China Mobile’s Pakistani unit, which operates as Zong, has complained to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority that its quality of service is being badly impacted by interference on its 1.8GHz spectrum.
Zong, which has the third-biggest market share in Pakistan with 22%, obtained 10MHz of 1.8GHz spectrum at auction last year for $210 million. But this band is also used by particular DECT 6.0 wireless apparatus, which causes disruption to Zong’s 4G services. The issue remains despite a prohibition being imposed by the PTA on cordless phones operating at this frequency.
The operator has apparently requested that the issue is either resolved by the regulator by removing the interference totally, or instead allocate it a different 4G frequency. Zong has noted that its business is being impacted by the issue by discouraging new customers.
Sadly for Zong, the issue is not likely to be resolved swiftly by the PTA as the Minister for State for Telecom and it’s indicated that more auctions for 3G and 4G spectrum are certain.
However, operators are believed to be unreceptive to spending more as they are contending with average growth but high taxes – spectrum was subject to a last minute tax that is 10%. Currently only Telenor, the number 2, is currently making a profit.