Pakistan will be holding long-waited auctions for 3G and 4G telecom licenses in April. According to a report by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), there are about 132 million mobile phone users in Pakistan, so there is a big market ahead to have an impact in a country of 180 million people. The auction for three 3G and two 4G licenses are set for April 7th, 2014.
The initial price for a 3G license from 2100 MHz is set at $295 million whereas the base price for a 4G license from 1800 MHz is set at $210 million for the duration of 15 years. In addition to this, there are certain terms and conditions for the bidders to be eligible for bidding. Some of which include: If a new operator wins the 3G and/or 4G license then it will be essential for it to buy a GSM license from 850 MHz for $291 million. Moreover, in order to win a bid of 4G license, the bidder must win at least one 3G license bid. According to a source, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had permitted the mobile operators to test 3G technology on experimental basis on February 12th, but it will be available in consumers’ hand after the completion of experimental period by the operators after the auction procedure concluded.
There will be two basic phases of license auction procedure which include the first phase of submitting sealed bids by the operators on or before March 25th, 2014 along with the 15% of the total value of the bid and second or final phase include SMRA (Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending) auction to determine the highest bidder of the 3G/4G spectrum. However, final phase of the license auction procedure will only happen once there will be more operators bidding than the available licenses for auctions.
So, what do you think about this 3G/4G auction in Pakistan? Will it be helpful in solving the economical crisis in Pakistan? Feel free to share your views and comments below.
PTA has published a comprehensive quarterly telecom review for Pakistan. The report, available at PTA website, is full of useful information, charts and numbers on various economic and business aspects of Pakistan telecom. For instance, the chart below (taken from the report) shows the revenue trend for Pakistan Telecom from 2007 to end of 2009.
The team which produced this deserves credit for producing a very informative and professional report. Here is a brief overview of the report content.
Page 1-12 Regulator Measures
Page 13-17 Telecom Economy
Page 18-24 Cellular Mobile Services
Page 25-34 Basic Services
Page 35-38 Broadband Services
Page 39-41 Telecoms in AJK and NA
Page 42-44 Complaint Cells
Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Muhammad Yaseen, has said that the mobile banking regulatory framework would be introduced soon to facilitate the untraditional banking in the country.
Speaking as chief guest at the inaugural session of the third international mobile conference, “MCB Mobile Commerce 2010″, which was organised jointly by PTA and TOTAL Communications here on Thursday in collaboration with State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) at a local hotel, he said PTA and SBP are jointly working to introduce a single framework for mobile banking sector in next quarter.
He pointed out that the global mobile money industry has shown a phenomenal growth in size and scope with several modes of credit transactions, which can be made through bank branches, call centres, ATMs etc. Expressing astonishment over the lowest cost of money transaction through mobile banking, he said that a single transaction through such a mode costs only $0.08.
He added that it provides convenience to the customers at a cheap transaction cost. According to World Bank, Pakistan was amongst the top 20 countries, which had received remittances of $6.1 billion in 2007, he said. Yaseen said that there is consensus that the mobile banking regulation should be introduced gradually.
He added that PTA also wants to protect consumers and retain their trust in the regulators system. Later talking to reporters, Chairman PTA said that the 668 initiative was successful as the authority received some 7,48,290 complaints.
The number of irregular SIMs was 1.4 million and 847,389 SIMs were regularised through the 668 inquiry service. PTA blocked 4,26,473 SIMs, while 1.02 million SIMs are yet to be regularised. He said that PTA plans to undertake another four phases of the 668 inquiry service to completely weed out the irregular SIMs from the cellular companies list. He added that PTA has cancelled no SIMs during the process.
About the revenue growth in the telecom sector, Yaseen said that it has been 15 percent, while investment remained $1.6 million in 2008-09. He said that this sector attracted about $815 million of foreign direct investment, which is 22percent of the total FDI that the country received.
He said that during the second phase of 668 inquiry service, PTA would change the status of SIMs issued for NIC in the past with CNIC to streamline the whole data. He said that with spread of a new cable, the broadband tariff would further decline, while use of wireless broadband has increased.
Deputy Governor SBP, Yaseen Anwar, while speaking on the occasion as guest of honour, urged the commercial banks to focus on improving access to finance and promote financial inclusion without compromising on the safety of the overall banking system.
He said that as a regulator, the State Bank would always facilitate the banking sector by providing various options to smoothly conduct its operation of financial intermediation. He said the SBP is also considering the non bank-led and Telco-led model of branchless banking. This would help in regulation, which extends beyond the direct supervisory role of the central bank. He said: “We may need to establish, as in some countries, a National Payments Council that will include other stakeholders to regulate this rapidly expanding business sector.”
SBP Deputy Governor said that the central bank has issued guidelines for branchless banking as part of a broader strategy to create an enabling regulatory environment with the objectives of promoting financial inclusion. Anwar said that branchless banking is a significantly cheaper alternative to conventional branch-based banking, as it allows banks to offer financial services outside traditional bank premises.
One inherent power of branchless banking is that it can be used to substantially increase the financial services outreach to the un-banked communities and in a broader perspective provides ways and means for promotion of financial inclusion in the country,” he added.
He pointed out that the transactional volume and value of e-payments during a single quarter of October- December 2009 reached 46.4 million and Rs 4.1 trillion, respectively. Anwar said that branchless banking is no exception and its associated risks should be carefully identified and addressed.
“Our guidelines address the agent related risks, wireless and technology risks, wireless network risks, user awareness risks, data & network security risks etc. We are confident our guidelines cover the ways and means to manage these risks,” he added.
He said the SBP believes in encouraging innovative products and services in the financial sector. Giving the welcome address, President MCB Bank, Atif Aslam Bajwa urged that the longstanding social needs should be addressed for paving way for branchless banking system and its growth.
He said that there should be an enabling regulatory framework. He observed that banks in Pakistan and in the developing world have failed to fulfil the social needs of the society, saying that only 15 percent people are connected to the banks in the country and one billion globally. He hoped that the mobile banking sector would grow.
Mobilink, the country’s market leader in cellular communications and part of the Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) registered an increase in subscriber base and revenues for Q4 2009 as compared to previous quarter of the same year.
Mobilink demonstrated positive trends in the fourth quarter of 2009 as the company’s revenues as per local currency showed an increase of 5.3% as compared to Q3, 2009. EBITDA for the same period rose by 16.2% and the EBITDA margin improved by 3.4%. ARPU for Q4 of 2009 as compared to the previous quarter was also up by 3.3%. The company’s net base increased approximately by 0.76 million subscribers in this period.
Mobilink’s subscriber base has reached 30.8 million as of December 2009. Earning PKR 86.8 billion for the full year 2009, Mobilink managed to stabilize revenues in local currency despite a tough year for the country in terms of the law and order situation, continued inflation and currency devaluation as well as slow GDP growth and electricity load shedding that remained major constraints. The company’s average revenue per user (ARPU) also remained stable during 2009 in rupee terms.
Commenting on the results, Rashid Khan, President and CEO, Mobilink, shared that the aggressive stance taken by the company in the wake of an overall stressful environment, backed byMobilink’s distinct advantages of coverage and quality, has paid off. We have retained market share, increased subscriber base and stabilized revenues in rupee terms, he said.
With 31.5% market share as of December 2009 (as reported by PTA) Mobilink continues to bePakistan’s favorite cellular family.
Developers, here’s your chance to EARN a million rupees. Nokia’s 2010 Calling All Innovators contest has a special prize for developers who submit locally relevant applications (in Urdu or English) and content for use on Nokia devices by consumers living in Pakistan. Pakistan is one of the 11 countries where Nokia is offering the award for local content/apps.