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Pakistan finally joins South Asia’s 3G club

PTA chairman Syed Ismail Shah was carefully optimistic about 3G and 4G spectrum auction in Mobile World Congress at Barcelona during February. Unlike the country’s political leaders, Mr. Shah lacks the luxury of being romantic about the financial windfall from this auction. The government has aspired for US$1.2 billion. Finally the exchequer could bag $1.1 billion instead.

After eight rounds of bidding, Zong and Russian-owned Mobilink each won 2 x 10 MHz in the 2.1 GHz band, paying $306.92 million and $300.9 million respectively. Norway’s Telenor and Ufone (a joint venture between the Pakistani government and UAE-based Etisalat) each gained 2 x 5 MHz in the band for the reserve price of $147.5 million. Zong also paid the reserve price for 2 x 10 MHz in the 1800 MHz band ($210 million).

“The prices achieved are on the low side compared to other auctions,” said Martin Sims, PolicyTracker’s managing director, who was involved in the most recent attempt to sell this spectrum. “If you avoid the bubble figures from the 2000 auctions the global average auction price for 2 GHz is about $0.39/MHz/pop, producing an expected income for Pakistan (whose population is 179.2 million) of around $4.17 billion. If you take only developing countries the average is about $0.25/MHz/pop, producing a potential income of about $2.68 billion.”

Policy Tracker reports.

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