PTA justifies prices set by govt for renewal of cellular licenses

By Faisal Saeed on
June 18, 2019
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The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has justified the price set by the government for the renewal of cellular licenses. The authority said that the companies paid the same amount of price in 2016 and 2017 for similar spectrum brand on the basis of per MHz.

The new letter written by the PTA to GSMA shows, that the court has not restricted PTA to proceed further for license renewal, and that the cellular companies have been allowed to continue their operation in the country. Moreover, PTA has also requested cellular mobile operators (CMOs) to complete the renewal process as early as possible.

According to the policy directive set by the Information Technology and Telecommunication Ministry, the price per MHz for frequency spectrum in 900 MHz and 1800 MHz shall be $39.5 million and $29.5 million, respectively.

The heading of the letter written by PTA to GSMA is “Impacts of Overdue Renewal Decisions for Mobile Spectrum Licenses in Pakistan,” and it states, “With reference to GSMA’s letter dated May 20, 2019, received on June 03, 2019 regarding the subject issue, it is informed that the renewal process of three cellular mobile operators (CMOs) was duly initiated upon receipt of their consent in the light of respective license terms and conditions and Telecommunications Policy 2015”.

The license renewal price for the cellular networks has been declared by the government of Pakistan after detailed discussions and considerations keeping in view the international practices, consumer needs, market trends and advancement in technologies. As compared to 2014, Telenor and Jazz who initiated their business in Pakistan at that time has a huge subscriber base at the moment, with Jazz having 59.2 million and Telenor having 44.8 million subscribers.

Moreover, the Telecommunications Policy 2015 provides enhanced features including trading/sharing, active sharing, etc, which can further add to the CMOS network performance and revenues. So, considering all of these options and extra facilities provide to the cellular operators, labeling the set price of license renewal as illogical does not seem justified.

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