Telenor signs off on Pakistan licence renewal amidst legal challenge

Telenor signs off on Pakistan licence renewal amidst legal challenge

Telenor Pakistan has signed the GSM licence renewal template created by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) “under protest and without prejudice” to maintain continuity of its services.

The Nation reported that Telenor has signed the template “to ensure greater certainty” that its operations in the market can continue, and that the operator will continue its legal challenge to the PTA’s decision. The dispute is currently sub-judice before Pakistan’s Supreme Court.

Alongside fellow operator Jazz, Telenor Pakistan took legal action against the PTA in early 2019 after the regulator raised the prices of their concessions to almost US$450 million the month that they were due for renewal. TeleGeography reports that the Islamabad High Court ruled against the operators earlier this year on the grounds that licence fees are set at the PTA’s discretion.

Both Telenor and Jazz have paid their licence fees as the case continues, with Jazz completing its licence renewal in October having paid US$333.64 million of its US$449.2 million total fee.

In comparison, state-backed provider Ufone was able to renew its licence in 2016 for US$291 million. The PTA argues that it raised the price of the concessions to reflect the bids for spectrum in its latest round of auctions.

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