Mobile Operators Demand 3G/4G License Renewal on Same Terms as 2014: Sources

Mobile operators, on Tuesday, appeared before the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and presented arguments on their applications for 3G/4G license renewal, however, the final decision is yet to be taken.

Sources in cellular companies, as well as PTA officials, confirmed that the first hearing on operators’ application was held on Tuesday, where all the senior officials including Chairman PTA and both members were present.

Same as 2014

During the hearing, operators presented their arguments and pleaded for license renewal on the same terms and conditions, as well as other benchmarks like roll-out obligations, on which the license of Ufone was renewed in 2014.

“We are ready to pay $291 million (around Rs 32 billion in 2014) i.e. the same price Ufone paid in 2014 which is now around Rs 62 billion,” said a senior official of a cellular company who attended the meeting on the condition of anonymity.

The official went on to say that the price of $450 million is too much for them and the request was presented before the Authority. Replying to another question, the official said that they also asked for the same rollout obligations and other benchmarks to provide a level playing field to all operators.

The official said that Islamabad High Court (IHC) disposed of off their petition while calling it a regulatory matter and directed PTA to decide about license renewal applications independently and with the new way by July 15.

Chief Justice IHC Athar Minallah, while hearing the case, has asked mobile operators to appear before PTA on June 25. The court also observed that mobile companies can also file an appeal after PTA’s decision on their applications for license renewal.

License Expiry

The cellular mobile licenses of Pakistan Mobile Communications Limited (ex Warid/Jazz) and Telenor Pakistan Limited (Telenor) were due to expire on May 25, 2019, and are due for renewal. The license of China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak Zong) is due for renewal on October 22, 2019. However, Jazz and Telenor had approached IHC to decide on the terms of license renewal in an equitable, fair and transparent way.

  • These companies increase their prices even there is slight increase in dollar but they want to renew the license on same old prices. Wow!

    • And for the next 15 years. Lol. These looters are playing dirty games. In my opinion $450 is very low, it must be around $1000…

      • You do realize they will pass this cost on to you and me? Mobile connectivity is a productivity booster and good for the economy. To make it more expensive economic growth. It’s bad for consumers and bad for the country. Even the govt. is a loser in the long term because lower economic growth means lower tax revenues.

    • They are getting revenue in Rupees not in dollars. but they have to invest in dollars. and rupee is depreciating day by day so there revenue is.
      And Govt should have been consistent in its policies. Why there is different rule for Ufone and different for others? Ufone paid $291 million as renewing cost in 2014 which was in Rs. at that time was 32 billion rupees. but now in 2019 $291 million means Rs 62 billion PKR which is almost double. Did they increased prices 2 times since 2014? what if they pay $450 million and increase monthly super card price to 1000 PKR? will you be happy than?

      • I will be happy to pay Rs 1000 as the government has increased base salary.
        Why should these foreign telcos only get protection from dollar rupee fluctuation and not other Pakistani corporations??? Shouldn’t local investors and consumers also get protection. Sorry but this argument is bakwas. Mobile Rates are determined by the market. Spectrum price is also determined by the market and the most efficient market price/fair market value was determined by 4G auction with price set at 450M.

        You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Pay up or get out.

        • Lol. What a “Bakwas” argument you made. You are happy to pay 1000 bbecause your salary has increased, right? What about others? My employer have not increased my salary from past 1 and a half hour. And due to dollar increase, my salary has reduced to 9000 PKR in this period. How can I pay 1000 like you? Pakistan’s average ARPU is lowest in the region and operating cost is highest due to expensive electricity, loadshedding and heavy taxes. And businessman always get protection by price hike, and you can not challenge it. Consumer protection is responsibility of state by maintaining stability in sector, and unfortunately our Govt itself announcing that people have to bear inflation.
          Now let’s talk about $. If you think operators hide behind dollars price than yes they have to. Because Govt itself charging them in $. If That 400 Million price decided in 4G auction is correct, charge them at $ rate of that time as well. Rupee has depreciated, so should be the price. Because earning is in rupee not $.
          When prices of raw materials and rents of shops increases, cakes are bound to get expensive.

  • The foreign funded telcos have the money to pay. The price was determined by public auction for 4G license which was set at ~$450M. This is the last price set and this should be the determining price for renewal. No 2 ways about it.

    • It’s license renewal not auction. Renewal price has to be set at the time of the auction. You can’t then change it down the road. There has to be some consistency in government policies.

      What I want to know is what price was set as the renewal price in the contract they signed with the government? Was a renewal price even set? It seems like it should have been because otherwise you get situations like these. You can’t run a business if you don’t know things like these in advance.

      • Sorry I don’t buy this argument and people of Pakistan shouldn’t buy this either.

        The term of the original license has expired.

        When 4G spectrum was auctioned, telcos agreed to pay 450. That’s the new reference price. You cannot be paying what you paid 15 years ago. The price of spectrum has gone up yes in Dollars and telcos should pay that or wrap up their business or sell it to a foreign operator such as VODAFONE or Turkcell or Orange

        • Lol you are talking lile those companies are ready to invest in Pakistan. Let me clear your mind. No company showed interest to invest in pakistan in last 3 auctions when economy was stable. They are not fool to invest now.

  • I thought they had a contract that stated the renewal price. That’s what we were led to believe. The court would not have dismissed the case if it was a matter of contract enforcement.

    • Contract was for 15 years.
      When you lease land for 20 years, after the lease is up do you pay the price you paid 15 years ago or you pay a higher price? Higher price obviously.

      This is basic logic. Foreign operators are just playing us poor people of Pakistan by confusing the situation with PKR USD exchange rate. This is bogus argument. Every other corporation and citizen in Pakistan suffers due to exchange rate but these multinationals must be protected? What logic is that. If you cannot bear the risk, don’t make the investment. If you can’t pay market determined price of 450M, then get out and go home back to Norway.

  • Ager ye log licence old price ma renewal karwana chahty hain to call price bi 2014 wali charge karni chahye

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