Mobile Virtual Network Operator
By Jawwad Rizvi
LAHORE: The Ministry of Information and Technology (MoIT) has asked the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to follow rules and regulations and abide by law for issuing licences to the Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) at a just fee.
The News has learnt from reliable sources that the MoIT had also sought the opinion of the Law Ministry on the fee issue of the MVNO as the PTA had increased the recommended fee of $10,000 to $5 million without any justification.
An expert involved in the making of the MVNOs Framework of 2006 said that the MVNOs provide telephony and value added services to their clients from time purchased from cellular networks, as such, MVNOs do not need to own spectrum or infrastructure so there is no justification for demanding huge fee.
An official related to this development in MoIT on the condition of anonymity mentioned that the government did not want to be engaged in any litigation in this regard. The Chairman PTA, Dr Yasin responding to The News has said that the Authority did not want to repeat the mistake of WLL in which the service providers had run away with the public money.
“The PTA wants to introduce new licensing regime in case of MVNO,” he said adding that some big MVNO of the world had shown interest in Pakistani cellular business. “The PTA has been focusing on quality of service and under the existing MVNO Framework no one will be responsible for quality not the cellular operator nor MVNO operator,” Dr Yasin added.
The two largest mobile phone companies are strenuously opposing the idea to keep the license fee low thereby discouraging most companies from entering the market, industry sources said. The CEO of a Norwegian mobile phone operator in the country, in a recent interview, expressed his view that Pakistan’s telecom market would have to consolidate before the government can even consider a planned pushed into third generation technology.
MoITT in its letter earlier on April 04, 2007, in response to PTAÂ’s consultative paper on review of MVNOs framework issued by the Authority vide circular No. 8-31/05/WLL&M/PTA dated March 20, 2006, had suggested $10,000 or equivalent to Pakistan rupees as 100 per cent license fee. However, recently PTA made a sudden shift in their approach and decided to fix $5 million license fee for MVNO.
PTA had come up with the policy mandate governing framework for operation of MVNOs services, through the afore-mentioned circular in 2006 also and Ministry had submitted its comprehensive response to the initial consultative paper in which they have suggested the same fee of $10,000.
Source: The News