The Finance minister, Pakistan Mr Ishaq Dar has opposed the establishment of a parallel competition framework in an attempt to curb the monopolistic practices of Pakistan’s telecom companies.
Telecom Market: Dar Rejects Parallel Competition Framework
In a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), chaired by Mr Dar on the 12th of August, he said that the new policy framework did not accurately reflect the structural tax reforms and that the policy should reflect commitments rather than proposals. Adding to his point, Mr Dar pointed out that the establishment of a parallel competition framework as suggested in the policy draft was unnecessary since the Competition Commission Pakistan (CCP) being an independent, statuary body was already present in order to handle such functions.
The secretary of the ministry of IT explained that a clause pertaining to the competition framework was part of the policy in view of the legal obligations of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Reorganisations) Act 2006. The ECC was updated on the process of consultation with stakeholders by the Ministry of IT for formulating the policy draft.
According to the policy it was proposed that the competition rules should be introduced for the promulgation of a competition framework to create a healthy competitive and open telecom market in the country. Furthermore, an introduction of spectrum management was also proposed which would include spectrum strategy, trading and assignment. The policy draft also included provisions for the general authorization for over-the-top (OTT) services and satellite communications. Another important feature was the introduction of communication security, sensitizing the requirement of security of telecom networks and convergence.
As Pakistan’s telecom industry grows, the need of delivering diverse services belonging to the domain of telecoms, media and data services over a single digit platform needs regulatory treatment in the coming years.