to $2 billion.”
Bids for 4G LTE licences were to start during $210 million. No
operator has shown any interest.
“It looks like 4G won’t fetch any money,” a finance
ministry source said. “The unsatisfactory bids are deepening the
budget hole by roughly $1.7 billion and are such a large strike the
finance apportion is prepared to postpone a whole auction
Spokesmen in a financial ministry, a IT method and
telecom companies holding partial in a bid pronounced they were not
authorised to strictly critique on a issue.
The unsatisfactory response will raise serve vigour on
embattled Information Technology Minister Anusha Rahman, who is
overseeing a auction.
She drew critique final month after appointing her husband
to a Board of Directors during Ufone, one of a companies bidding
for licences and partly owned by a government. He later
(Editing by Katharine Houreld and Jacqueline Wong)