PTCL row over spectrum use

19 Sep 2012

The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) has been accused by lobby group the Internet Service Providers of Pakistan (ISPAK) of causing losses of USD300 million to state coffers by illegally using spectrum. Pro Pakistan reports that ISPAK had made complaints to the Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) in December 2010 regarding additional spectrum occupied by PTCL for its CDMA2000-based ‘Evo’ service and, following an investigation, regulator Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) imposed a PKR82 million (USD859,545) fine on PTCL in September the following year. However, the operator challenged the penalty and obtained a stay order from the Islamabad High Court in November 2011. ISPAK added that by not pursuing the case in the courts, the PTA has created a ‘discriminatory regime’ for all other broadband operators who have had to pay costly spectrum fees.

PTCL has defended its use of the spectrum, claiming that it uses frequencies allocated to it by PTA in 2004. PTCL argued that the internet service providers (ISPs) represented by ISPAK were struggling to compete due to their own inefficiency.