The prospect of introducing 5G spectrum in Pakistan within the next 10 months seems highly unlikely, sources revealed. Despite Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif’s recent announcement regarding the imminent launch of 5G services within this timeframe, the local mobile operators are hesitant to purchase 5G licenses due to the ongoing economic instability in the country.
During a key meeting last week, Saif and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Chairman Maj Gen (R) Hafeezur Rehman discussed vital issues concerning the telecommunication sector, including the upcoming 5G auction and spectrum allocation. Unfortunately, local mobile operators are unprepared to acquire 5G licenses, hampered by the devalued Rupee, lack of supporting technology, and the high costs associated with 5G-compatible handsets, compounded by significant taxes and import restrictions.
Furthermore, the federal Ministry of IT and Telecommunications has yet to formulate a 5G policy to facilitate license auctions for the spectrum. This delay puts Pakistan behind other countries in rolling out 5G services, despite earlier plans to initiate the launch by mid-2023, with aspirations to attract foreign investors.