Pakistan to go 3G in March, 2012
Pakistan’s largest cellular service provider, Mobilink has shown interest to bid for the 3g telecommunications services. Rashid Khan, the president of Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited also known as Mobilink briefed the media that the firm is considering
to bid for the license.
He briefed, the firm “is evaluating the information memorandum of 3G spectrum and has decided to participate in the bidding”.
The telecom sector supervisory body has allowed a maximum number of three licenses for 3G services and as per the agreement, a firm cannot bid for more than two spectrums. Rashid Khan however has not mentioned if the company would opt for one or two spectrums.
He also mentioned that despite the global recession there is still a huge potential for cellular business in Pakistan. Mobilink is the market leader in Pakistan cellular industry and has captured one-third of the total market.
Mobilink along with Ufone, another leading mobile company operating in Pakistan have already bought the equipments from Huawei to upgrade their hardware to 3G. It is expected that the Government will generate almost Rs.75 billion ($833) through the auction
scheduled in March, 2012.
The bid will start at the base price of $210 and Khan believes that the price is quite reasonable and mentioned that not all the five telecom providers will go for the bid.
However, with the starting price even lower than the $290 million for the 2G license there are no reasons why Telenor, Warid and Zong should not opt for the 3G option. The bid winners will enjoy the license for a maximum period of 15 years.
PTA (Pakistan Telecommunications Authority) has asked the interested parties to submit the upfront initial license fee with in sixty days. The pre-bid meeting is scheduled on second March as the exact date for the auction is March 29th.
Khan also calls for a review on taxation for calls as currently Pakistan has the lowest calls tariffs in South Asia. Subscribers currently pay 19.5% sales tax with 10% withholding tax on the calls which makes it a total of almost 30%.