Pakistan will hold long-awaited auctions for 3G and 4G telecoms licences this April, the finance minister said on Friday, a step that could help boost the cash-strapped country’s foreign reserves. A 3G licence will cost $295 million and a 4G licence will cost $210 million, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said. He said the government would be looking for full payment, or a 50 per cent payment with the rest to be paid in five equal installments over five years, with an interest rate of three per cent.
There are about 132 million mobile phones in use in Pakistan, a country of 180 million people, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. The telecommunications market was deregulated in 2004 and foreign firms such as Etisalat have invested heavily in recent years.