PTA Invites Consultations for New LDI Licensing in Pakistan. As per Telecom Policy 2015, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has undertaken the assessment of market absorption capacity for new licensing in LDI sector. PTA is of the view that the LDI sector offers a number of opportunities for new investors that can be channelized for further development of the sector. In this regard, the consultation paper intends to seek feedback of all stakeholders for further LDI licensing in Pakistan.
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PTA Invites Consultations for New LDI Licensing in Pakistan
Overview of Pakistani LDI Sector:
The telecommunication sector in Pakistan had monopolistic structure till 2003 where PTCL was the only telecom service operator while offering providing fixed local loop and LDI connectivity. In 2003 under the De-Regulation Policy of Govt. of Pakistan many opportunities were for the fixed line sector. After this, 23 companies showed interest in acquiring LDI license out of which only 19 were qualified. And later on only 12 national and multinational companies deposited initial license fee and fulfilled other requirements.
After award of licenses, these companies gradually started their operations. Two additional licenses were also awarded back in 2006 to Multinet and Wateen Telecom. Thus by 2006, there were 14 LDI operators in the county in addition to incumbents PTCL and NTC.
In March 2006, the Cabinet Committee on Regulatory Bodies (CCRB) imposed watch hold on further issuance of Mobile, LL, and LDI licenses for seven years. The watch hold expired on 22nd March 2013 and resultantly, LDI license was issued to CMPak LDI.
By 2005, the sector became very competitive and offered very low tariffs for national and international long distance calls. A number of international operators showed interest in LDI sector by investing in LDI companies. In this regard, QTel bought Burraq
Telecom and Worldcall shares were bought by Omantel. PTA along with GoP also kept facilitating LDI sector by requiring PTCL to provide mandatory interconnection and leased media to new LDIs.
Currently, there are 16 LDI operators providing LDI services in Pakistan, including the incumbent operators PTCL and NTC. Majority of LDI operators are mainly focusing on termination of international incoming traffic based on leased transmission facilities.
For the development of LDI Licensing in Pakistan, PTA has given two-weeks time period to the relevant stakeholders to submit their written reviews regarding the subject consultation.