Arrival of 5G in Pakistan could take more time than expected

arrival of 5g in pakistan could take more time than expected

arrival of 5g in pakistan could take more time than expected

The much-anticipated arrival of 5G cellular network might not be available to users in Pakistan as some have expected as 5G spectrum auction for cellular networks will have to wait for the arrival of the new government.

The caretaker government, though very enthusiastic for the launch of 5G in the country, has little legal authority for fiscal and policy making powers. The arrival of 5G will have to wait for the new government to take charge and go ahead with the spectrum auction.

Earlier, the Caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Dr Umar Saif, has announced that Pakistan will launch 5G services for Pakistani consumers in 10 months. However, the shared time period hints at the time required for launch after spectrum auction policy matters are dealt with and procurement procedures are kicked-off. The caretaker government has yet to complete the prerequisites for policy changes for spectrum auction.

On the other hand, telecom operators have asked the government for tax relief and might not share the same enthusiasm as that of the government for the launch of 5G. Telecom operators are concerned that they might not get a good return on their investment on 5G. Telcos have asked the government to provide tax breaks for spectrum fees and adopt a different earning model for 5G spectrum auction.

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The telcos want the government to incentive 5G for them so that they can go ahead with the launch. They are pushing the government for major policy changes and incentives for 5G, and on the other hand, the government wants much-needed revenue because of the tight fiscal situation.

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This will certainly create hurdles in the much anticipated launch of 5G in the country and users should not expect an influx of telcos switching to 5G any time soon. Even if all goes well, users should expect 5G services on their handsets at the end of 2024 or in early 2025.

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