2021 The auction of Internet spectrum did not yield the desired results

Reformed mobile licensing, frequency sharing framework could not become a reality in 2021. Photo: Social Media

Islam Abad: 2021 has been a good year for the telecom sector, with the most significant event this year being the spectrum auction, which is expected to improve the speed and quality of the Internet.

Unfortunately, the auction of spectrum did not serve the purpose of improving the mobile internet nor did it provide the expected revenue for the government. The reason was the partial sale of spectrum instead of the whole, which earned the government 27 279 million instead of the expected 30 830 million.

Similar auctions in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir yielded better results. 62% of the spectrum offered there was auctioned and the government got 76% of the estimated revenue. Spectrum is unused in 5 more bands.

It is best to release this spectrum as soon as possible before technologies such as StarLink satellites make the spectrum useful. Consultations on a license-free spectrum and regulatory framework for the Internet of Things (IoT) were completed in August 2021, but were not implemented.

Globally, the IoT telecom sector is rapidly expanding. It has been instrumental in the development of many sectors including agriculture, livestock, forestry, water conservation and storage, supply chain, traffic and utilities management.

Due to non-issuance of license free spectrum for IoT, many sectors are deprived of required development. In addition, the reformed mobile licensing framework, frequency sharing, trading framework, etc. could not become a reality in 2021.

Pakistani telecom companies are expected to spend 3.5 billion on their networks over the next five years. With the support of the World Bank, the Ministry of Information Technology is working hard to develop a FiveG strategy.

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