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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has renewed licenses of three cellular mobile companies for Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan at a total fee of $40.5 million for a term of 15 years. The three cellular mobile operators i.e. Telenor Pakistan, PMCL (Jazz), and PTML (Ufone) have deposited payment (50 percent of the PTA determined license fee) amounting to Rs 3.19 billion against their license renewal fee with the PTA.

The authority has renewed Telenor, Ufone and Jazz cellular licenses at $13.5 million each for a term of 15 years.

The cellular license renewal ceremony for Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan was held at the PTA Headquarters, Islamabad, which was attended by Federal Secretary for IT and Telecommunication, Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput, Chairman PTA, Major General Amir Azim Bajwa (retired), Member Finance PTA, Muhammad Naveed and Member Compliance and Enforcement PTA, Dr Khawar Siddique Khokhar, Executive Director, Frequency Allocation Board (FAB), Joint Secretary Gilgit-Baltistan Council, Deputy Secretary (Finance) and Deputy Secretary (Welfare and Development) AJK Council, and senior officers of the PTA.

CEOs of Telenor, Jazz, and Ufone along with senior representatives of the CMOs also attended the event.

Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haq, through an official statement, congratulated the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir on the successful completion of this phase. We wish the people of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan the best and quality cellular services, Haq said.

He further said that mobile phone companies should ensure quality services to consumers. Residents of remote areas deserve as much right as mobile phone service and broadband, said the minister, adding that additional spectrum auction for Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to be completed soon.

The chairman PTA lauded the efforts of the cellular operators for playing a crucial role in providing connectivity across these regions.

He also appreciated the tireless efforts of concerned officials of the PTA, FAB, and MoIT for timely conclusion of the renewal process.

He further stated that the AJK and the G-B are the prime areas of tourism in Pakistan and the license renewal will pave the way for provision of 3G/4G and Next Generation Mobile Services to the consumers of these areas as well to the tourists.

Continuous efforts are being made to bring state-of-the-art telecommunication services to far-flung areas enabling access to a multitude of opportunities for businesses, education, and health. Rajput congratulated the mobile operators on renewal of licenses. He said that the AJK and G-B have immense importance in government policies, and it is the government's priority to provide advanced telecom services in these regions.

He said that there are vast opportunities for public-private collaboration in various sectors including telecoms.

Due to license renewals, this will not only contribute towards uninterrupted provision of better telecom services to the people of AJK and G-B but will also help in promotion of competition and investment in the telecom sector.

According to Telenor Pakistan, the PTA has renewed its license to operate in the AJK and G-B to continue empowering the region through its connectivity services. The license renewal signing ceremony took place at the PTA headquarter in Islamabad, which was attended by Major General Amir Azeem Bajwa (retired), Chairman PTA, Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO Telenor Pakistan, and its management.

As the first operator to provide its services in this region, Telenor Pakistan has established itself as a market leader over the years.

The license, which would have expired on 25th June 2021 is being renewed for 15 years. Speaking on the occasion, Irfan Wahab Khan, Chief Executive Officer Telenor Pakistan said: "In this digital age, smart connectivity has become a necessary utility and Telenor Pakistan is committed to continue serving the people of AJK and G-B through provision of Next Generation Mobile Services. Over the years, we have taken steps to build digital infrastructure in the region that enable access to digital and financial inclusion. Driven by our purpose, we will continue our efforts to advance smart connectivity by introducing modern technologies and services for people of AJK and G-B."

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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