After the issuance of the policy directive, it will take the government between eight and ten months to complete the 5G launch process in the nation while adhering to PPRA regulations.
According to Amin Ul Haque the federal minister for information technology and telecommunications the government would make every effort to roll out 5G by the end of June 2023 at least in major cities.
However, senior government officials and business members describe it as nearly impossible. Some people believe that the launch of 5G would be challenging even by the end of December 2023 given the current economic climate, particularly in the telecom industry. Additionally, the country is anticipated to hold general elections in 2023 which might further delay the rollout of 5G.
On December 15 2021 the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) posted draught 5G policy guidelines on its website. Based on this the MoITT and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) met with all parties to determine whether the market was prepared for the introduction of 5G in Pakistan.
According to official sources after the consultations were finished the government received input from industry players who connected the rollout of 5G with a favorable market and incentives such as a decrease in GST and WHT.
Why would the government need up to ten months to start 5G?
The timelines listed are all ideal circumstances. The government would first inform all interested parties that 5G would be launched and would draught a policy directive.
The Federal Cabinet which will be presided over by the Prime Minister; will first endorse the policy followed by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC). The Frequency Allocation Board and PTA would get the approved policy (FAB). FAB would define the frequency bands and PTA would carry out the necessary procedure.
PTA would submit an RFP (Request for Proposal) for consulting services for the auction after receiving the Policy Directive for the 5G auction from MoITT. The process would take two weeks plus an extra week for advertising and processing through embassies in nations like the US and the UK. According to PPRA Rules, the process would take 30 days to complete whereas two months would be needed to get there.
Two weeks would be required following bid submission for technical examination before opening finance bids. If any entity or person objects an additional 10 days would be needed before the qualified consultant and I would execute a contract. The report’s completion and submission to the auction advisory committee would take the consultant at least two months.
After acceptance, it would be transmitted to ECC and then to the cabinet where benchmark prices and bands would receive approval. To get here it would take more than six months (from the start date).
Following this, the PTA would publish an information memo (IM) which according to the rules must be done in 45 days extending the timeline to nearly 8 months. After the auction, it would take 30 days to award and pay for the spectrum.
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