Zong demands compensation and new spectrum over interference

20 Oct 2015

China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak), which operates under the Zong brand, has sent a legal notice to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) demanding that it be allocated a substitute band of spectrum as well as a partial refund of its spectrum costs and USD40 million in damages for loss of market share and loss of revenues, ProPakistani writes. The cellco’s 3G spectrum band is also used by illegal DECT 6.0 devices, creating interference with Zong’s network. The cellco accused the PTA and the Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) of auctioning ‘defective’ and ‘corrupted’ spectrum, as the interference was present prior to the sale, and the PTA’s subsequent actions to clear the spectrum have been unsuccessful. The sold spectrum was not suitable for the purpose of offering 3G services and, as such, the sale of the defective band breaches the warranties that came with the purchase, Zong claims.

In its notice, Zong called for the PTA to move its allocation of spectrum to the 1950MHz-1955MHz/2140MHz-2145MHz band. The cellco pointed out that it had paid its spectrum fees in full and in advance, saying that it should be refunded the remaining price of the spectrum it had paid plus 3% interest. Further, due to lost revenue over the last twelve months, loss of market share and damage to its reputation, and to cover the costs incurred in attempting to combat interference and optimise its network, Zong said it was also due USD40 million in compensation.

The PTA has been given 15 days to respond to the notification, although ProPakistani cites an unnamed PTA official as saying that the situation is being worked out and will be resolved ‘amicably,’ adding that the two parties had come close to agreeing a solution during a recent meeting.