Ishaq Dar has reiterated the government’s commitment to follow through on auctioning 3G and 4G licenses to telecommunication companies, but has delayed it by another month. We hear the auctions will be held in April this year, and he seems optimistic that the government might finally be able to do something it promised to do a year ago.

The reasons for the delay are unclear since the auction will take away the burden of investing in technology for the government and will shift it to companies that buy the licenses.

Dar’s optimism would be shared by the rest of the country if this saga did not extend over a period of 4 years, including the previous PPP government’s last 3 years in power (in which they included the potential revenue of these sales in every budget). This government has done the same, which means that ideally it should make this happen before next year’s financial budget is announced in June.

The incentive of earning $1.5 billion from the auction alone should be enough for the government, but including this figure into the budget is of no use until the licenses are sold.

3G and 4G stand to benefit the country in more ways than one. The requisite infrastructure once constructed stands to improve the communication system of the entire country. Issues of connectivity in remote areas will also be worked on. The majority of Pakistan’s 20 million internet users rely on mobile devices to use the internet. The amount of users also stands to increase if the quality of the services is improved.

E-commerce, an infant industry in Pakistan, stands to benefit immensely with the coming of 3G. So why the wait? The PML-N party cadres consider themselves specialists in the economic sector; how about they prove the claim by heralding in a new era of technology based growth.