The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has formally approved the renewal of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited’s (PTCL) licence for the next 25 years, which will take effect from January 1, 2021.
The government had issued the licence to PTCL on January 1, 1997 for 25 years up to December 31, 2020.
The licence is technology neutral and will allow PTCL to provide all state-of-the-art telecom services under the renewed licence except mobile services across the country in 14 telecom regions.
In a bid to enhance the quality of services (QoS) parameters, the renewed licence entails conditions which include 5% annual increase in Next Generation Access Network connections and QoS parameters as per international standards.
The new licence binds PTCL in several ways including improvement in consumer protection, helpline services, commercial agreement obligations and others. The licence fee includes 0.66% of annual gross revenue of PTCL, while 0.5% and 2% of annual gross revenue will be paid as annual licence fee and USF plus R&D Fund respectively.
PTCL will deposit charges for the already allocated wireless local loop (WLL) spectrum in US dollars on an annual basis and will be able to use radio frequency spectrum till 2024, as per the existing allocation.
The company will have to ensure consumer data privacy and network security as per licence conditions and the telecom regulator will monitor service quality periodically, as it was done for other telecom companies.
Meanwhile, PTCL said that the company initiated the renewal process by formally requesting the PTA in June 2018. Lengthy discussions continued between PTCL and the regulator as per government policies and current telecom regime in the country.
In a statement, PTCL and Ufone Group Chief Regulatory Officer Naveed Khalid Butt said that the company went through massive transformation since its inception. “It is now focusing to keep Pakistan digitally connected, providing better services to its customers, partners and stakeholders.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2021.
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