PTA Accuses GSMA of Trying to Affect Court Proceedings

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has described the GSM Association’s (GSMA) concerns on the renewal process of three cellular mobile operators (CMOs) as an attempt to influence court proceedings.

GSMA recently raised serious concerns over the fees set by the government and PTA on operators renewing mobile spectrum licenses in Pakistan, which it believes pose a significant risk to the mobile connectivity of millions of citizens.

The Association further warned that the high fees proposed for renewing these licenses will slow the development of Pakistan’s digital economy and seriously affect operators’ ability to invest and support affordable services.

When this correspondent sought chairman PTA Major General (R) Amir Azeem Bajwa’s response on GSMA’s concerns, he replied “PTA will respond to GSMA’s concerns. GSMA is a private association and will protect private mobile operators’ interests”.

PTA has strongly reacted to GSMA’s concerns with their response mentioned below:

With reference to an article published on GSMA website on 22 May, 2019 regarding the subject issue, it is informed that the renewal process of three cellular mobile operators (CMOs) namely Jazz, Telenor, and Zong was duly initiated upon receipt of their consent in the light of respective license terms and conditions and Telecommunications Policy 2015.

The CMOs remained engaged with PTA and the Government of Pakistan (GoP) throughout the license renewal process and at no stage was any correspondence made which may indicate anything contrary to the renewal of their licenses. The applicable policy directive issued by the GoP specifies terms and conditions for renewal of the respective licenses and there is no indication of discontinuation of operations in the said policy, contrary to what GSMA has narrated in the above-referred article.

Despite GOP/PTA’s intention for renewal of licenses through the engagement of the mobile operators by means of consultation/meetings, it may be noted that Jazz and Telenor have approached the Honorable Islamabad High Court.

Therefore, the above-referred article of GSMA at this stage might be seen as an attempt to influence the proceedings.

  • Appreciate the stance of the regulatory authority of the PTA. The 5G spectrum with related regulatory, licensing, code of conduct very close to the Global Regulatory Symposium the PTA should focus for the new licensing regime from the ITU.

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