ISLAMABAD: For achieving the targets of Digital Pakistan initiative, traditional regulatory barriers need to be brought down to unlock the next level of digitalisation and it was time to move with these dynamics in the formulation of policies and regulation, Jørgen C. Rostrup, executive vice president and Head of Telenor Asia said during a webinar.
Talking to the media via video link from Singapore, Rostrup noted that the majority of the population in Pakistan is covered by a mobile internet network, but only 26 per cent of people were using the mobile internet available to them. The challenge here is to improve smartphone affordability and to increase digital literacy, he said. “It is important to close this usage gap, and help everyone have the same opportunity to access the benefits the digital world can bring” he said.
“Given Pakistan’s low levels of mobile internet usage, it is a paradox that spectrum prices are among the highest in the world,” he said adding that it was essential to get everyone connected but it becomes harder in the face of such disparity.
He suggested that there was a need for policy reform measures that would lead to a spectrum price reset.
Telenor chief urges removal of regulatory barriers for Digital Pakistan goals
Mr Rostrup said that high and disproportionate spectrum pricing negatively affects the overall business environment in Pakistan, therefore the country should create a predictable and transparent business environment to attract more FDI in the telecom sector as mobile investments have long time horizons.
Jazz to contest tax demand
Jazz is contesting FBR’s Rs25 billion disputed tax demand before the Honorable Islamabad High Court, a statement from the telecom provider said on Friday.
“Jazz strongly believes that the aforesaid assessment and order of the Appellate Tribunal is based on incorrect interpretation. As per the court’s latest order, the stay has been granted against FBR notices to Jazz subject to payment of Rs5 billion — to be deposited within 3 days of the order. Jazz will continue to contest disputed tax demand and will follow the legal process.”
Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2020