Mobile providers Telenor Pakistan and Jazz are confident that services will not be disrupted after 21 August, the new deadline for the renewal of their licences, local daily Dawn reports. The operators’ licences were due to expire in May this year, but the terms and pricing for their renewal were only finalised at the eleventh hour and included a price hike to USD450 million from the expected cost of around USD291 million. The pair challenged the terms set out by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), but the Islamabad High Court ruled in favour of the watchdog in late July, giving the cellcos until 21 August to make the first payment for the concession.
Commenting on the situation, Dawn quotes an unnamed Telenor official as saying that the ball is now in the cellcos’ court. ‘The operators have three ways out: we can either agree to the higher renewal fees for the spectrum, challenge it in the court again or request the regulatory body for further extension,’ the official said, adding that if they miss the 21 August deadline the duo will have to pay the PTA’s renewal fee plus a penalty.