ISLAMABAD: The telecom sector regulator for the first time has streamlined the spectrum allotted to the telecom companies by rationalising the 1,800 megahertz (MHz) spectrum.
The rationalisation plan for the 1,800 MHz spectrum band was issued by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in consultation with the Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) at the time of additional spectrum auction in September last year.
While the rationalisation has been completed, its implementation will take time due to the alignment of the existing equipment with the new setup by telecom companies. The benefits of this move will be visible to telecom customers in some time.
Earlier, various spectrums of 1,800 band were scattered among the four telecom companies operating in Pakistan. As a result, the actual quantum of spectrum available to telcos was reduced and the companies had to invest heavily in installing filters at the end of their spectrums.
“When the spectrums of different companies have attached boundaries there is a chance of frequencies mixing with each other, therefore filters are placed by the telecom companies to avoid interferences,” said a senior official at one of the cellular mobile operators.
“Earlier small chunks of the spectrum were randomly distributed as a result each company had multiple borders at the 1,800 MHz spectrum. After rationalisation, the service quality too will improve,” he added.
The FAB has collected the fragmented spectrum in blocks. Details show Jazz, the largest telecom company in the country, has a block of 28.4 MHz, followed by Zong with 16 MHz, while Ufone has 15 MHz and Telenor has 8.8 MHz block in the 1,800 band. There was a vacant slot of 10.2 MHz in the same band that can be offloaded by the government to any of the four telecos.
A FAB official said that technical teams of all stakeholders worked for a successful outcome without disturbance of services across the country.
Welcoming the development, Jazz CEO Aamir Ibrahim tweeted: “This rationalisation exercise makes spectrum allocation in Pakistan more efficient. Telecom users, businesses & society as a whole stand to gain thru improved options for network coverage and quality. Sets @jazzpk up for future network innovation for our customers.”