Paktel and Insta must pay dues before close of business: PTA -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Paktel and Insta must pay dues before close of business: PTA

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Monday said that since Paktel and Instaphone are defaulters of $29.1 and $58.2 million, respectively, on account of licence fees, would never be allowed to wind up their operations.Briefing the newsmen on issues pertaining to telecom sector, the PTA chairman, Shahzad Alam Malik, upset by the poor telecommunication services in the country, warned Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) and cellular companies to improve services, or be prepared for action. The PTA chairman said that “the regulator takes full responsibility that the services of the above said two companies would not stop and 1.4 million subscribers of Paktel and three hundreds thousands of Instaphone would be taken care of” he added.

It may be recalled that the Millicom International, parent company of Paktel, had to pay $29 million on account of license fee. It should have to clear their dues before taking any final decision. The Instaphone, whose payment on account of licence fee instalment is due, also wants to sell it out. Giving details, the regulator said both the Paktel and Instaphone had got license renewed during 2004 and 2005, respectively, against an Initial License Fee (ILF) $291 million each. The operator had defaulted the Paktel on account of $29.1 million instalment, which was due in October 2006. In addition to ILF, the operator owes approx. Rs 19 million to the Authority on account of numbering charges and RBS dues.

He said that the Paktel had requested to defer its ILF instalment, which the Authority turned down. In the case of Instaphone, he said its license was renewed in 2005 on ILF of $291 million. The schedule of payment of 50 per cent of ILF was spread over a period of three years. The operator had paid $21.55 million so far from total outstanding of ILF $58.2 million thus $36.65 million are yet to be paid. In addition, the company has also defaulted in paying total outstanding of Rs 119 million against Annual License Fee, USF, R&D, Numbering Charges and Spectrum Administration fee, he added.

“The company has also not provided Annual Audited Accounts for the year ended December 31, 2005 following which a show cause notice to Pakcom (Instaphone) was served giving 30 days time to explain its position. The PTA will take further action after the expiry of this period in the light of provisions of Telecom Act,” he added. About other issues including Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and Quality of Services (QoS), Shahzada Alam said the MNP implementation was being delayed mainly because of PTCL failure in upgrading its system. He said the PTA had directed all concerned operators to upgrade their switches for early implementation of MNP after finalising a process guidelines for cellular mobile operators as well as for subscribers, which was discussed at length in the recent board meeting of operators.

The Telecordia has handed over the hardware and software for implementation and after testing between operators it is expected that system would be on by January/February 2007, he maintained. The PTA chairman, gravely disappointed over the telecommunication service in the country, also hinted at what he underlined an early countrywide Quality of Service (QoS) survey to bring about an improvement in the standards of services. The authority, he said had taken the strong exception of prevalent trend in quality and the problems being faced by cell phone users in the shape of severe congestion, call connection errors, frequent call drops and excessive and unjustified billing. The companies to take appropriate measures to improve QoS before the conduct of this survey otherwise the regulator would have no other option but to take action as per provision of the Telecom Act.
Source: B/Recorder
Date:12/5/2006