IMT/5G Spectrum Auction Preparations Underway in Pakistan
IMT/5G Spectrum Auction Preparations Underway in Pakistan

IMT/5G spectrum auction preparations are underway, with the Advisory Committee, led by Caretaker Finance Minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, set to evaluate the availability of 282 MHz spectrum for auction this week. The committee, approved by the caretaker federal cabinet, aims to induce investment and enhance mobile broadband proliferation through telecom reforms.

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Scheduled to meet this week, the committee will assess spectrum availability in bands including 700 MHz, 2600 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2100 MHz. Despite sufficient spectrum for future auctions, Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) exhibit caution due to economic challenges and uncertainty surrounding 5G.

The government possesses spectrum in ITU-designated 5G bands (700, 2100, 2300, 2600, and 3300 MHz). The auction will be technology-neutral, allowing for 4G utilization in 2100, 2300, and 2600 MHz, with potential 5G rollout. Official documents outline available spectrum, including 30 MHz in the 2100 band (additional 15 MHz for auction), 5 MHz in the 2300 band (with 95 MHz available), and 54 MHz in the 2600 band (140 MHz in litigation). The 3300-3600 MHz band offers 115 MHz for 5G, with 185 MHz assigned.

The committee will review and approve IMT/5G Policy Guidelines for timely spectrum auction, alongside policy directives for recommended telecom reforms. A drafted “Framework for Frequency Spectrum re-farming” aims to dynamically manage spectrum for applications like 4G, 5G, broadband wireless access, and digital broadcasting.

The Telecom Policy 2015 allows spectrum re-farming where current use isn’t in Pakistan’s best interests, is underutilized, used inefficiently, or inconsistent with international allocations. Incumbent users will vacate spectrum assignments for allocation to other users based on this framework.

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