PTA’s Directive to ISPs to Launch Rs. 600 Internet Package Backfires

A Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) directive to fixed line operators asking them to launch cheap internet packages during the COVID-19 pandemic has backfired.

PTA had asked these operators to launch a special package for people who are working from home as well as students taking classes online. The package details included 2 Mbps speeds and a monthly limit of 40 GB at a price of less than Rs. 600 per month.

The letter sent to operators said that the coronavirus outbreak demands special packages from ISPs as the lock-down had forced the masses to work from home and students to take online classes.

“In this time of crisis, every segment of society is contributing to help the nation”, said the PTA letter.

PTA asked ISPs to submit compliance report by April 7th, 2020.

The ISPs, through ISPAK — a body that comprises of internet service providers —  have termed the directive “irrational” and instead pointed out PTA’s inaction over several key matters:

  • No action taken for abolishing minimum 8% tax, exemption from 12.5% federal advance income tax and 19.5% provincial service tax on Internet.
  • No action taken in reducing import and regulatory duties and taxes on telecom hardware.
  • No action taken, which is required from PTA under Telecom Act, when owners of ROW use strong-arm tactics against operators and extort money, despite having valid ROW permits and agreements.
  • No action taken on implementing a national policy of uniformed cost-based right of way (ROW) charges.
  • No action taken, which is required from PTA under Telecom Act, when FTTH networks of FLOs are willfully damaged and sabotaged by miscreants. Operators are forced to deploy their own security and vigilance staff thus increasing difficulty and cost of doing business.

ISPs, through a letter written by ISPAK to PTA, said that as normal broadband packages are currently around 10Mbps speeds, lowering them to 2 Mbps would not be viable for anyone.

They further said that it would be nightmare for FLOs to identify students and those working from home.

“Every home has a student. This means all home customers will shift to this package. With corporate revenues already dried up, PTA wants to make sure that all fixed-line operators die economically and lay off their employees.”

ISPs further urged PTA to take the following steps under the head of COVID-19 relief efforts if they really want to help the industry and aid the economy:

  • Abolish PTA regulatory fee (0.5% of revenues) for one year.
  • Abolish USF (1.5%) and Ignite (0.5%) contributions for one year. The government has previously collected billions from telcos for USF and Ignite contributions and utilization of these funds have been very low. These funds were diverted to Federal Consolidated Fund and used elsewhere in violation of the Telecom Act.
  • Abolish 12.5% advance income tax and 19.5% provincial sales tax thus giving 32% direct relief to Internet users.
  • Abolish right of way fees across Pakistan for one year.
  • Reduce cost of wholesale Internet bandwidth of upstream providers from current $2.5/Mbits/month to $0.5/Mbis/month (as per international prices) and delink it with USD so that internet users can get 50-100 Mbps speed broadband at affordable price.

“We sincerely hope that PTA will contribute to help the nation, internet users and its licensees in these testing times”, concluded the reply from ISPs.

Update

A PTA spokesperson, while commenting on above story, said that PTA had written letters to licensed fixed line operators to launch pro-consumer offers in the wake of COVID-19.

He said that above retaliatory comments are from ISPAK, and not from fixed line operators.

He said that PTA issued such directives strictly as per rules and that licensed fixed line operators are legally bound to respond to PTA by complying to authority’s instructions.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • Shabash to our ISP’s to stand up for their employees and their right as business entity… Govt employees are safe because in the times like these they are still sucking up tax payers for their payment, yes bring down the taxation rates on ISP’s and they will bring down the rates for customers as well…

  • “ISPs said that as normal broadband packages are currently around 10Mbps speeds, lowering them to 2 Mbps would not be viable for anyone.”
    bhai kaha pei 10 mbps dei rahe ho normally?
    har kisi k pas 4 mbps hai

  • 2Mbps speed for Rs 600. Shame on PTA and the internet service providers. They should provide at least 20Mbps speed for this price.

      • the reason you guys are getting down voted is because you need to think Pakistani mobile operators make some of least profits in the world. Check the neighbour India even their general packages are higher than us.

        PTA can’t just say you need to provide X service for Y amount as no one in the world runs a business to incur losses. Especially when they are not willing to reduce the taxes in this Pandemic.

        PTA should tax free the industry until the end of COVID – 19 Pandemic and then ask operators to contribute.

        Tali eik hath sy nai bajti

  • Hi
    This is typical mind set of pak govt
    5 marla house
    800 cc car 1300 cc considered luxary
    5 sims
    2 rs ki roti
    6 rs ka samosa
    Now add 600 wala 40 GB

    What a stupid and poor thought by the extra ordinary ppl at PTA.

  • Nayatel is offering minimum bandwidth packages of 10Mbps broadband Internet, it is only PTCL which is still offering 4Mbps and that too at a cost of approx 3000

  • Shame on government asking for releif from private sectors instead of giving itself… What about the prices of suger flour n other items no directions for these mill owners becoz all are father of imran khan

  • Besharm PTA vlo tax lelo pr ye step tu krdo….
    Reduce cost of wholesale Internet bandwidth of upstream providers from current $2.5/Mbits/month to $0.5/Mbis/month (as per international prices) and delink it with USD so that internet users can get 50-100 Mbps speed broadband at affordable price

  • 2Mbps, what joke. Even early Egyptian civilization could’ve used more bandwidth. Are you really expecting work from home that involves repeated video conference calls on 2Mbps? Is there someone literate in PTA?

    • the reason you guys are getting down voted is because you need to think Pakistani mobile operators make some of least profits in the world. Check the neighbour India even their general packages are higher than us.

      PTA can’t just say you need to provide X service for Y amount as no one in the world runs a business to incur losses. Especially when they are not willing to reduce the taxes in this Pandemic.

      PTA should tax free the industry until the end of COVID – 19 Pandemic and then ask operators to contribute.

      Tali eik hath sy nai bajti

  • oo BC main 1600 rupay wale internet pe 600 rupiya TAX day raha hoon yani 1600+600=2200. 2200 rupay deta hoon witribe k 3mbps unlimited internet kay. [this is not mobile broadband which is expensive, its wimax which should be priced like wired broadband].
    itna zayada to tax hi hai…BC tax katam karo sara khud net sasta ho jayega. idhar BC 600 600 ka tax do…dallon nay awam ki b**d mari hui hai.
    aur yahi nai….mobile card load karnay pay tax do phir har call/sms ka wakhra tax do. inki toh mainnn… LAKH DI LANAT 🖐🖐🖐


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