M/s Telenor Pakistan, a Norwegian telephone operator, on Wednesday submitted its bid of $395 million to get spectrum license for Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) in Pakistan, while the other mobile operators including Mobilink, Ufone and Zong said they will not participate in this bidding process.
According to a Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), it has received only one bid from the Telenor Pakistan before the deadline of 1600 hrs on June 1. The process has been carried out in light of the procedure, requirements and criteria laid down in the Information Memorandum (IM).
The market experts, however, said the Telenor bid of $395 million will be accepted as the government needs money to reduce its budgetary deficit before July 1. The government has to complete the 850-MHz spectrum auction before the end of this fiscal year, they said.
The PTA confirmed that market leader Mobilink, Pakistan Telecommunications Company Ltd’s (PTCL’s) mobile arm Ufone, and China Mobile’s Zong will not take part in the auction.
Recently, the Mobilink purchased Warid telecom; Zong had already purchased 4G license while the financial condition of Ufone’s is not so good.
The regulator will sell off 10 MHz of spectrum in the 850 MHz band – spectrum that was left unsold at an auction in 2014 – at a base price of $395 million.
As the sole bidder, Telenor is, therefore, likely to pick up the airwaves at the reserve price or at a lower rate to compensate for possible interference issues.
A PTA official said that, in accordance with the timeliness of the auction process, an information session with the prospective bidders including Mobilink, Telenor, World Call & Multinet, was held on May 23. The Authority completed this process in an open and transparent manner, in line with the policy directive of the Ministry of IT and Telecom and rules of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority, the PTA official said.