ISLAMABAD: The auction for three Direct-to-Home (DTH) licences, which began Wednesday night, concluded on Thursday, with the winning bidders pledging a total of Rs14.7 billion, a sum several times higher than the regulator had expected.
After neck and neck competition among 11 contenders over a period of 15 hours, Pemra received a Rs4.898 billion bid for each licence, almost 25 times more than the base price of Rs200 million it had set. The regulator had hoped each licence would fetch at least Rs1 billion.
The three winners M/s Mag Entertainment, M/s Shahzad Sky and M/s Startimes will be issued the licences after receiving clearance from the interior ministry and security institutions, and will be required to submit 15% of the license fee in the first installment, 35% in the installment and the remaining fee in the third installment, a Pemra spokesperson said.
Commenting on the success of the auction, Pemra Chairman Absar Alam said “to date, this is the biggest investment in Pakistan’s electronic media history.”
The auction was held on Wednesday after eleventh hour intervention by the Supreme Court, which set aside a stay order issued by the Lahore High Court a day earlier.
Cable operators’ reaction
Responding to the auction, Cable Operators Association President Sohail Iqbal said, “We made all out efforts to stop this bidding process and push the government to delay the launch of DTH services at least for three years but all our efforts went in to vain.”
“To date, Pemra has not provided us with clear and final guidelines for converting from an analogue to a digital system, for which we invested billions of rupees,” he complained.
Courtesy : Express Tribune