ISLAMABAD - In a bid to generate more revenues by selling off remaining frequencies, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is all set to sell licences for 1,800 Megahertz (MHz) band and 850 MHz.

These frequencies remained unsold in the April 2014 spectrum auction of next generation mobile services.

According to sources as a first step towards auction of remaining frequencies PTA is in process of hiring a consultant, who will conduct a comprehensive market evaluation of the market and would suggest market trends, and what should be the price and how and when the auction should be conducted.

During the last spectrum auction on April 23, 2014, the regulator had put on sale 30MHz of spectrum in 3G [2,100MHz] band and 20MHz of spectrum in 4G [1,800MHz] band. The base prices for 3G and 4G licences were $295 million per 10MHz and $210 million per 10MHz, respectively.

But despite all ambitious government moves, it failed to attract investors. According to sources the market pulse was that the auction price set by government was too high and despite the fact that additional spectrum would enhance performance of mobile operators, companies showed no interest in buying these frequencies.

Insiders believe investors showed lack of interest due to high prices, projected low rate of return and having no interest in improving their services, at high cost. There is no check on mobile operators, no matter how much poor service they provide to customers; distortion, line dropping and poor signals are common by almost all the mobile operators, but there is nobody to check them, so why would they spend huge money on just making their services better, as in prevailing market, most of the operators believe the rate of return on investment on new frequencies would be slow, sources said.

Some insiders said that in absence of any check by the quality provided by mobile operators, the spectrum purchased in the last year’s auction is enough to cater to the needs of the market for the next few years.

When government failed to sell the spectrum recently, why it would be popular now, the sources believe government is eyeing some new players.

There are some rumours that some new European companies are interested in Pakistani market, may be government is eyeing them as among prevailing players, hardly anyone would be interested, sources revealed.