PTA Proposes 15 Year Licenses for Small Telcos

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is proposing 15-year licenses for small companies to operate as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs).

MVNOs don’t own any spectrum but use the networks of established Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to provide mobile services. According to the PTA this initiative aims to boost investment and improve mobile services in remote areas.

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PTA has prepared a revised draft of the MVNO framework and published it on its website after gathering feedback from industry and other stakeholders. The draft is open for further comments for the next 14 days to finalize it.

In response to industry feedback, PTA has proposed reducing the MVNO license fee from $5 million to $140,000. This significant decrease is intended to encourage more investment in the MVNO sector, allowing small companies to enter the market and provide their branded services through revenue-sharing agreements with MNOs.

According to the draft, the MVNOs can make commercial agreements with one or multiple MNOs, and vice versa. MVNOs can use their own brand names, marketing strategies, and customer care services, but they are not allowed to install any radio or core network equipment.

MVNOs can also offer customized services alongside those provided by their parent MNOs. PTA will not intervene in the commercial deals between MNOs and MVNOs but will issue licenses once all requirements are met. The agreement between MNOs and MVNOs must be approved by the PTA, and any changes require prior approval.

According to the draft framework, the quality of service is a key responsibility for MVNOs. They must ensure their customers receive high-quality services, as they will hold their own brand name and market their own SIM cards. MVNOs must also ensure uninterrupted services from their parent MNOs.

Financially, parent MNOs will pay all regulatory fees and contributions based on the combined revenues from both MNO and MVNO services. MVNOs will pay annual numbering charges through their parent MNOs.

The initial license term for MVNOs will be 15 years, with the possibility of renewal. However, if the agreement between an MVNO and MNO is terminated, the MVNO’s license will also be suspended or canceled.

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