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Cellular companies urging to establish 3G/4G services in AJK and GB without auction

Islamabad: Cellular companies are urging the government to allow them to establish 3G/4G services in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) without having to go through the standard auction process. Recently, the senior managements of several major telecom firms in the country held a meeting with Information Technology Secretary Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui to reiterate the need for these services in AJK and GB.

The representatives from the cellular companies stated that the government should allow them to provide these services during the prevailing COVID-19 outbreak – to benefit the residents of the said areas. They added that once things normalise, the government can restart the spectrum assignment process – which has been stalled in these areas for many years. The companies presented their case that the missing services in AJK and GB were depriving the residents of essential healthcare awareness. Additionally, the region’s students were also facing issues with their online classes due to the lack of 3G/4G services. The operators also expressed their concern at a network provider offering 4G services in GB without the due process.

In response to this request, the IT secretary called a meeting with the GB/AJK councils, telecom firms, and the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). Once the federal government carries out the auction to assign the spectrums, then the regional government will also receive their due shares of revenue.

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