Pakistan completes 3G, 4G spectrum auctions and mobilizes $1.1 billion

Pakistan raised $903 million in its first auction for 3G networks, as well as $210 million for 4G spectrum. Mobilink, Zong, Telenor and Ufone bagged 3G license, while Zong got 4G.

3G spectrum in Pakistan was bagged by Russian-owned Mobilink, Chinese-controlled Zong, Norway’s Telenor, and Ufone, owned by the Pakistan government and the United Arab Emirates’ Etisalat.

4G spectrum in Pakistan was bagged by Zong.

Only Zong managed to secure licenses for both 3G and 4G spectrums.

Warid Telecom Pakistan did not make any bids.

Pakistan 3G auction

The base price for a 3G license was $295 million and $210 million for 4G license. The license will be valid for 15 years.

Mobile phone companies can bid for one 10MHz bandwidth license or the entire spectrum, comprising three 10MHz licenses (a total bandwidth of 30MHz).

While the PTA managed to sell all three bands of the 3G spectrum on offer, it could only sell one 4G license after Ufone – the only other bidder for the spectrum – was disqualified on technical grounds, Express Tribune reported.

The $1.112 billion that the country has earned from the sale is just $17 million or 1.6 percent higher than the reserve price of $1.095 billion for these licenses. The $210 million on account of the unsold 4G license is excluded from calculations.

While Mobilink – the largest telecom player in the country with 29 percent market share – also won a license in the 10MHz band, it opted against bidding for a 4G license.

The final 10MHz band was divided into two 5MHz slots, one of which was won by both Telenor and Ufone each.

Mobilink paid $300.9 million for a 3G license in 10MHz, making it the second highest bidder.

Ahmed Abou Doma, CEO of Global Telecom, said: “The awarding of the 3G spectrum license paves the way to launch 3G services in Pakistan during 2014 and solidifies both our commitments to the Pakistani market as well as our commitment to maintain Mobilink’s market leadership position.”

Telenor and Ufone, however, got 3G licenses at base price. Ufone, by choosing to bid for 15MHz, had forced PTA to break one 10MHz band into two.

Meanwhile, the PTA chairman said the decision to sell the last 4G license will be taken soon.


Pix: AFP

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