PTA Seeks International Consultant for 5G Launch in Pakistan


The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), with approval from the Ministry of Finance, has issued Terms of Reference (ToRs) to hire an international consultant to aid in the launch of 5G spectrum in Pakistan.

The PTA has invited expressions of interest from consulting firms to provide guidance on releasing 5G spectrum, aiming to enhance next-generation mobile broadband services in the country.

The ToRs outline the consultant’s role in maximizing the release of IMT spectrum to support technology-neutral next-generation mobile broadband services, aligning with international best practices suitable for Pakistan’s economy, society, and telecommunications market.

The consultancy aims to ensure regulatory consistency for investors, facilitate broadband expansion, and stabilize the telecom sector, with a focus on socio-economic development.

According to the PTA document, the ToRs include evaluating spectrum valuation for available bands with future projections, aiming to boost economic growth and attract foreign investment. This evaluation considers the impact of past spectrum auctions and renewals, international best practices, and other relevant factors.

The consultancy will also focus on implementing 5G launch models based on international and regional best practices, especially in terms of potential use cases for Pakistan and viable monetization models.

The spectrum auction design will be investment-oriented, offering opportunities for both existing operators and new entrants to acquire maximum IMT spectrum to improve ICT infrastructure and broadband services in Pakistan. The design will emphasize innovative regulatory practices and improved investment opportunities for the successful launch of technologies like 5G, supporting sustainable telecom sector growth and overall socio-economic development.

The consultant’s scope of work includes assessing the current health of Pakistan’s telecom market for adopting technologies like 5G, in consultation with relevant stakeholders. The consultant will recommend necessary policy actions and reforms to boost infrastructure investment, broadband expansion, and business sustainability.

The ToRs also require comparing Pakistan’s existing cellular/IMT spectrum assignments with regional practices, highlighting gaps, and suggesting phased auctions of paired spectrum in the 700 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2100 MHz bands, and unpaired spectrum in the 2300 MHz, 2600 MHz, and 3500 MHz bands. This includes determining per megahertz spectrum prices in USD and PKR with future projections, considering demand and supply models, and proposing innovative payment options like flexible installment plans.

Additionally, the consultant will consider factors such as the number of operators, license tenure, regional/national IMT spectrum models, spectrum block size, minimum bandwidth per operator, license templates including terms and obligations, and incentives for auction winners. The consultant will also provide policy recommendations for spectrum auction design, base price, and duration.

The consultant’s responsibilities will extend to developing the information memorandum, including the license template, and assisting in conducting the spectrum auction according to the agreed design. Recommendations on the coexistence of IMT bands between IMT/5G and other services, such as satellite and Wi-Fi, will also be provided.

According to the PTA, an international consultant will be hired based on these ToRs. The consultant will create a report after consulting with the industry and relevant stakeholders. Following the completion of the report, the spectrum will be presented for the 5G auction.