PTA Orders Zong to Vacate, Pay for Unauthorized Use of Spectrum

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has directed Zong to vacate unauthorized and illegal use of radio frequency spectrum and submit payments for the period of unauthorized use of frequency at the rate of US$29.5 Million per MHz for 15 years including late payment fee as per applicable law.

In this regard, the PTA has issued an Enforcement Order under Section 23 of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996 against China Mobile Pakistan Limited.

According to the PTA order, which is available with ProPakistani, the use/utilization of radiofrequency spectrum by CMPak Ltd in 1800 MHz band ranging from 1755.7-1762.3 / 1850.7-1857.3 MHz (6.6 + 6.6 MHz) since 23rd October, 2019 onwards is unauthorized and illegal.

According to the order, The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority renewed the non-exclusive license of Paktel Limited in 1997, which was subsequently renamed as China Mobile Pak Limited in 2007 for a period of fifteen (15) years to provide licensed cellular mobile services in Pakistan on the terms & conditions contained in the license.

The license was associated with 2 x 13.6 MHz of Radio Frequency Spectrum in 900MHz and 1800MHz bands in the following manner:

  • 882.5 – 890.1 MHz / 927.5-935.1 MHz (7.6 + 7.6 MHz)
  •  1739.7 – 1745.7 MHz / 1834.7 – 1840.7 MHz (6 + 6 MHz)

In the year 2007, CMPak Ltd reported interference in its 900 MHz EGSM band at multiple border areas/locations in Punjab and Sindh provinces. Soon after reporting of the issue of interference by CMPak Ltd, the matter was referred to the Frequency Allocation Board, a body that oversees and regulates the spectrum in the country.

It was found by the FAB that the interference experienced by CMPak Ltd was due to the Indian CDMA (Code Division Multiplexing Access) network services in the 850 MHz band operational across the eastern border of Pakistan. Moreover, it was also identified that the interference was intermittent and weather-related and mostly due to the tropospheric ducting effect.

Since CMPak Ltd had been receiving interference from the Indian CDMA networks and no cooperation was received from the Indian Administration, therefore, it was decided (during a FAB meeting of on 08th September, 2007) to assign temporary additional spectrum of 6.6 + 6.6 MHz in 1800 MHz band to CMPak Ltd to be used only within the affected areas of Punjab and Sindh.

The assignment of additional spectrum to CMPak Ltd by FAB was initially for one year and then it was extended for 03 years vide 33rd FAB’s meeting dated 29th February 2008.

Subsequently, it was extended with the same frequency as under till 2016.

  • Sindh (interference affected Karachi & Hyderabad area)
  • 1760.1 – 1766.7 (Uplink)
  •  1855.1 – 1861.7 (Downlink)
  • Punjab (interference affected border areas)
  • 1769.3– 1775.9 (Uplink)
  • 1864.3 – 1870.9 (Downlink)

In 2016, through 42nd meeting of FAB dated 19th February, 2016, the previous temporary additional assignment i.e. 1760.1 –1766.7/1855.1 – 1861.7 for interference affected Karachi & Hyderabad areas and 1769.3 – 1775.9/1864.3 – 1870.9 for interference affected border areas of Punjab was cancelled/withdrawn and new frequency spectrum ranging from 1755.7-1762.3/1850.7-1857.3 MHz (6.6 + 6.6 MHz) was assigned for utilization only in the areas affected by cross border interference due to Indian CDMA signals in Punjab and Sindh, with a condition that additional assignment will be till expiry of CMPak Ltd’s 2G (GSM) license i.e., October, 2019 or elimination of cross border interference whichever is earlier.

The relevant decision of 42nd meeting of FAB about assignment of additional spectrum was communicated to CMPak Ltd vide FAB’s letter dated 11th March, 2016.

This essentially means that the assignment of additional spectrum in 1800 MHz to CMPak Ltd was only to be remained available till 22nd October, 2019. However, CMPak Ltd continued to use/utilize the temporary additional spectrum of 6.6 MHz (i.e. 1755.7-1762.3 / 1850.7 – 1857.3 MHz (6.6 + 6.6 MHz) in 1800 MHz bands unauthorizedly and illegally.

As a result of unauthorized use of radio frequency spectrum, the Authority finally issued show-cause notice to CMPak Ltd whereby CMPak Ltd was required to remedy the contravention by closing usage of temporary additional spectrum.

CMPak Ltd replied to the SCN and denied allegation(s) leveled in the SCN, after which two hearings were also held, but PTA wasn’t contended with the response.

As a result, it issued an order again the operator and directed to not only vacate the spectrum, but also pay for it for the period it was consumed illegally.

CMPak was reached out by ProPakistani for a comment on this but a response is yet awaited.

  • Which type you have brain . Page name ProPakistani, but all written articles in English, why not Urdu our national language. Change name or same article have facility provide in Urdu

  • PTA FAB cannot regulate one thing properly. Jazz Telenor are in cases against PTA on spectrum auction and now Zong will follow the same route. If PTA think it can raise any more from new spectrum, they are fooling only themselves.

  • Matter is surely going to court. And court will first ask to PTA and FAB what they have done for the cross border interference? since Zong has already deposited 50% of the license renewal fee, decision is surely going in the favour of Zong. Because why would someone pay license fee for faulty spectrum?

    • Bro, Zong was offered fresh spectrum without any interference, but Zong is insisting to have old interfered spectrum along with free soectrum…. CHOPRIAAN AUR DO DO… Zong playing SMART and MANIPULATING..

  • Clear from the article, Zong enjoyed hefty free spectrum of 6.6 MHZ for 13 years on the name of interference @30 Mn USD per MHz. Its not PTA fault. Courts provide shelters to costly lawyers. Of course, Zong will get that, with no benefit to govt or people of Pakistan. Zong is not even reasy to get fresh spectrum without interderence rather asking for to continue compensatory spectrum… WHICH IS NOT FAIR….

    • Bro do u even know how much benifit Zong is giving to Pakistan interms of employment opportunities amd technological advancements! Don’t just comment because you hv to, first do a fair comparison! And what are your thoughts about the ones who allocated compensation spectrum to Zong! I wish they wud hv consulted you before doing that 😂 And how do you know Zong was offered a fresh spectrum, and they even rejected it 🤣

  • PTA has no idea what they are doing. Zong is the leading network in Pakistan. PTA didn’t banned Pubg and TIKTOK, they have no authority to fine on a network.

  • As a result of unauthorized use of radio frequency spectrum, the Authority finally issued show-cause notice to CMPak Ltd whereby CMPak Ltd was required to remedy the contravention by closing usage of temporary additional spectrum.

  • close