Gilgit - Baltistan

WLL licences for AJK, N.As auctioned for Rs26m

ISLAMABAD, Nov 28: Laying foundations for a modern and state of the art telecom network, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on Friday auctioned Wireless Local Loop (WLL) licences for Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Northern Areasn for Rs26 million.The issuance of WLL licences would augment the government efforts aimed at providing enhanced and affordable telecom services to the people of the areas.

The bidding of WLL licences in three telecom regions (TR) was expected to capture massive investment as well.

In the bidding of spectrum in the 3.5GHz category for Mirpur or TR-1, a block was taken by PTCL at the highest bid of Rs10 million while the other was withdrawn because there was no second bidder for the TR-1.

For Muzaffarabad (TR-2), PTCL offered the highest bid of Rs4 million. Wateen followed by matching the price. For Northern Areas or TR-3, Wateen offered highest bid of Rs4 million while the second block went to PTCL for the same price.

In total Rs26 million would be collected against the auction price of 5 WLL licences in three regions.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman PTA, Mohammed Yaseen said that earlier there was only one operator in AJ&K and NAs but when competition was introduced and new operators started their service, all segments of the sector witnessed rapid growth.

With a teledensity of 2.6 per cent in the year 2005-06, the region was lagging behind rest of the country in terms of telecommunication services.

“Two years after the deregulation in the area, the teledensity of AJ&K and NAs today stands at 33 per cent,” he said.

Mobile subscriber figure, just 5,000 three years back, had now jumped to 1.6 million, the chairman informed the audience at the bidding.

It also had positive impact on the standard of living of the people of AJ&K and NAs owing to increased economic activity and enhanced job opportunities.

He said that the PTA had already deposited around Rs1.2 billion to AJ&K and NAs, earned against the award of 5 cellular mobile licences for these areas.

It also collected around $170, 000 against the issuance of fixed line licenses as an initial amount. Thus the telecom deregulation in these areas had acted as a catalyst for the development of the region’s economy, he added.

“The launching of Wireless Local Loop (WLL) service in the AJ&K and NAs will provide enhanced and cheap telecom services to the people as well as fetch huge investment in the region,” Dr Yaseen said terming completion of the spectrum of bidding as the culmination point in deregulation of telecom sector of AJ&K and NAs.

The Chairman said that WLL was a wireless technology, which best suited the environment in AJ&K and NAs. The service had proved useful in other parts of the country.

He said that people of low income groups in the society and rural areas would benefit from this service.

Chairman PTA presided over the bidding while Syed Nasrul Karim A Ghaznavi, Member Finance was also present during the bidding.

The bidding was witnessed by representatives of telecom industry investors, media men, telecom experts and professionals. Dawn

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