Pakistan’s Telecommunication Authority slams Reuters report on “dismal” auction

auction11Pakistan’s telecoms regulator the PTA has reacted angrily to a story published by Reuters in which the news agency describes early stages of the country’s current 3G and LTE spectrum auction as “dismal”. In a statement that dismisses the Reuters report as “baseless” and “fabricated”, and raises the prospect of legal action, a PTA spokesperson claimed the auction’s progress is satisfactory.

Reuters cited an unnamed official from the nation’s finance ministry in its assertion that interest in the auction has been “scant”, with only four of the five incumbent operators placing bids and no newcomers attracted by the process. It also claimed that no participant had shown interest in spectrum designated for LTE services.

It suggested that revenue from the auction would likely fall well short of government projections of $2bn and quoted the source as saying that the country’s finance minister was “very angry” because the auction is “so embarrassingly off target”.

The PTA’s response was strident and, at times, confusing. “It is entirely wrong to say that no cellular mobile operator has shown interest in 4G. It is also denied that [the] representative of Ministry of Finance was at the bidding.”

It concluded: “The spokesperson deeply regretted that a world renowned news agency like Reuters has run a fabricated story on 3G / 4G auction and has failed to seek the version of PTA, the sole body responsible for auction. PTA reserves the right to proceed for appropriate legal action against the Reuters. In fact, the auction process is progressing efficiently and transparently in accordance with the rules.”

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