PTA- Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has announced the “Rolling Spectrum Strategy 2020-2023.” The C-band (3.6 – 4.2 GHz) is a core band of spectrum for 5G deployment is observed through the strategy that recommends the cost-benefit analysis to assess the optimum approach for the release for 5G.
It is stated that globally many national regulators either have already been assigned this spectrum for the mobile phones or have started the preparation to do it. To assess the optimum approach for releasing the C-band for 5G, the PTA/MoIT/FAB with the consultation of SUPARCO should carry out the cost-benefit analysis.
The details of the New Strategy by PTA are highlighted below:
It is recommended that PTA should consider 35 or 40% as a reference point, as in Pakistan there are only four mobile phone operators. The PTA should in conjunction with the CCP- Competition Commission of Pakistan discover if an operator is acquiring the spectrum either through any upcoming auction or with any merger; this will have an unfair benefit over the small competitors in the market.
The PTA may take action to ban the operators with 35 or 40% of all mobile spectrums in an upcoming auction. The overall view and details regarding the future road-map of spectrum allocation and all the spectrum-related policies that are anticipated for the implementation in between 2020 to 2023 are discussed in the Spectrum Master Plan.
The strategy unveiled that there is a greater chance that before 2020 the devices will hit the critical mass. The aim of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication/PTA to allocate a band for auction is also recommended. The band is pivotal for Pakistan operators to extend the coverage in rural areas also because of the better propagation characteristics, as mentioned in the strategy.
The latest report also unveiled that the PTA was considering replacing the current ASAF by the implementation of an AIP-base spectrum pricing framework. Mobile operators are currently using the cellular policy of ASAF, 2004, which administered the cost for managing the whole access and backhaul spectrums. It would include regimes to be implemented once finalized.
The PTA needs to work for the rationalization of the spectrum to provide the standard spectrum blocks to all mobile operators. It is anticipated that 2G will be eliminated from Pakistan also within a few years just like the other countries as the mobile operators are promoting smartphones for data services to earn revenue.
The long-term use of the band would be useful, and the division of the band into separate lots of 2x5MHz will also benefit. 1800 MHz is among the most popular spectrum bands used globally for mobile communications; however, the band is now used to deploy the LTE by many operators worldwide.
The strategy revealed that the band would deliver faster LTE speed and PTA will conduct the 5G trials of the band. PTA has received the requests in this band by the additional spectrum assignments. It is pivotal for mobile operators in Pakistan.