$300m investment expected from 2 new mobile companies
By Shahzad Raza
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) expects that two successful mobile phone operators will invest about $300 million in the first year of their operations since 33 investors have submitted Expressions of Interest (EoI) to obtain cellular phone operating licenses.
“January 21 was the last date to submit the EoIs and we have received an excellent response,” said PTA chairman Shahzada Alam Malik at a press conference on Thursday. “We have received EoIs from 33 investors and all of them are big names.”
According to the list of the companies which have submitted their EoIs, 17 are Pakistani. Under its deregulation policy, the PTA had announced it would award two mobile phone operating licenses to new operators by auction.
Mr Malik said that each successful mobile phone operator would roughly need to invest $150 million. “Major investment is required by the new companies to compete with the old (cellular phone) operators,” he said, adding that the investment would create employment opportunities and help reduce tariffs.
He stated that the process of short-listing the interested companies would not be very strict. “We will shortlist only a few companies if others’ financial positions are unsatisfactory or they are not cleared by the security agencies (of Pakistan),” he said, adding that a majority of the investors would be allowed to participate in the bidding process.
The chairman said that after transparent and open bidding, two successful companies would be given licenses in March 2004, from when it should take them around six months to begin operations.