The deadlock between Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and mobile operators on quality of service and roll-out obligations—the integral parts of license renewal persists, as the later has linked it with the quantum of a renewal fee of the license, it is learnt.
While renewing the license, PTA in exercise of its vested right, telecom consumers’ interest as envisaged under section 4(1) (m) of the Act and for the proper conduct of telecommunication services, has decided to enhance the quality of service and roll-out targets in order to meet the parameters of quality of service so as to bring it in harmony with the international best practices.
Operators to Pay License Fee Before August 21st, 2019: PTA
Further, the license is technology-neutral; therefore, the licensee is entitled to deploy any latest technology for the provision of the licensed services.
Accordingly, the necessary changes in the terms of licenses have been incorporated as shared with the licensees. Such changes in quality of service and roll-out obligations shall certainly improve the key performance indicators (“KPI”) of the licensees.
Official sources said that however, the licensees have raised various concerns on the terms and conditions dealing with enhanced quality of service and roll-out obligations.
In this respect, the licensees’ persistent stance, inter alia, has been that the issue of quality of service and roll-out obligations is dependent on the quantum of a renewal fee of the licenses. Even in the recent meeting on this issue, the licensees reiterated its earlier stance that without first determination of renewal fee, the terms and conditions pertaining to the quality of service and roll-out obligations cannot be finalized.
The Authority is of the view that though linking the issue of quality of service and roll-out obligations with the renewal fee is not a rational approach, yet to avoid any deadlock and to give fair treatment on this issue, the licensees’ concerns on terms and conditions regarding enhanced quality of service and roll-out obligations are still under consideration with the Authority and the same will be finalized in consultation with the licensees.
PTA has rejected mobile operators’ apprehensions relating to the price of mobile license renewals and passed an order while fixing the fee for license renewal at $39.5 million per MHz for frequency spectrum of 900 MHz and $29.5 million per MHz for frequency spectrum of 1800 MHz. However, mobile operators have concerns about the fee price.
PTA said that it passed the order in compliance of the court order dated 21-06-2019 passed by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), where PTA was asked to make a decision and announce terms for renewal of telecom licenses.
PTA has directed operators to pay their license fee before August 21st, 2019 or their licenses will be termed expired and they will not be allowed to provide telecom services after the deadline.