Long ago I remember there was a time when most people in United States were on AMPS mobile phone networks (1st Generation Technology) and most of Pakistani people were already using 2nd Generation GSM technologies. This came as part of IT and Telecom revolution which was made possible by none other than Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman, Pakistan’s IT/Telecom Minister in Musharraf’s era. But as soon as that Atta-ur-Rehman irra gone away, things changed. A very well known regulatory authority “Pakistan Telecommunication Authority” was dragged into the politics in President Zardari’s era and in games of chairman swapping powered by political games Pakistan didn’t got the chance to get to next generation of telecom technologies.
The countries which were once on 1st generation while us being on 2nd GSM Mobile networks, those countries no have more so further that they have already installed 4G (LTE) technologies and they are now working hard to get to next step, while we are just stuck with 2G GSM network. While Americans and British are using data rates like 12mbps on cell phones very easily, our cell phone networks are stuck with 7 KB/s data rates with the GSM technology from stone age.
So five years of Zardari’s PPP being in power, there was absolutely no work done in this regard. Even after current (Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz) PML-N came into power, for first few months they have given absolutely no attention to this issue. But not very soon after they were started to criticized by people of Pakistan for not taking solid steps to go 3G or 4G, they finally have realized they have now to show at least some progress in this regard. So the PML-N’s appointed IT and Telecom Minister (who actually have higher education in law) have made some efforts and appointed a new controversial chairman of PTA.
Then the consultants for 3G auctions were hired who have finally given their reports about how would the auction process go on. This recommended process is already approved by Prime Minister (PM) and other authorities.
Now interesting thing is even after the process is approved the 3G and 4G licenses auctions would take place in April not in upcoming month of march. Meanwhile someone had submitted an application in court, claiming that the appointment of current PTA chairman was unlawful and it should be deemed null and void. If that happens the 3G & 4G auction be subject to further unwanted delays. But I sincerely hope and pray that this auction process goes well and Pakistani people be able break those boundaries of that very slow transfer rate on their cells.
The reason why I am saying it 3G and 4G auction is, as recommended by consultants Govt is aiming to sell three 3G telecom licenses and two 4G licenses to interested cell phone companies. The current IT and Telecom minister Anusha Rehman, who is well known for doing less and making news more, have somehow promised that this auction would take place in April for sure. So we have our fingers crossed and anxiously waiting for that big pipe connected to our cells.
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