Govt to auction 5G licences next year, says Fawad

Staff Reporter – Islamabad:

The government has decided to auction 5G licences next year and also reduce Customs duty on the parts of heavy commercial vehicles to bring their prices down, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry elaborated the decisions of the Cabinet meeting held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Fawad Chaudhry probably avoid the media persons because of the unpleasant incident happened in the Parliament on Monday when the journalists were deprived from entering the Press Gallery because it was locked before the speech of President Arif Alvi to the joint session of the Parliament.

The minister said only one telecom company, Ufone, a subsidiary of the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), participated in the bidding process of spectrum and that is why the government has decided to auction 5G licences next year to attract more telecom companies.

In 2018, only Telenor participated in the bidding, whereas Jazz showed interest in the 2016 bidding. “It seems that the telecom companies are only interested in 5G technology, he said.

The government has set a target of $1 billion by selling additional spectrum to the telecom companies, he said, adding that the former decision-makers, experts and industry veterans had already hinted that the high base price, continued denomination of spectrum price in the US dollar instead of the rupee coupled with unrealistic and complex licence conditions could dampen operators’ interest in the auction, despite the apparent need for more spectrum to achieve digitalisation and connectivity objectives.

The Cabinet also approved reduction in the Customs duty on heavy vehicles and on the parts of 1000cc and above cars to bring their prices down.

Fawad Chaudhry said that the prime minister has a resolve to ensure that all the far-flung and less-developed areas will get telecommunication facilities so through the Internet they will get exposure to the world.

The prime minister also expressed his displeasure on the delay in wheat imports. The premier wants wheat import at the earliest to bring its prices down.

During the meeting, the government also decided to introduce criminal justice reforms through which filing of FIR and criminal investigation will become much easier.

The summary of 10 per cent ad hoc increase in the salaries of the parliamentarians was again rejected by the prime minister. He said the government has decided to establish the Quaid-e-Azam Foundation.