Telenor Finally Reacts to High Taxes, Tightening Regulations and Service Suspensions

telenor-logo-670-x-350Telenor yesterday decided to go hard on government against all the odds that telecom industry has been facing for past 2-3 years.

Telenor came up with an aggressive response when Lars Christian Luel, CEO, Telenor Pakistan, threatened Pakistani government to pull out of expected 3G auction by saying that company could find better places to invest as business case in Pakistan has weaken due to increased taxes, government-forced service suspensions and new regulations foe sale of new SIMs.

In an interview with The News and Express Tribune, Telenor CEO said that telecom companies aren’t money making machines and hence government will have to come up with rational policies to attract more investments. If not, then Telenor will pull out its investment – planned for 3G — from Pakistan to obtain better return on investment from other markets.

Lars said that taxes such as 19.5 percent FED and 15 percent WHT, are decreasing the value of 3G auction and the money that government can generate through sale of licenses because customers’ ability to spend on telecom services have reached the limits. He said that tightening regulations are further deteriorating the investment possibilities for Pakistan.

“If Pakistan is looking lesser attractive Telenor will invest somewhere else”, said Telenor CEO.

Lars, without clarifying on how to resolve the issue of un-registered SIMs, said that his company is put on back foot with court cases like the one which asks for a limit on number of SIMs on one CNIC.

It merits mentioning here that cellular companies never owned their role for selling fake SIMs during 2006-09, at a time when sale of un-registered SIMs was on rise. Subsequently, neither the government nor the telecom companies fixed those unregistered/illegal SIMs, instead all efforts were made just to streamline new sales, leaving behind the issue of old un-registered SIMs unresolved.

Talking about service shut downs, Telenor CEO said that cellular services remain the focus of government in curbing terrorism while overlooking all other elements. He said that its easier to buy a gun in Pakistan than SIM cards.

Telenor chief seemed utterly disturbed about imposition of 5 percent new tax on telecom services. He said that taxes in Pakistan were already three times higher than the neighbours like India. He was more furious on the fact that these taxes on telecom services are to be collected from poor people, while alleging that government has not properly taxed the rich class.

Banning night packages is an area in which the government should not interfere and its act is in violation of human rights”, said Lars.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • bachu

    finally someone has the guts to represent ppl of pakistan !!! I mean no company is yet voiceing any concerns over the raised Taxes !!!

  • Anusha Khan

    its seems their is some kind of game is going between telcos and govt … becz before this tax was announced all telco chiefs met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ….

  • Hummad Haider

    Lars Christian Luel rightly said: “Tax the rich.”
    What he should have said: “Tax the rich, you morons!”

  • Furqan Saeed

    We all should pay taxes for Pakistan….it has nothing to do with Rich and Poor…Multinationals create corruption in the country they should play fair game in investment and daily chores otherwise leave…..

    • raees

      tax must be paid if govt is returning something to poor, not for the foreign tours

  • test

    Hidden info is that Telenor is not going good since last two years and not blaming on taxes, although its high but Telenor internally in very bad condition due to rural market share stanched by Zong and in urban by Warid and in corporate by Warid and mobilink.
    Why Telenor did not stand against Indian govt of cancellation of licence s

    • Bilal

      There is a thing called the annual report, ever heard of it?? If yes please go check for the performance of Telenor Pakistan. Not only has it been doing well but also turing a profit,which many other operators arent

      Hawa main baat maarnay say pehlay please do check up on fact, easier said then done my friend

      I think what their ceo is saying is for the entire industry, this is a clear signal for the industry to stand against the injustice and higher taxation before the industry is pushed to the brink of disaster, something this country and its people can ill afford.

  • Muhammad

    Who the hell is Lars to comment falsely about Pakistan. Wish could have drag him in court over making Pakistan a country of weapons, where being CEO of a telecom giant his voice will be well appriciated in the international media.He must be asked to endorse his bullshit through concrete facts or face stern action. Further its our socity to define the norms through banning night packages, he neither have knowledge nor proper understanding. Had he been in Saudi Arabia, he wouldn’t have courage to make comments about norms. Its an easy country to vomit what ever filth one have in his brain. Really sorry for Telenor to have a CEO of such mentality.