ISLAMABAD  -  Telecom sector has welcomed Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s initiative for spectrum sharing under the new IT policy. 

All the telecom companies (telcos) are carefully making their proposals in this regard as the PTA has asked all stakeholders to provide their inputs and comments by December 5, 2016. 

According to top officials in telecom sector, industry was demanding legislation for spectrum sharing. “We asked government during consultation on IT policy that there must be provision that if some company has additional spectrum then it could be sold to someone who requires it,” official said. 

According to PTA, spectrum sharing means that if some company has excess spectrum, which it is not using and another company has demand for more spectrum then they both could trade it among themselves. However, the trading would be between existing operators. 

Spectrum trading occurs through the outright sale of the rights and obligations or term lease, subject to license conditions and approval by PTA or PEMRA under intimation to official said factors like spectrum capping shall be considered while developing such framework. 

The seller will pay a trading fee. A processing fee and any other applicable fee will be levied to cover re-issuing of licenses. The decision to trade is a commercial decision for the license holder. The terms of the trade will be a commercial agreement between licensees. 

Spectrum will be traded only if the relevant license that contains the spectrum assignment to be traded, permits trading. Spectrum assigned to a licensee without such a permit will not be traded unless federal government (MoIT) specifically authorizes the trade as being in the public interest. Only that spectrum that has been acquired through a pricing arrangement that represents its market value would be allowed to be traded. 

According to the policy, spectrum may be traded between holders of the same license type only. For example, spectrum trading may take place between LL licensees or mobile licensees but not between an LL licensee and a mobile licensee to maintain the basic value of the different categories of spectrum. 

Spectrum will not be traded by any licensee with the necessary license conditions until the licensee has fulfilled its payment and roll out obligations unless it also transfers its roll out obligations with the trade and same is verified and authorized by PTA. 

The eligibility for receiving spectrum through a trade will be the same as the eligibility for assignment of spectrum by FAB. The acquirer of spectrum will be required to obtain (or already hold) the appropriate telecommunications license and to meet the terms of that license. 

The framework for spectrum trading will take into account the effects of such trading on competition, national security, public health and safety, compliance with the national laws and policies and compliance with international obligations and international relations. 

Swapping of spectrum will be considered as a two-way spectrum trade subject to approval by PTA and FAB.