Telecom Industry of Pakistan is worried due to continuous delay in the finalization of license renewal policy for mobile operators. But what are the main problems that are causing the delay in the process and what solutions are available to resolve these problems?
The first issue is the currency of the renewal fees, government believes that mobile operators should pay the fee in dollars which will result in inflow of millions of dollars for the government.
Three out of four cellular operators in Pakistan are completely owned by the foreign investors while in the fourth is a 265 stakes, due to which government believes the renewal fees should be in dollars.
While these mobile operators earn revenue in local currency and the continuous devaluation of Pakistani rupees means more uncertainty for the telecom industry. This is why these mobile operators believe that government should charge the renewal fees in local currency.
The industry also believe that pricing should be decided for spectrum access fee and ongoing spectrum usage fees so that it can be incorporated by these cellular mobile operators in their cost.
What should be the price tag is a highly debated question, many believe that it should not be greater than $291 which was the fee for 2004. Many believe that a high renewal fee is a barrier for operators in investment and upgradation in network.
Technology neutrality is also an important matter for efficient utilization of frequency spectrum which needs consideration by government. There is also the issue of spectrum Rationalization and fragmentation.
License of two cellular mobile operators Jazz and Telenor are going to expire on May 25 while Zong’s license will expire on October. This leaves the government and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to reveal the new policy terms after consultation with all stakeholders.