Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is reportedly not in the favor of reviewing Telecom Policy 2015 as recommended by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) which categorically declared that empowering PTA to regulate competition related matters in the telecom sector will not only create duplication of jurisdictions but also engender legal uncertainty for the telecom operators.
The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has yet not taken any action on the policy note of the CCP, a commission spokesperson confirmed ProPakistani.
Spokesperson said that no response has been received from the IT ministry in this regard as of yet.
According to sources in PTA, the Authority is not in the favour of reviewing Telecom Policy 2015, while saying that it has its own mechanism under the telecom Act where it can regulate competition regulations for telecom sector.
However, the official maintained that reviewing the policy is IT ministry’s jurisdiction and any decision by the ministry would be final in this regard.
So far, the IT Ministry has not issued any instructions or directions that it has rejected the policy note of the CCP or endorsed the same.
However, according to IT Ministry spokesperson the ministry has engaged its legal team to review CCP policy note after which final decision will be taken.
The CCP’s policy note to the IT Ministry recommended reviewing the Telecom Policy 2015 as the Competition Rules for the sector in the said policy overlap with the jurisdiction of CCP.
The CCP has observed that Clause 5.1 of the Telecom Policy 2015 formulated and issued by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom (MoIT) provides for the making of Competition Rules exclusively for regulation of ex-post competition issues in the telecommunication sector by the PTA.
The rules will provide a process for remedying the anti-competitive behaviors in both ex-ante and ex-post in the telecom industry.
Whereas under the Competition Act, 2010 the CCP has precedence over the rules being framed by MoIT which is a subordinate legislation.
The CCP policy note said the Competition Act will prevail in an event of any conflict or overlap between the CCP’s mandate and that of any other regulatory or public body in Pakistan ‘to the extent of matters covered under the Competition Act’.
The CCP had said that empowering PTA to regulate competition related matters in the telecom sector will not only create duplication of jurisdictions but also engender legal uncertainty for the telecom operators and consumers as well as wastage of state resources.
The policy note concluded that the development of the rules by the MoIT will result in the negation of the exclusive mandate, enforcement powers and purpose on which the whole edifice of competition regime was built by the Parliament through the Competition Act and establishment of the Commission.