Pakistan fails to hit budget target in spectrum auction

Pakistan has auctioned off 3G and 4G licences, raising $903 million for the 3G licences, and $210 million for 4G spectrum, despite missing out on the country’s budget target.

The government was hoping to raise $2 billion from the 3G auction, which was announced in February, but the amount raised was only half what the government was expecting as it failed to generate a good response for the auction.

The four winners of the 3G licences were China Mobile (Zong), Russia’s Mobilink, Norway’s Telenor, and UFone, which is jointly owned by the Pakistan government and Etisalat. Pakistan’s fifth operator Warid Telecom Pakistan did not make any bids.

Zong was the only successful bidder for 4G spectrum and one block of 4G spectrum remains unsold.

The licences are valid for 15 years and the winning companies have to pay half the fee straight away, while the remainder can be paid over the next five years.

Pakistan is one of the largest countries in the region not to offer 3G services, and is even lagging behind Afghanistan, which switched to 3G in 2012.

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