Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) warned the telecom operators a few days back. It was clearly said that the operators are bound to provide uninterrupted services to subscribers under license conditions, rules and regulations. Recently, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has taken cellular mobile operators (CMOs) to task for threatening to shut down telecom services and invoking force Majeure due to fiscal constraints, load shedding, and 100 percent cash margin condition.
PTA Issues A Letter Jointly To Telecom Operators
PTA issued a letter jointly to Telenor, Jazz, and Ufone dated June 24, 2022. In this letter, the CMOs were asked that:
“They need to exactly highlight the difficulties for meeting the rollout obligations targets, as financial reasons are not justified, whereby telecom operators considered it a force majeure, outside the control of the telecom industry.”
CMOs have proposed an increase in tariffs due to prevailing inflationary trends. This proposal will be favorably considered by the authority. Moreover, the operators also said that they have always strived to comply with all applicable license conditions, rules, and regulations including the provision of the requisite level of quality, network, and service availability.
CMOs also pointed out the increase in electricity load shedding, particularly in rural areas. They said that they were finding it almost impossible to cope with the quantum of power outages with their existing backup, including generators and batteries. On the other hand, they further explained that the rapidly escalating fuel prices were placing extra constraints on the provision of backup generators for base transceiver station (BTS) sites, round the clock.
In addition to that, CMOs also raised the imposition of a 100 percent cash margin on letters of credit for imports by the State Bank of Pakistan. The SBP has raised the LC cash margin on all telecom equipment imports from 10 percent to 100 percent. Their main purpose was to curtail the outflow of forex reserves and bring the imports down to manage the trade deficit.