Jazz, Telenor jointly approach High Court over delayed license renewal by the Government of Pakistan

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May 3, 2019
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In view of the imminent renewal of their license, Jazz and Telenor have filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court to ensure that their existing spectrum license continues until equitable and fair renewal terms and conditions are finalized with the Government of Pakistan.

Jazz and Telenor are seeking to ensure that their millions of telecom, broadband, and mobile financial customers have continuous service which seems difficult as their licenses are bound to expire this month and no renewal process has yet been finalized or road map given by the Government of Pakistan.

Licenses of three mobile operators in Pakistan namely Jazz, Telenor and Zong are going to expire in 2019 and the delayed response by the government is creating uncertainty in the industry. These telecom service providers had previously raised concerns as the deadline for the expiry of their spectrum licenses is near and the government has still not issued any framework for renewal of their licenses.

According to a press statement by Jazz,

“Jazz seeks to ensure that existing spectrum license continues until equitable and fair renewal terms and conditions are finalized […] and its 58 million telecom, broadband, and mobile financial customers continue to use its services.”

A Telenor’s spokesperson told TechJuice that “Telenor Pakistan has been eagerly looking forward to the upcoming license renewal and actively engaged with multiple stakeholders in order to help with a mutually beneficial outcome. According to the 2004 license conditions, Telenor Pakistan has the right to renew its licenses. During the last three years, we have followed all requirements in order to renew our license on time. The inexplicable delay in the process has created a lot of uncertainty and we believe it is not possible to meet the renewal deadline on the 25th of May,” he added,

“Under these circumstances, we are looking to obtain an injunction from the Court in order to continue our services, and protect our customers. In the meantime, we hope for a constructive and speedy resolution of the licensing renewal process, under the same terms and conditions as those afforded to state-owned telecom operator in 2014, to ensure level playing field.”

The industry experts are of the view that it is not a good strategy to create artificial scarcity of spectrum just to push the prices up. The delay in the license renewal of already available commercial spectrum means that telcos are losing revenue and consumer experience is being compromised as well. These three telco companies currently serve over 100M telco users in Pakistan.

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