Cellular company Ufone on Friday won a bid for Pakistan’s unused spectrum with $279 million, said the country’s telecom authority. Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) started the process to sell the unused spectrum late last year.
The spectrum is in the 1800 and 2100 MHz bands typically used by operators for 4G LTE (long-term evolution) networks that offer faster video streaming and internet downloads.
“Total Spectrum won by Ufone is 9 MHz in 1800 MHz band which is 70.3 percent of the total offered spectrum in the said band during the current auction,” the PTA said in a statement.
The addition will boost Ufone spectrum holdings from 6 MHz to 15 MHz in 1800 MHz band, enhancing quality and increasing coverage for voice and data services, it added.
Pakistan has nearly 100 million 3G/4G subscribers, and the new spectrum known as Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) is seen a precursor to any 5G launch.
The Pakistan telecom market is dominated by Jazz, backed by Netherlands-based Veon Ltd; Telenor Pakistan, backed by Norway’s state-controlled Telenor; Zong, owned by China Mobile; and Ufone, which is controlled by state-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd.