Pakistan telecommunication authority is a regulatory body for monitoring the telecommunication business in Pakistan. It frames rules and regulations for private telecom companies such as Mobile phone companies, Internet service providers, paging companies and pay card phone companies. It also issues license to the new companies entering to this business.
|Key People:||Syed Ismail Shah,Mr. Tariq Sultan,Mr. Abdul Samad,|
|Owner:||Syed Ismail Shah|
|Phone#:||+92-51-9207059, 9218258, 9225325|
|Adress:||CPD, PTA Headquarters, Sector F- 5/1, Islamabad.|
|Rawalpindi office:||House # 161, Street # 09, Chaklala Scheme III, Rawalpindi.|
|Karachi office:||Wireless Compound, Nappier Barracks, Opp: J.P.M.C., Karachi|
|Phone #:||+92-21-35655437, 35680101|
|Lahore office:||Adjacent Cantt. Telephone Exchange, 165- Abid Majid Road, Lahore Cantt.|
|Phone #:||+92-42-36602192, 36602193, 36665022|
The Pakistan Telecommunication Ordinance 1994, established the primary regulatory framework for the telecommunication industry including the establishment of an authority. Thereafter, Telecommunication (Re-Organization) Act no XVII was promulgated in 1996 that aimed to reorganize the telecom sector of Pakistan. Under Telecom Reorganization Act 1996, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) was established to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of telecommunication systems, and the provision of telecom services.
PTA has its headquarters at Islamabad and zonal offices located at Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawalpindi, Gilgit Baltistan and Muzaffarabad.
Functions of PTA
Following are functional duties of PTA
- Regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of telecommunication systems and the provision of telecommunication services in Pakistan.
- Receive and expeditiously dispose of applications for the use of radio-frequency spectrum
- Promote and protect the interests of users of telecommunication services in Pakistan
- Promote the availability of a wide range of high quality, efficient, cost effective and
competitive telecommunication services throughout Pakistan;
- Promote rapid modernization of telecommunication systems and telecommunication
- Investigate and adjudicate on complaints and other clams made against licensees arising out
of alleged contraventions of the provisions of this Act, the rules made and licences issued there under and take action accordingly.
- Make recommendations to the Federal Government on policies with respect to international telecommunications, provision of support for participation in international meetings and agreements to be executed in relation to the routing of international traffic and accounting settlements.
- Perform such other functions as the Federal Government may, from time to time, assign to it.
Powers of the Authority
The Authority shall exercise all powers as shall enable it to effectively perform its functions specified in section 4. In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, the Authority shall:
- Grant and renew licences for any telecommunication system and any telecommunication service on payment of such fees as it may, from time to time, specify
- Monitor and enforce licences
- Receive applications for the use of radio frequency spectrum and, subject, where applicable,to grant of licences under clause (a), refer such applications to the Board for assignment of spectrum within a period of thirty days.
- Modify licences or conditions thereof in accordance with section 21 of section 22.
- Establish or modify accounting procedure for licences and regulate tariffs for telecommunication service in accordance with sections 25 and 26.
- Regulate the transfer of licences.
- Prescribe standards for telecommunication equipment and terminal equipment, certify compliance of such equipment with prescribed standards, and issue approvals of terminal equipment and of approved installers under section 29.
Provide guidelines for, and determine, the terms of inter-connection arrangements between licensees where the parties to those arrangements are unable to agree upon such terms;
- Carry out inspections of telecommunication equipment and any premises owned or occupied by the licencees and summon any person for investigation and an enquiry.
- Appoint an Administrator in circumstances provided in section 23.
- Develop national telecommunication numbering plans.
- Collect information with respect to telecommunications within and outside Pakistan and review the impact thereof.
- Enter into contracts.
- Acquire, lease, encumber, dispose of, exchange, vest or otherwise deal with any moveabl or immovable property or any interest therein.
- Issue regulations for exercising its powers and performance of its functions.
Responsibilities of the authority
In exercising its functions and powers under this Act, the Authority shall ensure that-
- Rights of licensees are duly protected;
- All of its decisions and determinations are made promptly, in an open equitable, nondiscriminatory, consistent and transparent manner;
- All applications made to it are disposed of expeditiously;
- The persons affected by its decisions or determinations are given a due notice thereof and provided with an opportunity of being heard;
- It encourages, except subject to the exclusive right of the Company in basic telephone service, fair competition in the telecommunication sector; and
- The interest of users of telecommunication services are duly safeguarded and protected.
- PTA issue licenses in following:
- Cellular Mobile
- Long Distance & International
- Local Loop
- Class VAS Licenses
- Infrastructure License
- RBS Applications
- List of Operators
- Fee Schedule
- Spectrum Allocation
Cellular Mobile Licensing
PTA, has given number of Mobile, Fixed Line licenses to operators for services in Pakistan.
- Currently there are four cellular mobile operators in Pakistan i.e. Telenor Pakistan, Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited (PMCL/Jazz), PTML (Ufone), and China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak/Zong) are providing services using GSM, WCDMA and LTE etc.
- In Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB), there are six cellular mobile operators i.e. Jazz, Telenor, Ufone, CMPak, Warid and Special Communication Organization (SCO) are providing services in the said area. The operators have covered most part of the AJ&K and have also extended services to main localities of GB. Now, as a result of this, mobile services with data facilities are available in far flung mountainous areas of the country. The process for Next Generation Mobile services Award has already begun and soon people of AJ&K and GB will enjoy the high speed wireless broadband services in their areas.
- Cellular Mobile licensing is however dependent on Policy Directive from the respective Government. Upon receipt of such a directive PTA carries out licensing process which includes preparation of Information Memorandum, consultation with prospective applicants, auction and subsequent award of the license/spectrum.
PTA policy regarding stolen smart phones
The launch of 3G/4G services in Pakistan has immensely increased the influx of smart phones and other mobile devices. During this, millions of Illegal, smuggled and stolen mobile handsets, tablets and replica devices were floated in the country. In order to deal with the inflow of illegal/invalid mobile phones in the country, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is launching a system called “Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS)” that will essentially eliminate any illegal or smuggled phones and devices in Pakistan. PTA says that the system is designed to detect sub-standard, fake, stolen/snatched and illegally imported mobile phones operating in the country and block them forever from operating on local mobile networks.
Benefits of PTA DIRBS for Users
- Blocking of substandard and fake phones will improve quality of service as such phones are health hazarious and provide users with degraded quality of service.
- Denying service to stolen/snatched phones will reduce the incentive for the people involved in criminal practices there by lowring mobile snatching incidents
- The menace of illegal imports will be eliminated and legitimate businesses will flourish, providing opportunity for mobile operators to offer better packages to customers such as sale of top end smart phones on easy installments, better after sales service for mobile phones etc.
PTA to introduce price floor regime for telecom sector
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has decided to introduce price floor regime for mobile broadband services, in order to address the issue of unhealthy competition and protect and maintain the profitability of the telecom sector. The regulatory body has planned to set minimum level of retail prices for mobile data and broadband services, while the minimum mobile broadband speed would also be realised upwards.
In this regard, PTA has sought consultation from all telecom users, stakeholders, interested persons and the general public requesting them to submit their comments on the issue. “The current pricing mechanism under intense competition among mobile operators was not sustainable for a longer term. Resultantly, it may slow down investment in the broadband network, which was required continuously to meet the quality of service standards and bandwidth requirements of 3G and 4G and other digital services,” reasoned PTA in the consultation paper.
Expected effects of this mechanism
The telecom regulator, highlighting the benefits of proposed mechanism, said it would lead to introduction of healthy and competitive regime and would enhance the quality of service that satisfies growing needs of the consumers with specific reference to digitalisation of services. “Introduction of price floor regime would increase confidence of the consumers in use of mobile broadband by reducing free access with potential non-social use of social media and channelizing the youth in a more creative direction. Also it would ensure long term sustainability of the telecom industry in consultation and collaboration with all stakeholders including consumers, government and operators.”