Mobile service providers show concerns as the deadline for the expiry of their licenses is near and the government has still not issued any framework for renewal of their licenses. Licenses of three mobile operators in Pakistan including Warid, Telenor, and CMpak are going to expire in 2019 and the delayed response by the government is creating uncertainty in the industry.
According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) laws, the government should have issued a license renewal framework about one and a half year ago. The delayed response by the authorities may cause a serious setback to the service operators and will impact mobile phone users as well.
The mobile operators are also worried about the huge amount for license renewals demanded by the government to gain handsome revenues. The cellular companies not only need to renew their licenses but they also require additional spectrum with the increase in the number of subscribers. They have shown willingness to buy that spectrum if the renewal is priced at the same level of $291M as that of Ufone’s in 2014 including the same conditions as well.
A telecom expert on this matter stated his views that government should attract more revenue from the sale of the additional spectrum instead of selling the licenses at higher prices. The government has almost over 2x40MHz spectrum available in existing bands which it should sell for an additional $ 1.3 billion. This way the government can bring over US$2 billion to the economy.
Another expert was of the view that it is not a good strategy to create artificial scarcity of spectrum just to push the prices up. Every day that available commercial spectrum is not used means that we are losing revenue and consumer experience is being compromised as well.