Islamabad: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has awarded Wireless Local Loop (WLL) licenses to M/s PTCL and M/s Wateen for three regions of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ & K) and Northern Areas (NAs) during a license signing ceremony held at PTA Headquarters today.
The ceremony was presided over by Chairman PTA, Dr. Mohammed Yaseen while Member (Finance), Syed Nasrul Karim Ghaznavi, Member (Technical) Dr. Khawar Siddique Khokhar, senior officers of the Authority and representatives of PTCL and Wateen were also present on this occasion.
The issuance of WLL licenses would augment the efforts of government to provide enhanced and affordable telecom services to the people of the AJ & K and NAs. This step is likely to capture huge investment in 3 Telecom Regions (TR) including Mirpur, Muzaffarabad and Northern Areas.
While speaking on this occasion, Chairman PTA said that earlier there was only one telecom operator in AJ&K and NAs but when competition was introduced and new operators started their services, all segments of the sector witnessed rapid growth. With a teledensity figure of 3.59% in the Year 2005-06, the region was lagging far behind from the rest of the country in terms of telecommunication services. Two years after the deregulation in the area, the teledensity of AJ&K and NAs today stands at 37.46%. Mobile subscribers figure of 0.167 Million of 2005-06 has now jumped to 1.84 Million subscribers.
The Chairman said that WLL is a wireless technology, which best suits to the environments in AJ&K and NAs as the service had proved very useful in other far-flung areas of the country. He said that the people of low income groups in rural areas would greatly benefit from this service. He said PTA would extend full cooperation to the telecom operators in the successful operation of their business.
These licenses were awarded on the basis of a bidding conducted by PTA in November last year. In the bidding of spectrum in 3.5 GHz for Mirpur (TR-1) one block was taken by PTCL at the highest bid of Rs.10 million while other was withdrawn because there was no second bidder for the TR-1. For Muzaffarabad (TR-2) PTCL gave the highest bid of Rs. 4 million followed by Wateen which matched the price. For Northern Areas (TR-3) Wateen offered highest bid of Rs. 4 million and second block went to PTCL for the same price. In total 26 million rupees were collected against the auction price of 5 WLL licenses in 3 regions.
Khurram A. Mehran
Director (Public Relations)