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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved first ever Telecom Infrastructure Sharing Framework and decided to constitute a core group for monitoring and advising the ECC on prices of the essential commodities, as well as, maintaining the stocks of the strategic products.

The meeting of the ECC presided over by the Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar on Tuesday approved first ever Telecom Infrastructure Sharing Framework after it was informed that the Ministry of IT & Telecommunication and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) have finalised the first ever Telecom Infrastructure Sharing framework after multiple and extensive consultations with the industry (telecom operators, telecom infrastructure and tower providers).

The ECC was informed that telecom network deployment involves heavy CAPEX and OPEX liabilities for operators, which is a barrier to increasing mobile broadband proliferation. Further, legal and regulatory complications related to the Right of Way for the licensed operators could cause roll-out delays.

Rs70bn invested in telecom infrastructure & digital connectivity in last 3 years: Amin

The meeting was told that telecom infrastructure sharing is a broad term which generally refers to the sharing of telecom network components and associated infrastructure, which promotes resource optimisation of the telecom network infrastructure by reducing costs, conserving resources, and managing infrastructure and maintenance risks in order to help accelerate network rollout.

This enables operators to focus on competition in the service layer regardless of the extent of the sharing.

The Telecom Policy 2015 states that infrastructure sharing (passive and active) will be provided based on the regulations and guidelines established by PTA, in consultation with the federal government, on the principles of neutrality, non-discrimination and equal access.

The guidelines will take account of established international best practices.

The ECC meeting reviewed the performance and trends of key economic indicators and CPI of various essential items presented by Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives and decided to constitute a core group.

The core group comprising Secretary Planning, Commerce, Food Security and Industry will have the mandate to present concrete proposals for monitoring and advise the ECC on prices of the essential commodities, as well as, maintaining the stocks of the strategic products.

On a summary of Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunication for approval of Telecom Infrastructure sharing Framework, the ECC after discussion approved the proposal.

The ECC also approved another summary for the release of IMT spectrum for improvement of the Next Generation mobile broadband services in Pakistan. The ECC approved the constitution of an advisory committee for the release of the unsold IMT Spectrum along with its terms of reference.

A summary of Ministry of Industries & Production regarding change of name from M/S Tuwairqi Steel Mills LTD (TSML) to National Steel Complex LTD (NSCL) was also considered by the Committee. The ECC gave in principle approval to the proposal, subject to further review and endorsement by the Law division.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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