Ministry of Information (MoIT) will prepare spectrum strategy on recommendations of FAB and PTA and publish a rolling spectrum strategy to be published every year that provides a programme for the succeeding three years from the date of publication. The Spectrum Strategy will identify:
- For the succeeding period
Plan for existing spectrum allocation audit
Terms of Re-allocation of existing spectrum to legacy licensees
New spectrum bands to be made available
Consequential requirements for spectrum re-farming
Spectrum to be auctioned, with an indication of approximate timescales
Spectrum to be subject to Administrative Incentive Pricing (AIP)
Spectrum to be subject to spectrum trading and/or other market mechanisms
- Anticipated longer term developments such as longer term changes in spectrum allocation and availability for use
While stability is important, the strategy must adapt to the changing needs of the telecommunication sector. Therefore, PTA and FAB will continuously review the environment and spectrum needs and in consultation with stakeholders make recommendations to the Federal Government (MoIT) to update the spectrum strategy to ensure that it remains consistent with evolving demands
Methods of Spectrum Assigning & Pricing
Spectrum will be assigned in a manner that recognises the value of the spectrum to the prospective licensee and to the economy as a whole, and in a manner that is consistent with the Spectrum Strategy. Where spectrum is licensed, a fee will be charged based on the most appropriate of the following methods:
Auctions will be the preferred method of assigning access rights to blocks of spectrum for dedicated use. To the extent possible, these will be technology neutral and include coverage in minimum time frame and quality of service obligations in the license to maximize public benefit. Where a band is to be shared between users and / or applications, blocks of spectrum will be created that reflect these joint uses.
Administrative Incentive Pricing (AIP)
Administrative Incentive Pricing (AIP) reflects the opportunity cost of spectrum to encourage efficient use of spectrum and will be introduced for congested spectrum that has not been subject to an auction, for example microwave spectrum. AIP improves the efficient use of spectrum by setting the price for spectrum at a level that encourages the user to consider alternatives and encourages spectrum use to move to the highest value application.
Administrative Cost Recovery (ACR)
Administrative Cost Recovery (ACR) will be adopted where auctions and AIP are inappropriate, for example in aeronautical, maritime and amateur radio bands. The fee will be set to reflect the costs incurred in administering spectrum in the band from which frequency is to be assigned. This approach will be applied to spectrum that is not congested and where the risk of interference is low.
- AIP will be introduced for microwave spectrum assignments.
- There is a need to introduce an appropriate charging mechanism for the microwave spectrum assignments in order to ensure efficient and economical use of the scarce resource as per international best practices.
- The existing licenses will be modified accordingly.
- The introduction of AIP will require payments for microwave spectrum to be made separately.
- This unbundling of the fee structure will improve the efficiency with which licensees use microwave spectrum.
- It is not intended to increase the fees paid overall by licensees for spectrum already acquired.
- Estimate the value of microwave spectrum on an AIP basis taking account of other means, including fibre, of providing backhaul.
- Allow for a phased introduction of AIP that recognises that licensees will need time to review and revise their use of microwave spectrum, implement alternative methods of providing backhaul and recognises also the investment that has been made in microwave equipment.
- Encourage the implementation of alternative methods of providing backhaul and increased efficiency in the use of microwave spectrum.
- Enable operators that keep up with the phased introduction of AIP not to increase the overall cost of backhaul.
- PTA will consult stakeholders on the framework for AIP prior to its approval by the Federal Government (MoIT).
- License-exempt spectrum may continue to be used for fixed access and backhaul by LL and CVAS licensees.
- These serviced will be subject to any restrictions imposed by PTA in line with international best practices and standards.
- License-exempt spectrum will be made available in a manner consistent with ITU-R Radio Regulations.
- Devices will be type approved, conform to international standards or those published by PTA and
- Access will be on a non-interference and non-protection basis.
- Temporary Test and Development Licenses will be issued by PTA, as appropriate.
- The industry and other eligible organizations will be able to test and develop new services by the assignment of spectrum with specific conditions of use for research, development, testing and demonstration activities.
- Such licenses will be made available within three months of application.
- PTA will forward the applications to FAB for allocation of suitable frequency band for any such request as per procedure in vogue.
- For an organisation to be eligible, PTA will consider the following types of organisations: telecommunications licensees, equipment manufacturers and research & development organizations.
- The goal is to encourage the highest level of technology and application innovation in Pakistan as possible.