5G spectrum auction to be held in ‘coming months’: Dr Umar Saif

Minister for IT and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif with PTCL Group President Hatem Bamatraf. — Ministry
Minister for IT and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif with PTCL Group President Hatem Bamatraf. — Ministry

Minister for IT and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif on Wednesday announced that the 5G spectrum auction will be held in the “coming months”.

The minister made the announcement in a meeting with PTCL Group President Hatem Bamatraf.

During the meeting, matters related to 5G spectrum auction and telecom services were discussed in detail.

“Steps are underway for the provision of quality telecom services which will result in better internet and telecom services for masses,” Dr Saif told the PTCL Group president.

DR Saif has gotten the go-ahead from caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on multiple measures as he has approved the Ministry plan for a new comprehensive policy aiming to bring PayPal, and Starlink to Pakistan.

In his meeting with Dr Umar Saif, the premier appreciated the ministry for its comprehensive measures aimed at tapping the unlimited potential of the country’s IT sector.

Earlier this month, the prime minister issued directives to the Finance Ministry, the State Bank of Pakistan, the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) and the Ministry of Energy to cooperate and collaborate with the Ministry of IT on this matter.

Dr Saif, back then had said, that the new IT policy aims to enhance the country’s digital exports via institutionalising dollar retention accounts and allowing an easy flow of money through IT corporate debit cards.

The government plans to utilise venture capital to raise investments of up to $1 billion for various startups.

Accentuating the country’s potential for the IT sector, the minister said that Pakistan’s digital exports have the potential to reach the $10 billion mark if the hurdles are duly addressed and removed.

According to the minister, the new policy also aims to bring PayPal and Stripe — international online payment processing platforms — to Pakistan and establish co-working spaces for 500,000 freelancers to increase their potential to an additional $3 billion per annum.

To further improve the services sector, the ministry plans to introduce training programmes in line with international standards for the youth, Dr Saif said.

“We have already commenced the programme for the training of 200,000 professionals who will contribute towards increasing Pakistan’s IT exports to up to $5 billion,” he added.

The new policy also aims to ensure enhanced and efficient utilisation of the available spectrum via extensive reforms in this domain.

Furthermore, the ministry plans to introduce active spectrum sharing, forward-looking taxation policies, regulations and incentives for the telecom industry to prepare for the upcoming 5G auction within 10 months, the interim minister said.

Expressing his views on cell phone manufacturing in the country, Dr Saif said that Pakistan is the seventh largest market for cell phones in the world therefore, the ministry intends to incentivise local manufacturing and export of smartphones.

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