PTA Soon to Upgrade Telecommunication Licensing Framework in Pakistan

The government is all set to review the telecommunication licensing framework aimed at enhancing and optimizing the licensing regime to cater for emerging technological and market trends, it is learned.

With new licensing framework new services/offerings will be included list of items that are required to operate in Pakistan only after acquiring a license.

These new services, that will be regulated, may include:

  • OTT Services (Whatsapp, Skype, Facebook etc.)
  • Satellite Services
  • Public WiFi networks
  • Non-public telecommunication networks, such as amateur radio
  • And so on

Not to be mentioned, not all licenses may come at a cost, but may require the operators/service providers to offer PTA/Law enforcement agencies certain access/monitoring access to ensure that their usage is in-line with national security and other national interests.

Separate category in class licenses regime associated with satellite services will be introduced, while it is expected — as it was set mentioned in the Telecom Policy 2016 — this review will take place by 31st December 2016, official sources revealed to ProPakistani.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is planning to engage the services of internationally reputed consultant (s) and consulting firm (s) for the review of telecommunication licensing framework in Pakistan.

Sources revealed that PTA is planning to engage the services of internationally reputed consultant (s) consulting firm (s) for the review of telecommunication licensing framework in Pakistan .

The consultant (s) consulting firm would be required to conduct the evaluation/assessment of existing licensing framework, consultation with stakeholders and advise PTA on developing future telecommunication licensing framework consider international best practices and its mapping for the Pakistani telecommunication industry.

According to officials the interested consultant (s) consulting firm (s) would be asked to submit proposals for consultancy marked as “review of telecommunication licensing framework” complete in all respects as per the parameters laid down in the Request for Proposal (RFP) soon.


In developing the new licensing regime, following elements would be taken into account:

  • Section 20 of the Telecom Act, and in particular, which over-the-top services should be licensed under a “general authorization” in which a service provider is deemed to hold a license by virtue of the services that it provides and is then subject to the terms of that general authorization, which may include national security requirements
  • Whether there should be a separation of spectrum and operations licensing
  • The requirements for licensing of satellite services specified elsewhere in Telecom Policy 2015
  • The requirements for licensing public Wi-Fi metropolitan area networks
  • The requirement for spectrum related licensing for
  • The extent to which telecommunications and content services require licensing
  • Whether distinctions should be maintained between different license types, and if not, the implications of removing such distinctions including the rights and obligations of existing licensees that would need to be transitioned
  • The method of licensing of those organizations that hold a broadcasting license to offer telecommunications services to ensure equivalent treatment of alternative infrastructure providers
  • The licensing of telecommunications licensees for the provision of broadcast media and/or distribution service, including the necessity of doing so given the evolving nature of TV.


  • So I guess this means we’ll have to say goodbye to services like WhatsApp and Facebook etc. Requiring a license for OTT services is stupid and counter productive in my opinion. The whole point of these services are that they are unregulated and therefore encourage competition.

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