ISLAMABAD - Good news for mobile phone users looking forward and waiting for 3G to be launched in Pakistan is that trial of 3G spectrums is to start from upcoming week (starting from tomorrow) with effect to the grant of approval by Cabinet Division to Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) to commence test use of 3G spectrums in the country.

With the trial and introduction of 3G spectrums, people in Pakistan would enjoy high speed internet, live TV and Skype calls on the go on their smart phones prior to the much-awaited auction of the spectrums which is likely to take place in near future this year.

Well-informed sources told TheNation that get ready to use 3G connections in mobiles in near future as Cabinet Division has allowed test service of 3G spectrum in the country, which was sought by FAB. They also said that with effect to this approval, mobile phone operators would be able to hard test their network with 3G services. Also, telecom operators with this permission would forecast the profitability of the service with some more certainty leading to minimize uncertainty.

“The objective behind trial service of 3G spectrums and with effect to FAB’s grant of permission, mobile operators can test their system before actually launching the services for consumers to measure the capacity of their system besides identification and solution of the issues,” an official at Ministry of Telecommunication said, adding “however, mobile phone operators (CMOs) will not use the 3G spectrum service for commercial purposes.”

The sources further told that four cellular mobile operators (CMOs) would use frequency for one month and they would test 3G spectrums on specified towers. The free trail has been offered on non-commercial basis, they added.

Earlier, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) took a decision to grant permission to all cellular mobile operators (CMOs) to use 3G spectrums on test basis and also wrote a letter to Frequency Allocation Board to endorse the decision prior to the much-delayed spectrum auction for next generation.

The federal government had established FAB to take over the functions performed by the Pakistan Wireless Board. The FAB has exclusive authority to allocate and assign portions of the radio frequency spectrum to the government, providers of telecommunication services and telecommunication systems, radio and television broadcasting operations, public and private wireless operators and others. The board comprises of Secretary, Ministry of Communications, who is its chairman; one Executive Director appointed by the federal government, who shall be its vice-chairman while a nominee each of the Ministry of Defence (Corps of Signals), and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Ministry of Interior. The board (FBA) may, with the approval of the federal government, make regulations, for exercising its powers and performance of its business.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s government has planned to auction licences by April to run third-and fourth-generation mobile-phone networks, with both existing and new operators eligible to bid. The regulator plans to auction 30 megahertz of spectrum to new as well as existing operators that include Pakistan Mobile Communications Ltd’s Mobilink, Telenor ASA’s local subsidiary, Warid Telecom of Abu-Dhabi group, the Pakistan unit of China Mobile Ltd. and Ufone of Pakistan Telecommunication, partly-owned by Emirates Telecommunications Corp.