ISLAMABAD: Telenor Pakistan on Friday announced that it has signed on the renewal of its operating licence up to 2034. The company added that it will continue the court case over licensing against the telecom sector regulator Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) in the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP).
Telenor Pakistan signed on its GSM licence renewal issued by PTA under protest at the authority’s headquarters. The renewed licence has enhanced terms and conditions for coverage and Quality of Service (QoS).
Telenor Pakistan had several objections over the new terms and conditions made in the licence which was originally scheduled to be renewed in 2019.
Both Telenor and Jazz obtained operating licences in 2004 for 15 years, which expired in 2019. Both the operators developed disagreement with the PTA over the price of the renewals and additional terms and conditions.
However, after failing to resolve the issue with the telecom sector regulator, both the telcos filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). However, they finally lost the case in September this year.
Both Telenor and Jazz have challenged the decision of the IHC in SCP. Jazz decided to renew its operational licence in October by signing the agreement with PTA.
Incidentally, three out of the four telecom operators in the country are at odds with the PTA. Zong 4G is contesting a case related to spectrum against the PTA in the IHC, whereas Jazz and Telenor Pakistan are fighting cases in the apex court. However, Ufone has no legal dispute with the telecom sector regulator.
In a statement, Telenor Pakistan said the dispute with the PTA was on principled demand of providing a level playing field and fair terms and conditions for all parties.
“We believe that the coverage and quality of services will improve through joint efforts of all stakeholder involved to ensure long-term viability and sustainability of the telecom sector,” the statement said.
With more than 49 million customers, Telenor is the second largest mobile operator in Pakistan.
Commenting on the development, Telenor Pakistan CEO Irfan Wahab Khan said that there was a need for collective efforts to exploit the telecom sector’s potential and bring greater value to consumers. “We look forward to the resolution of industry issues and the support from PTA towards ensuring a more conducive regulatory environment in the country,” he added.
Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2021