Cabinet Seeks Legal Advice from Law Division on Telco License Renewal

The Federal Cabinet is going to seek legal advice from the Law Division on the policy for renewal of cellular mobile licenses.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Tuesday, presided over the cabinet meeting to consider a 19-point agenda. The body considered an agenda item, “Policy Directive under Section 8 of the Pakistan Telecommunications (Re-Organization) Act 1996 for renewal of cellular mobile licenses in 2019”, submitted by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication.

There were many chances that the policy would be approved as the licenses of two mobile operators are due for renewal next month.

Replying to a question, Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that the government will come up with the license renewal policy for mobile operators in the next few days.

Official sources revealed that no question was raised on the strategy and other matters, but the cabinet has sought legal input from the Law Division.

Cellular licenses were issued by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to two cellular mobile operators i.e. M/s Telenor Pakistan and M/s Warid Telecom on May 26, 2004 for a period of 15 years, under the Mobile Cellular Policy, 2004, on payment of $ 291 million after an auction.

Cellular license of M/s Paktel Limited now China Mobile Pakistan (Zong) was also renewed by PTA under the 2004 Policy on October 23, 2004 for a period of 15 years on payment of $ 291 million. These licenses are now due for renewal on May 25, 2019 and October 22, 2019 respectively.

In 2014, the government of Pakistan renewed the license of the state-owned entity, Ufone, at $291 million through interest-free payment installment in order to maintain a level playing field. Telenor Group has recommended that upcoming license of Telenor Pakistan and other operators be renewed under the same terms and conditions.

M/s Veon, one of the largest foreign investors’ in Pakistan has sought a predictable and transparent investment climate and license renewal price of not more than $291 million.

  • This is dangerous business. Law ministry loses files all the time. Waiting for their approval will mean many months of delay.

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