The appointment of the member technical Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Retired Major General Azeem Bajwa, as the chairman of the telecom regulatory authority has been welcomed with a mixed sentiment by the industry. If on one hand the appointment was long in limbo and was to be decided to get the new development work going like the much anticipated introduction of 5G in the Pakistani society and also the fact that a major authority was without a head of operations for long. At the same time the appointment of freshly retired serving officer observed in a wholesome developing scenario where the powers to be are gaining space from the executive authority, such appointment is seen as greater monitoring of the system and setup from the point of view of identifying dissent.
Given the fact that the putting in place a well-documented system of surveillance is the goal shared by the international donors under the auspices of FATF and the government, such appointments signal towards greater user level interference in the name of national security. It may be
Coming towards the operational aspect of the much awaited appointment, it would be off interest to the industry watchers, how the introduction of 5G is to be formalized under the new leadership. The switchover to 5G means that Pakistani air waves are going to be laden more and more with data, making traditional routes to internet like DSL and Wi-Fi look obsolete connectivity options.
Any breakthrough in the 5G would be a great stride in internet connectivity and can potentially put Pakistan on the map as few developing economies which has shown promise to take the plunge. Apart from the issue of 3g, service quality parameters of the telecom companies operating in Pakistan will also be a challenge for the new incumbent. The recent Jazz and Warid merger and the somewhat dip in the combined services offered, the tower coverage issues and the host of other service delivery related matters would certainly bother the new chief, demanding an amicable protocol to minimize the issues in the long run.
While the existing service providers seems to have completely captured the market, for good or for bad, the fact remains that direct foreign investment into the telecom sector has dried up for practical purposes. That sort of monopoly situation or a cartelization of the industry potentially hits at healthy competition and subsequent better service quality. In the current scenario any initiative aimed at pushing for more players into the arena can create perfect market competition for the benefit of the user.
The wait comes to an end Major General Azeem Bajwa appointed as Chairman PTA
In the backdrop of that scenario, it would be a heavy responsibility on the incumbent chairman to take the initiative. Having the unique advantage of so many players on one page at this juncture of Pakistani history, the new leadership in the regulatory authority has the opportunity to make or break things.