PTA rushes to renew Telco operators’ licenses

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) will have to rush through the bureaucratic red tape to get the mobile operator’s license renewed in time before the expected deadlines in May and October 2019. It may be pointed out that such processes are initiated at least 9 to 15 months before the culmination of the previous license so that the services are not terminated and the users have uninterrupted service to avail.

Industry sources argue that the reasons for that delay emanate from the fact that the PTA had no operational head for quite a long time and it has to manage its operations on ad hoc basis. Further the current rush might not have been triggered but for the expected revenues the PTA and the thus the public exchequer hopes to get from the whole process.

Industry sources cite a revenue generation of close to 1.2 Billion US Dollars, a big sum which can simultaneously buck up foreign exchange earnings as well as the much needed revenue. Towards that end a committee has already been formed which has the relevant members who will advise the federal minister for the licensing benchmarks, technical as well as financial. Once the committee has finalized its recommendations the same will be put before the federal cabinet for debate and approval.

Though the relevant ministry the MoiT has still woken up to the impending crisis, the process given the declared timelines of the committee recommendations, the cabinet division red tape and other issues, it will be finishing line renewal of the licenses to operate for the three of the top telco companies, namely Jazz+ Warid and Zong. The first two expected to be renewed just three months from now, in May 2019 and Zong expected to renew its right to operate in October 2019.  

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With the other two Telenor and the Ufone already the ones whose licenses have been renewed, the government will have to rush through the processes if it does not wants to generate the public outcry and the incompetency of the bureaucracy.The delayed renewal of licenses is only one of the issues which has the potential to adversely impact upon the Pakistani telecom scene. The budgetary steps and the host of such missteps can have long term impact upon the image of Pakistanis as irresponsible regulators, not to forget the delays in last 5G licensing ….    

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