Islamabad: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has received Rs19.39 billion (equivalent to USD 98.49 million) against third instalment of licence renewal fee from two Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) Telenor Pakistan and Pakistan Mobile Communication Ltd (Jazz).
The amount has been deposited in Federal Consolidated Fund (FCF).
With this deposit, the total deposits by PTA in FCF during the current financial year i.e. 2021-22 have become Rs102.5 billion (equivalent to USD 577 million).
The PTA had earlier received Rs15.82 billion (equivalent of USD 103.17 million) against second instalment of licence renewal fee from two CMOs including Telenor Pakistan and Pakistan Mobile Communication Ltd (Jazz). The amount was being deposited in FCF as per practice under Pakistan Telecom Re-organization Act, 1996.
Telenor Pakistan and Jazz had deposited $224.6 million (Rs35.262 billion) each (half of the amount as per court direction) as their licence renewal fee in September 2019. The government had approved renewal of licenses of two mobile operators, i.e. Jazz and Telenor Pakistan at around $450 million each.
Due to stay orders given by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), the collection of the renewal fee from two telecom companies was delayed. Cellular licences were issued by the PTA to two new cellular mobile operators i.e. Telenor Pakistan and Warid Telecom on May 26, 2004 for a period of 15 years, under the Mobile Cellular Policy, 2004, on payment of $291 million after auction.
On August 21, the IHC directed Telenor and Jazz for depositing 50 percent of licence renewal fee i.e. around Rs36 billion each in two weeks as guarantee. The operators disagreed with the PTA’s decision on fixing licence renewal fee.
The operators had also requested for grant of stay order to avoid service disruption in the country after August 21, 2019 - the date fixed by the PTA for renewal of licenses. The court had directed both the operators to deposit half of the amount, i.e. 50 percent as guarantee till the final decision on the appeal of both cellular operators.
The PTA had rejected mobile operators’ apprehensions relating to the price of licence renewal and passed an order, while fixing the fee for licence renewal at $39.5 million per MHz for frequency spectrum of 900MHz and $29.5 million per MHz for frequency spectrum of 1800 MHz.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022