Pakistan News

Telecom spectrum sale yields $324.5m

Telecom spectrum sale yields $324.5m

ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday earned an additional $324.5 million (Rs34 billion) from the sale of another spectrum to a cellular company.

Mobilink was the only cellular mobile company that showed interest and submitted its bid on the last day of the auction on Wednesday.

Earlier, Pakistan Telecomm­unication Authority (PTA) called for bids from operators as part of the spectrum auction for next generation mobile services (NGMS) through national and international media.

This was the third NGMS auction held so far since 2014. The government has raised $1.98bn through these spectrum auctions.

Mobilink has purchased the 10 MHz paired slot in 1,800 MHz. The mobile-phone carrier had the option to either pay $295m plus 10 per cent tax (equivalent to $29.5m) up front on the auction winning price to the Federal Board of Revenue, or make half the payment up front and pay the remainder in five equal annual instalments at an interest rate of 3pc each year.

PTA said it completed the procedure in an open and transparent manner and in line with the policy directive of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, information memorandum for auction and rules of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority.

The authority will now evaluate the bid according to the memorandum. The bid will be declared successful if it meets all the required conditions.

Despite little interest from cellular companies, the auction brought in one of the largest foreign exchange investments compared to any other sector, a PTA official said. “The price of the spectrum was set by the auction advisory body on the higher side. This price is $85m more than the asking price for the same spectrum in 2014,” the official said.

An official at China Mobile’s Zong said the company didn’t need additional bandwidth. Officials of Ufone and Telenor were not available for comment.

However, the PTA official maintained that the cellular mobile industry was the most-taxed sector, which might be one reason why telecoms stayed away from the latest auction.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2017

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