In a ceremony earlier today, Pakistan’s government officially awarded the 3G and 4G licences won at auction late last month by four of the nation’s incumbent cellcos, namely China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak, operating under the Zong moniker), Mobilink, Telenor Pakistan and Pakistan Telecommunication Mobile Ltd (PTML, which offers services as Ufone). With the award of the concessions, the four are clear to begin offering the new services immediately, although several have been providing 3G services on a trial basis since the winners of the tender were announced on 23 April. Commenting on the achievement, prime minister Nawaz Sharif stressed the importance of technological development on the nation’s progress, adding that government was working on projects to promote such growth and that the energy crisis afflicting the country would soon be brought under control.
According to unconfirmed reports, finance minister Ishaq Dar revealed that the government is looking to award two more licences, and is aiming to introduce a new company into the market. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has previously stated that it intends to auction the unsold 4G licence which was not awarded in the recent auction, whilst early plans for the spectrum sale also included provisions for the sale of 850MHz frequencies, which also went unsold.