PTA Likely to Review Telecom Infrastructure Provider Licensing Framework

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is likely to review the Telecom Infrastructure Provider (TIP) licensing framework and may reorganize it for the advent of Carrier Neutral Data Centers and Cable Landing Stations infrastructure service providers by opening up the market to new entrants as well as existing licensees.

Official documents revealed that owing to increasing indigenous demand for local/international content, collection and processing of data and for improving the access to the internet, PTA is likely to organize a study to assess the prevailing market practices concerning co-locations services, cross/inter connects and cloud services and the impact of carrier-neutral data centers and cable landing stations on the existing market.

With the help of such a study, PTA will review the Telecom Infrastructure Provider (TIP) licensing framework and will reorganize it for the advent of Carrier Neutral Data Centers and Cable Landing Stations infrastructure service providers by opening up the market to new entrants as well as existing licensees.

The licensing obligations for interested investors/licensees shall be articulated in accordance with the stipulations of the Personal Data Protection Act – 2021 and other appropriate guidelines in practice.

To lower market barriers for new entrants, all telecom infrastructure and services licensees will be obliged to ensure their presence for cross/inter-connect purposes. PTA will invite international operators to host their services in such facilities by having inter/cross-connect arrangements with local licensees. No international operator will be permitted to offer their services directly in the market without having a license or a formal arrangement with a legitimate licensee under intimation to PTA.

For ensuring necessary compliance, PTA will visit such facilities periodically and will ensure maximum transparency of the different services being rendered by the facility owners.

Licensees will be obliged to establish lawful interception at all such facilities as part of licensing obligation. All such facilities will adhere to National Cybersecurity Policy – 2021 directives for securing the locations and the same will apply to all the hosted service providers.

International operators/service providers using such facilities for telephony/internet traffic transit purposes without landing the traffic locally will be exempted from lawful interception and other obligations applied on local licensees.

In this regard, a simplistic encouraging framework shall be developed by PTA in-consultation with respective stakeholders and the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) to effectively utilize the technology zones/industrial zones allocated and available areas already established in Pakistan in addition to other investment model facilitations with redundant commercial power and redundant optic connectivity ecosystems.



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