3G further delayed in Pakistan


3G further delayed in Pakistan

A ministerial committee has scraped the process of selection of consultant for auction of the much-awaited multi-billion dollars Third Generation (3G) technology and directed Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to seek fresh applications by advertising into media, it is learnt.

The Auction Supervisory Committee (ASC) led by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh took the decision of scrapping the process following the report of Evaluation Committee constituted by PTA.

The deadline set by the government for auction of 3G technology by end of December 2012 could not be achieved as the process of selecting the consultant had not yet been initiated.

In order to achieve transparency in this transaction, we are moving cautiously and if it is done within the current fiscal year, there should not be any problem,” he added. To issue licence for 3G became problematic for the government for last few years as all efforts remained futile and ended without achieving the desired results

A senior official of the government, involved in ASC, confided to The News here on Saturday

[pull_quote_center]The ASC directed the PTA to seek fresh applications by advertising within 48 hours. Although, this deadline has lapsed and so far PTA is unmoved,”[/pull_quote_center] According to Evaluation Committee findings, for selection of consultant for supervising the auction of 3G technology, the PTA received three applications of which two proposals were rejected on the technical ground while the last one was rejected on the ground of bring financially non responsive.

When the chairman PTA raised complaints about the members of the Evaluation Committee, Finance Minister Dr Shaikh grilled the him by inquiring him about what he was doing there being head of the regulator. Instead of creating frictions, the best course was to take on board all the concerned stakeholders and achieve the desired objective of completing the auction of 3G without wasting further time, the minister told during the meeting.

As controversy between Chairman PTA Farooq Awan and Member Technical Khawar Siddique Khokhar surfaced it ultimately paved the way for blocking the process of selection of the consultant.

Each day’s delay in the auction of 3G was causing a loss of Rs38 million, according to PTA estimates.

According to the presentation of the evaluation committee, three parties participated into Expression of Interest for selection of consultant but because of different scenarios, the evaluation committee rejected all three proposals.

When contacted, a spokesperson for PTA said they were unaware of the outcome of the last ASC meeting. He said they have requested the authorities concerned to reply to the media queries and something would be shared with the journalists next week.

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