August 06, 2016


Islamabad: (August 5, 2016): Apropos news item published in daily Dawn on August 5, 2016, titled "AGP to look into auction of 3G, 4G spectrums",  is wrong, fallacious and malfide. The story has been published without seeking any viewpoint of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) which is against the accepted norms of journalism. Rather it is a blatant malicious attempt to tarnish the image of most dynamic sector Regulator and Ministry. Furthermore, no proof what so ever has been personated in the report and completely false accusations have been levelled regarding the existence of some "recorded conversations", which have not been made available. This is absolutely false and fabricated and if there is any such thing the same should be brought on record.

Furthermore, PTA categorically puts on record that the audit officers of Directorate General of Audit, Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones (DGPT&T) had already conducted audit of spectrum auction held in April 2014 as part of PTA's comprehensive audit during 14th July 2014 to 5th September 2014. The audit officers examined all the record and were satisfied with the explanation given by PTA to all their queries. It may also be mentioned that the Auction process of 2014 was continuously reported to the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan. After 2014 audit, in 2015 another audit was conducted and no observations mentioned in the above mentioned report were ever raised or discussed.

The Auction of 2014 was conducted in the most transparent manner and details of the same have been presented on several fora and are still available on the official web site of PTA.  In fact when someone person even tried to file a court case in the Honorable Islamabad High Court it was swiftly dismissed. All the auction stages were completed in accordance with the provisions of the Information Memorandum (IM) and recommendations of the international consultants.  Hence no irregularities, financial loss or elimination of competition has occurred. The spectrum auction of 2014 was held in line with the PPRA and all other laws which also received world-wide recognition including a prestigious award from GSMA.  Moreover, the auction process was open and it was witnessed by many including Telco's, govt. departments and journalists.

It is strange that the audit of the recent auction on June 2016 has not been conducted yet and the above mentioned report is talking about reservations on the same!

The recent auction of one slot of 10 MHz in 850MHz was offered for auction after detailed study of market by international consultants. It may also be noted that the said spectrum was lying vacant for the past several years. The auction was held following all rules and procedures laid down in IM, Policy Directive of Ministry of IT &T, and an outcome document after consultations in Auction Advisory Committee and other relevant laws. This provided a multi-stage overseeing mechanism. As per the auction procedure, only one mobile company submitted a sealed bid for participation in the auction. It may also be added that the relevant record is available and will be provided whenever needed by the audit authorities during the course of their any future audit.

Finally, it is important to note that these two auctions have brought not only huge revenues to the government to the tune of billions of rupees but also, better business opportunities for telecom operators and more importantly fast mobile broadband services to the consumers. The number of mobile broadband connections has increased manifolds from 3 million before the 2014 auction to 33 million to date and growing. This is resulting in new companies being set up in Pakistan which are not only creating job opportunities but are also solving several problems faced by the people of Pakistan.