Foreign firms are being allowed to participate in a forthcoming 3G spectrum auction in Pakistan, under new rules provisionally approved by the country’s prime minister.
The terms, which still require several stages of approvals, lay the ground for the auction of an initial three 10 MHz blocks of 3G spectrum. The auction will be open to existing operators and prospective new international market entrants, the Associated Press of Pakistan reports.
However, new players winning spectrum won’t be eligible to commence operations until after March 2013, when a moratorium on the issue of new telecom licenses lapses.
The government also plans to auction off a defunct license owned by Pakistan's Instaphone, which was revoked in 2008 amid allegations the operator failed to pay its dues.
Carriers that miss out in the forthcoming auction will be offered a second chance, with the government’s terms specifying that additional 3G and 4G licenses will be made available by March 2013.