‘PTA hiring consultant for auction of 3G, 4G spectrum’
KARACHI: The 15th ITCN Asia 2015 International Exhibition & Conferences, a three-day exhibition started on Tuesday at the Expo Centre Karachi.
The event will continue till September 17. This year’s conference focus is on “Telecommunication and Information Security.”
“We are in the process of hiring a consultant for the next phase of auction of 3G/4G spectrum. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had already advertised the RFPs (request for proposals) for hiring a consultant company that could advise the regulator on auctioning of 3G/4G spectrum in the country; however, the process is in its final stages," Syed Ismail Shah, chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, said, while talking to The News at the inauguration of the 15th ITCN Asia on Tuesday.
He said: "We are working on how much spectrum to be auctioned, the existing operators might also be interested in acquiring more spectrum, and a new company can also come and tower sharing concept can be adopted."
"Telecom operators (telcos) are facing stiff competition, while 3G / 4G investments have increased the pressure on their profits manifold, thus, the telecom tower sharing and outsourcing has become a global trend, and we are also persuading the telecos to focus on infrastructure sharing," he said.
Shah said that as an industry representative there is a need to reduce tax burden on the fastest growing sector like telecom and ICT.
The internet is empowering people and anomalies in federal and provincial taxes could be a major hindrance in broadband penetration, he said. The imposition of taxes on data services is not good for the growth of the telecom sector, which could impede the penetration of mobile broadband.
Shah said that the PTA has approached the federal government and all the provinces to explain that the taxes on data services will not bode well for the entire telecom sector and for the consumers.
He said: "We are persuading the government of all the provinces to reduce mobile broadband taxes and also formulate a uniform tax regime, as at present, all the provinces have a different rate of tax."
The Ministry of Information Technology (MOIT) has finalised the draft of integrated ‘IT Policy’ and submitted it to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) for the approval; however, it was returned, as there were some reservations and once the concerns raised by the ECC are resolved it will be submitted again and soon will be approved, Shah said.
15th ITCN Asia 2015 Int’l Exhibition & Conferences was inaugurated by chief guests Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini HI (M) T Bt Commander Karachi, who briefed the media on security issues of Karachi.
Major General Sohail Ahmed, director general, Airport Security Force, said that security challenges in Pakistan is increasing; adding that the airports security has been beefed up since the June 8 incident.
The ASF official said that at the Lahore airport anti-grated security system has been installed and soon the same system will be adopted at the Karachi and Islamabad airports.
Guest of honour, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Chairman Syed Ismail briefed on the theme “Telecom Summit: Delivering on the broadband promise.”
The PTA chairman said: "Within a year of launching next generation technologies, Pakistan has achieved over 13.02 million subscribers of 3G and 4G. There has been a growth rate of 592.86 percent in mobile broadband penetration in Pakistan, which amounts to seven percent of the total market, reflecting 74 percent SIM penetration across the country."
Shah agreed that there are some issues in quality service, in general, which needs to be addressed by the telcos, adding that the telecos ARPU’s are lower to achieve cost efficiency in the operations, and offer improved services, particularly for broadband, telcos have no choice but to start outsourcing infrastructure.
Dr Khursheed Nizam, president of the Ecommerce Gateway Pakistan, and foreign delegates were also present on the occasion.
Pakistan Software Export Board hosted 15 top IT companies of Pakistan. More than 120 companies, 250 brands, displayed their products on various themes at the exhibition, including Enterprise Solutions, - Telecom / Broadband Solutions and Security Asia & Broadcast Pakistan.
A series of high profile conferences will focus on Telecommunication and Information Security; that will bring together leading professionals to share their knowledge and experiences.