The AJK/GB Mobile Spectrum Auction has been delayed till the Next fiscal year.

The government of Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) have agreed to postpone the sale of next-generation mobile services (NGMS) spectrum until the next fiscal year.

Originally, the government had planned a spectrum auction for the current fiscal year to boost mobile broadband services, with a revenue target of over one billion dollars.

Postponing the sale to the following fiscal year, according to sources, will enable the government to show stronger non-tax revenue in the budget 2021-22.

According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), authorities are completely prepared to undertake the auction but are awaiting the approval of a government policy order.

On May 25, 2021, Shaukat Tarin, the federal Minister of Finance and Revenue, presided over the fourth meeting of the Advisory Committee for the release of the NGMS Spectrum in Pakistan, AJK, and the United Kingdom.

The Advisory Committee unanimously approved the draught policy directives for the release of NGMS spectrum in Pakistan, AJK, and the United Kingdom for the improvement of mobile broadband services, with a base price of $31 million and $29 million for the spectrum auctions in the 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands, respectively, following a thorough discussion.

Following approval, the draught policy directive will be given to the federal cabinet for approval. The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications will transmit the policy to the PTA for implementation and the spectrum auction to occur.

The PTA will release a Memorandum of Information (MI) for the auction after obtaining the policy order. Cellular carriers will have 15 days to react, after which a final date for the auction will be announced.

According to official sources, the Advisory Committee for the Release of NGMS Spectrum in Pakistan, AJK, and the United Kingdom has been notified about the spectrum auction's timing and problems. The current fiscal year is nearing its end, and the spectrum auction is no longer conceivable. Therefore, the spectrum auction will now take place in the following fiscal year, according to sources.

The spectrum auctions for the NGMS in Pakistan were held in 2014, 2016, and 2017 following policy directions provided by the Federal Government of Pakistan, according to the draught policy (a copy of which is accessible).

Following that, the demand for data services grew exponentially, and in only seven years, the country's internet users grew from 14 million in 2014 to over 100 million in April 2021.

There was a considerable increase in demand for internet services, which was particularly pandemic. Moreover, the ever-increasing reliance on wireless mobile broadband services has forced a greater spectrum to suit the people of Pakistan's connection demands.