The bidding process pertaining to the renewal of telecom companies’ licenses, which is planned for May next year, is in danger of being delayed.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has yet failed to finalize a framework for the renewal of licenses, reported Express Tribune. As a result, the previously planned bidding process will not proceed in May next year, it is feared.
PTA had hired WRAP International to propose a framework for the renewal of cellular licenses of telecom companies through a transparent bidding process prescribed under the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules.
However, due to shift in government in July-August 2018, the process lingered and the study that’s deemed necessary for the renewal of licenses is still not prepared.
Now the Ministry of IT has sought the government’s nod to conduct the bidding for the renewal of licenses of telecom companies, going ahead without the framework.
The IT ministry is of the view that the study was delayed following a change in the government as well as issues that emerged during consultations with stakeholders. Therefore, the consultant is unlikely to conclude its study within the stipulated time frame.
PTA had given licenses to telecom companies including Telenor, Warid and Zong for 15 years and these were going to expire on May 25, 2019. Under PPRA rules, the PTA is bound to conduct a study to establish a policy framework for bidding for the renewal of telecom companies’ licenses.
However, due to delay in preparation of study, it is unlikely to be completed in April 2019. Prime Minister Imran Khan had also constituted a committee tasked with overseeing the process of renewal of licenses and ensure its timely completion. The committee noted that consultation work on the part of the consultant could not be completed before April 2019.
The licenses are due to be renewed by May 25, 2019 for the three companies.
In a recent meeting of the cabinet, the Ministry of Information Technology had presented a summary seeking renewal of licenses of telecom companies without conducting a study, but the cabinet deferred the consideration of the summary.