ISLAMABAD - The government on Friday decided that auction of 850MHz frequency spectrum should precede the auction of 1800 MHz.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar chaired a high level meeting on matters relating to telecom sector with particular focus on frequency spectrum demand here Friday. Minister of State for IT,Anusha Rehman Khan briefed the meeting on the spectrum demand scenario and the progress with regard to holding of spectrum auction.

The meeting reviewed the spectrum demand scenario while considering the market assessment report of PTA prepared by international consultant and the evolving data growth due to mobile broadband uptake. In view of reports presented and discussions on Ministry of IT and PTA’s recent engagement with the industry, it was proposed that auction of 850 MHz frequency may precede the auction of 1800 MHz. The finance minister agreed to the proposal and directed that the process may be expedited with complete transparency.

It is worth mentioning here that government in budget 2015-2016 projected to generate Rs65 billion from the auction of 3G/4G spectrum during ongoing financial year. The government is having licence in the 1800 MHz band and one license reserved for new entrants.

Earlier, the government in 2014 had raised over $1.1 billion in the auction of 3G and 4G licenses. Zong was the highest bidder in the 3G auction, claiming a 10 MHz 3G band license, qualifying for the 4G license. Mobilink bagged the other 10 MHz 3G license on the auction block. It did not bid for the 4G license. Ufone, got 5 Mhz band of 3G. Telenor Pakistan won a 5 MHz 3G license.

It was also agreed during the meeting that an appropriate amount of spectrum needs to be made available to the industry to enhance the ever evolving requirement of international quality data services for Pakistani consumers. In this regard, all stakeholders including MoIT, PTA and FAB will work together to quickly conclude further procedural measures for making requisite spectrum available through the auction process.

Minister for Law & Justice Zahid Hamid, Attorney General for Pakistan Ashter Ausaf, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law Barrister Zafarullah, members of Spectrum Advisory Committee, and senior officials of Ministry of IT, Ministry of Finance, PTA and FAB also participated in the meeting.