The 3G (Third Generation) spectrums have been decided to be auctioned in the next three to four months and subsequently its policy framework would be finalized by the ministry, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Dr Muhammad Yaseen said.

Talking in the seminar “Demand for 3G and beyond” on Monday, he brushed aside an impression that cellular operators are not willing to enter 3G technology and said there are certain operators supporting the regulator to introduce advancement in the market.

He said cellular operators have expressed apprehensions on the launch of 3G technology, which we are trying to clarify regarding the concerns of revenues and demands in the local market.

PTA chief  citing India as an example of 3G market with limited users and revenues added that “We have explained operators the regional markets’ trends and significance of generating revenues in limited demanding market.”

“We (PTA) will offer cellular operators spectrum as they are already license holders of the regulator but they are not bound to launch 3G or 4G because we will give them a choice, so its up to them,” he said. He said the localization of value-added service contents needs to be developed rapidly in accordance with domestic market requirements that will not only promote business at domestic level but will also incite demand of its application through 3G technology on mobile phone.

“Zong has earlier offered a business deal to share 60 percent revenues with content developers and designers of mobile phone and Mobilink has now come up with an offer of 70 percent earning share to them that sounds encouraging to IT programmers in the industry,” Dr Yaseen added.

The seminar was organized by PTA in collaboration with HUAWEI, the network infrastructure maker. CEOs of telecom operators and IT firms, experts and students attended presentations of different technical sessions. Speaking as the chief guest, secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Naguibullah Malik said most of the work has been done in the formation of a comprehensive policy on 3G; however, certain administrative procedures have yet to be taken to conclude the policy phase.

He said he respected the views of all stakeholders of the industry on the launch of 3G technology but the government is always smart to address the national interest of the country, which is supreme to all of us.

A great deal of the ministry’s homework has completed and it is now the responsibility of private sector to render its support to build up the telecom industry towards advancement. Malik said industry stands on a triangle based on policy and regulatory regimes with business models therefore, sound collaborative efforts need to be taken on each part and all stakeholders must be on board for a particular task.

“It is the right time for industry to go for 3G but it could not be done hastily, it takes time and a series of seminars being held in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi is the part of its awareness campaign among all stakeholders of the telecom industry,” he said and added that “terming 3G made delayed is not appropriate because there was not substantial preparedness for it in the past”. Pointing out to the students’ fraternity in the seminar, he said Pakistan is heading towards 3G to be very fair, to be competent and to be judicious.

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