Pakistan 3G/4G auctions may be cancelled

Dylan Bushell-Embling
16 Apr 2014

Pakistan's long-awaited 3G and 4G auctions have drawn little interest, and is now expected to fall well behind the government's target of raising up to $5 billion.

Only four out of Pakistan's five mobile operators have applied to take part in the 3G auction, Reutersreported citing sources familiar with the bidding, and there has been no interest at all in a planned 4G auction.

No prospective new entrants have applied for either auction, despite regulator PTA's extensive efforts to drum up international interest.

With only four applicants applying for a combined 30 MHz of spectrum, the 3G auction is now expected to raise only $863 million. This is well below the government's projections of raising $2 billion from this auction alone, and $4 billion to $5 billion when accounting for LTE spectrum.

The report cites finance ministry officials as stating that the auction is looking at falling so far below target that the minister is ready to call off the whole auction process.

The base price of a 10-MHz block of 3G spectrum had been set at $291 million, while bids for LTE licenses were expected to start at $210 million.

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