The government of Pakistan has received payment amounting to US$ 449.2 million (equivalent of around PKR 71 billion) from two cellular companies respectively as their licence renewal fee.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the license renewal fee of telecom companies collected by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is a significant source of non-tax revenue for the federal government.
Telenor Pakistan confirmed ProPakistani that it has made the said payment.
“Staying committed to Pakistan and our 44 million customer, Telenor Pakistan confirms that it has made a sizeable payment of USD 224.6 million to the Government of Pakistan towards renewal of its GSM license”, said Kamal Ahmed, Chief Carporate Affairs Officer, Telenor Pakistan.
He went on to comment that move was made after his company voluntarily offered to pay the license renewal fee under protest two weeks ago.
“Telenor Pakistan believes that this significant FDI contribution is in line with its vision of social empowerment and will benefit the economy of Pakistan. As for the matter of license renewal, it is sub judice and we cannot further on the issue”, the spokesperson said.
Progress on Cellular Companies License Renewal.
Government received Rs 35.2 billion from Jazz and US$ 224.6 million from Telenor in partial settlement for their cellular license renewal. Good News for the telecom industry and revenue collection of the federal government.
— Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh (@a_hafeezshaikh) September 3, 2019
It maybe recalled here that due to stay orders given by the apex court, the collection of this renewal fee from two telecom companies, which was budgeted in previous fiscal year, had been delayed.
While the case is still pending a decision, Islamabad High Court (IHC) last month directed Telenor and Jazz for depositing 50 percent of license renewal fee i.e. around Rs 36 billion each in two weeks as guarantee.
The operators were in disagreement with PTA’s decision on fixing license renewal fee. The operators had also requested for grant of stay order to avoid service disruption in the country after August 21, 2019—the date fixed by PTA for renewal of licenses.
The court had directed both the operators to deposit half of the amount i.e. 50 percent as guarantee till the final decision on the appeal of both cellular operators.
PTA had rejected mobile operators’ apprehensions relating to the price of licence renewal and passed an order while fixing the fee for license renewal at $39.5 million per MHz for frequency spectrum of 900 MHz and $29.5 million per MHz for frequency spectrum of 1800 MHz.
Both operators were asked to pay $449.2 million for the spectrum. However, Jazz and Telenor went into appeal against PTA decision.
Mobile licences of Telenor and Jazz expired on May 26, 2019.