Islamabad: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) conducted the bidding for the grant of frequencies of Wireless Local Loop (WLL) licenses for Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJ&K) and Northern Areas (NAs) here today. The issuance of WLL licenses would augment the efforts of government to provide enhanced and affordable telecom services to the people of the area. The bidding of WLL licenses in 3 Telecom Regions (TR) is likely to capture huge investment as well.
In his opening remarks, Chairman PTA, Dr. Mohammed Yaseen said that earlier their was only one operator in AJ&K and NAs but when competition was introduced and new operators started their service, all segments of the sector witnessed rapid growth. With a teledensity figure of 2.6% 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 33%. Mobile subscriber figure of just 5000 three years back has now jumped to 1.6 million subscribers.
He said that increased investment by the newly licensed operators have certainly contributed in laying the foundations for a modern and state of the art telecom network in the area. It also has positive impact on the standard of living of the people of AJ&K and NAs owing to increased economic activity and enhanced job opportunities. He said that PTA has already deposited around Rs. 1.2 billion to AJ&K and NAs, earned against the award of 5 cellular mobile licenses for these areas. It also collected around 170,000$ against the issuance of fixed line licenses as an initial amount. Thus the telecom deregulation in these areas has acted as a catalyst for the development of regionâ??s economy, he added.
The launching of Wireless Local Loop (WLL) service in the AJ&K and NAs would provide enhanced and cheap telecom services to the people and would fetch huge investment in the region. He termed completion of the spectrum of bidding as the culmination point in the deregulation of telecom sector of AJ&K and NAs.
The Chairman said that WLL was the wireless technology, which best suited to the environment in AJ&K and NAs as the service had proved very useful in other parts of the country. He said that the people of low income groups in the society and rural areas would greatly benefit from this service. He expressed his gratitude to the telecom operators and CEOs of telecom companies for taking keen interest in the bidding process and assured them that PTA would extend full cooperation to them in the successful launching of their business.
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 would be collected against the auction price of 5 WLL licenses in 3 regions.
Chairman PTA presided over the bidding while Syed Nasrul Karim A Ghaznavi, Member (Finance) was also present during the bidding. The bidding was witnessed by representatives of telecom industry investors, media men, telecom experts and professionals.
Khurram Ali Mehran
Deputy Director (PR)