At the outset of bidding, base price for four lots was set at US $ 885 million and the total value of bids had increased by $ 17.82 million after culmination of six rounds. The bids remained the same during 4th, 5th and 6th rounds.
Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone and Zong were taking part in the bidding. The bidding was being done electronically through Internet and all the companies were allowed to log into bidding system at 8.00 a.m. However, the first round of bidding started at 10 a.m.
The bidding might continue on Thursday.
Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Dr. Syed Ismail Shah, speaking on the occasion, highlighted the arrangements made for Spectrum Auction for Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS).
The expiration duration of each bidding round was 45 minutes or less.
He said there would be multiple rounds of bidding and added the PTA had chosen Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending (SMRA) Auction mechanism.
The SMRA is the most preferred auctioning mechanism and is widely used in modern day auctions worldwide. It is also preferred over the traditional open cry out auctioning model as SMRA allows both auctioneer and bidder flexibility to simultaneously bid on lots of their choice, privacy and time to make educated decisions during the auction.
Some of recent auctions conducted in various countries were all SMRA based auctions, he added.
He said mobile phone companies – taking part in the auction – are bidding from their offices. However, an auction hall was set up at a local hotel where PTA officials, members of auction committee and media were present to witness the process.
He said as part of its arrangements, the Authority has also exercised full-fledge mock auction where all qualified cellular operators participated to understand the procedures and rules associated with the auction process.
Officials of cellular companies said that firms are little careful in increasing the bids. They said that more focus would be on investments related to network, for which they are extra-conscious during bidding.
By the way, lower bids means higher investments in network which will translate into higher amount of 3G availability to subscribers. Which means, we will have to wait for the final announcement to attain final winners.
Moreover, the official said PTA allowed operators to offer 3G services in the auction free of cost which the officials claimed would be available to customers within two weeks after the auction.
However, availability of service will be in phases. Major cities will get 3G with-in 2-3 months while rest of the Pakistan can expect 3G or even 4G services with-in 6-12 months of the auction.