PTA sets new deadline for WiLL duo to roll out infrastructure

1 Mar 2010

Pakistan’s telecoms regulator, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), has called on wireless in the local loop (WiLL) licence holders to move forward with rollouts of their respective networks or face having their concessions revoked, the Daily Times reports. It is understood that the PTA has ordered two companies, Super Dialogue and Metroltel, to establish their infrastructure in those areas that they are licensed to operator in by 20 March 2010 after both had failed to miss previously set down launch deadlines.

Both operators received their WiLL concessions in November 2004, and the two are licensed to establish, maintain and operate a network in the Gujrawala and Rawalpindi telecom regions. Initially both companies were obliged to set up at least one network connection point in each licensed region within 18 months of the licence issue. This is the third time that the PTA has agreed to push back the deadline for a full rollout, and whilst both companies continue to cite a number of difficulties in the deployment of their respective networks; the telcos have claimed that spectrum fees and recurring annual charges are partly responsible for the rollout delays. In addition interconnection is believed to remain an issue, although the regulator has conducted inspections of the WiLL operators’ sites with a view to resolving such problems. Both Super Dialogue and Metroltel have said that their individual deployment projects are nearing completion.

In August 2009 the regulator issued a show cause notice to both operators for their failure to comply with earlier deadlines. Should either operator now fail to meet the latest deadline the PTA has said that it will withdraw their unused spectrum bands and licences.