As the regulator and Government seem pumped up for 3G license auction (latter in 2011), it looks that cellular companies in Pakistan are now looking for ways to escape the expedition.
Reasons are apparent,
- Cellular companies are in no mood of further investment (that too in huge size)
- Industry has its reservations for high licensee fee. (Industry segments predict that 3G license fee would be over or around 105 million US dollars)
- THERE REASONS THAT DELAYED THE LAUNCH ALSO INCLUDED LIMITED SUBSCRIBERS BASE, VERY HIGH COST OF INVESTMENT INVOLVED, UNFAVOURABLE INVESTMENT CLIMATE.THOUGH NO COMPANIES OFFICIALLY MADE ANY SUCH PUBLIC STATEMENTS THAT COULD HIGHLIGHT THEM FOR BACKING OFF 3G SERVICES. IT WAS CONSIDERED NOT A RIPE TIME FOR SUCH HIGH COST TECHNOLOGY OF A CELLULAR COMPANY.
- THERE HAVE BEENANONYMOUS COMMENTS FROM TELECOM INDUSTRY WHICH SUGGESTED THAT ACTIVE MOBILE SUBSCRIBERS IS NOT MORE THAN 70 MILLION BUT IT WAS CLAIMED BY PTA TO BE MORE THAN OR NEAR 100 MILLION ACTIVE USERS.
THE DEBATE ON THE NUMBER OF MOBILE PHONE USERS WAS ALSO BECAUSE IN PAKISTAN, AT THAT TIME, IT WASN’T POSSIBLE TO GET A PRECISE NUMBER OF USERS BASED ON THE CONNECTIONS SOLD BECAUSE MOST OF THE PEOPLE USED MULTIPLE SIMS WHICH THEY SWAPPED AS PER THEIR USE. Another top official of a cellular company rejected the PTA’s claim of over 56 percent mobile penetration in a population of 177 million. He said the actual number of active customers was far less than the figures quoted by the regulator.
“The actual subscribers’ base is not above 65 million. You can’t gauge the number of users through connections for many Pakistanis have multiple connections which they seldom use,” he added.