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Licenses of Jazz and Telenor are set to licenses today

Lahore : The GSMA today raised serious concerns over the unreasonable
fees set by the government and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on operators renewing mobile spectrum licenses in Pakistan, which it believes pose a significant risk to the mobile connectivity of millions of citizens.

On 25 May, the licenses of two of the country’s largest mobile operators – Jazz and Telenor – are set to expire. Under the current conditions operators are being asked to pay $450m to renew their licenses (more than double the dollar price at which operators originally acquired licenses at auction in 2004), or discontinue operations, which would mean disconnecting
millions of customers.

A third operator, Zong is also due to renew its license this year.

The GSMA warns that the high fees proposed for renewing these licenses will slow the development of Pakistan’s digital economy and seriously affect operators’ ability to invest and support affordable services. The mobile industry association raised its concerns today in a letter to the PTA and Frequency Allocation Board (FAB).

“It’s consumers that will lose out from imposing unfair conditions that put operators’ businesses in jeopardy,” said Brett Tarnutzer, Head of Spectrum, GSMA. “We’ve already seen the damaging consequences that high spectrum prices have on coverage and quality of service in other countries. It’s important that Pakistan doesn’t repeat these mistakes, and place gaining inflated revenues from spectrum licenses above the connectivity of its
citizens.”

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