ISLAMABAD: The wireless and internet service providers have said that the proposed revisions in their licensing regime by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) will lead to mismanagement and distortions in the industry.

The Wireless & Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (Wispas) has expressed concerns that the new proposed licensing template for Data Class Value Added Services (CVAS) will foster a culture of “ill-practices”.

Wispas has stressed the need to address disparities in the current licensing framework and promote broadband proliferation in the country. However, they believe the proposed changes will not achieve the intended goal of promoting internet access, especially in deprived areas of the country.

While the PTA has stated that over the span of two decades, significant changes have unfolded in the market dynamics and technological landscape, and the existing Data CVAS Licence was not compatible with these technological changes, a revision in the Data CVAS Licence for the provision of internet services in the country was deemed imminent.

Wispas Chairman Shahzad Arshad wrote to the PTA that the new proposed regime directs D-CVAS operators to obtain fibre infrastructure from LL operators, but it will make them dependent upon LL operators who are also involved in the D-CVAS business.

“Besides, the changes will benefit existing cable TV operators who have already obtained licences from Pemra, whereas PTA was not allowing existing D-CVAS operators to lay their fibre cables, nor was Pemra issuing new cable licences as this sector was already oversaturated.”

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2024

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