Pakistan dates 3G auction for March 29

Dylan Bushell-Embling
18 Jan 2012
Daily News

Pakistan has set a firm date of March 29 to hold its debut 3G auction, and has set the base price at $210 million.

The chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, Mohammed Yaseen, toldReuters the regulator expects 10-15 bidders to take part in the auction.

The PTA is expected to allocate three 10-MHz blocks of 3G spectrum to the auction.

Both existing and prospective new players into Pakistan's telecom market are expected to take part. But due to the legal moratorium on new telecom operations, any new entrant will have to wait until March 2013 to begin offering services.

Pakistan's five existing mobile operators would by contrast be allowed to start offering 3G services immediately following a win, a head start that could make the auction a less attractive proposition to international operators eyeing the market.

Bidders will have to deposit $31.5 million as an expression of interest, according to Yaseen.

The auction date is broadly in line with the IT ministry's directive from December instructing the PTA to hold the auction within three months of the issue date.

A month earlier, the prime minister effectively paved the way for foreign participation in the process, by giving in-principle approval to the auction terms.

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