3G/4G licenses fee: over $964 million received from telecom operators -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

3G/4G licenses fee: over $964 million received from telecom operators

Pakistan Press Foundation

The government has received over $964 million (about 80 percent) from the telecom operators against 3G/4G licenses fee and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will award the licenses for commercial use Thursday (today). Besides the licenses fee, the government has also received Rs 11 billion from telecom operators under tax head at the rate of 10 percent advance tax on the auction sale price, said Anusha Rehman, State Minister for Information Technology.

The auction held by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority last month helped the government raise $902.82 million in the first auction for 3G mobile phone networks and $210 million for the 4G spectrum. Zong and Mobilink have paid the whole amount, ie, $516 million (3G and 4G) and $300.9 million for 3G license, respectively while Ufone and Telenor opted to pay 50 percent of the winning bid amount of 3G licenses, the minister said while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology, which met with Captain Mohammad Safdar (Retd) in the chair on Wednesday.

She further said that a ceremony has been arranged on Thursday where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would award 3G and 4G licenses to the winners. The committee met to discuss ways and means to enhance co-operation between Ministry of Information Technology and its attached departments with other public sector departments to make them efficient, self-sufficient, revenue generation units instead of revenue seekers and to control forgery. The committee acknowledged the efforts of the minister for taking keen interest in providing better mobile services and also introducing e-governance system in various government departments. The committee further recommended that IT Ministry may collaborate with others ministries/departments as well to include them in e-government system for smooth functioning and better maintenance of record.

The committee also raised the issue of jammers operation at sensitive buildings, including the Supreme Court and Parliament after the introduction of 3G and 4G services. It questioned what measures have been taken in this regard. Mudassir Hussain Member Telecom IT Ministry said that Frequency Allocation Board and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) are going to conduct a survey in this regard soon. On this the committee recommended that measures should be taken in next 3-4 days to address security concerns.

The committee suggested that Pakistan State Oil (PSO) may improve/maintain the quality of their lubricants and ensure quality standard by coded seals to discourage the dubious products. The committee recommended that PSO may also advertise their products on electronic and print media and issue prepaid fuel cards to truckers in order to enhance their business and facilitate the clientage.

PSO Managing Director Amjad Pervez Janjua informed the committee that entire supply chain of the company and even its budget could be approved online. PSO is re-launching the pre-paid cards to facilitate its customers. Some committee members have also shown concern over the PSO card, stating that most of the time it fails to work.

State Bank of Pakistan officials informed the committee that to protect and secure its information assets from external threats, SBP has implemented various security systems and controls. SBP network is protected by data encryption, firewalls & proxy servers, intrusion detection & prevention and antivirus services. All interbank emails are protected using Transport Layer Security (TLS).

The parliamentary panel lauded Nadra’s role for introducing various software to assist government departments and recommended that IT Ministry in collaboration with Nadra may bring IT revolution especially to control crime, forgery, fake documentation and increase customer protection facilities. The committee also urged the need that ministry may introduce the speedy births and deaths registration system in rural and far-flung areas at union council level in collaboration with Nadra. The Committee also recommended that ministry may provide services to the State Bank of Pakistan for prevention of bonds theft. The committee constituted five sub-committees on various issues which would submit their reports as early as possible.

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