No 5G in Pakistan before 2023, says PTA

Image courtesy: Pakistan Today

Zong recently tested 5G internet in Pakistan, and after creating big budget advertisements, much hype and expectations, it seems like Pakistanis will have to wait till at least 2023 to avail 5G internet facilities.

This was told by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) official in Senate’s Standing committee on Information Technology and Communication.

Dr Khawar Siddique Khokhar, a member of PTA, told the committee in his briefing that Pakistan doesn’t have the infrastructure to launch 5G in near future. He added that infrastructure development is a time taking process and Pakistan will not be able to launch 5G before 2023.

Acknowledging the increasing risks of various threats that come with connectivity, senate committee also raised concerns about security of 5G internet. Senator Rubina Khalid said, “If 4G internet is not secured in Pakistan, how will PTA ensure 5G is secure?” Senator Mian Atiq raised questions about transparency in awarding 5G licensing process. “There was corruption in 4G licensing process and it will happen again in 5G licensing,” he predicted.

PTA officials told the committee that they don’t have any plan at the moment as far as 5G is concerned and asked for two months’ time period to come up with a strategy.

Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Communication Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui told that committee that his ministry has started working on a cybersecurity policy, and soon it will be presented in the committee.

It should be noted, however, that Zong has been issued a notice by PTA for deceiving consumers with false advertisements of being the first 5G network of Pakistan when in fact, PTA has only granted permission to telecom companies to test the facility and not launch it.

Muhammad Arslan is a journalist and a team member of Media Matters for Democracy. He writes regularly on issues related to media freedom, regulation, and digital rights.

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