Zong submits 50% of licence fee to PTA

6 Dec 2019

Chinese-owned cellco Zong has paid the government PKR37.16 billion (USD238.7 million) towards its licence fee renewal as it – along with rival operators Telenor Pakistan and Jazz – continues to dispute the cost and terms imposed by the regulator. The Express Tribune cites a spokesperson from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) as saying that the amount equates to around 50% of the mobile operator’s licence renewal fee and confirmed that the amount was paid in local currency. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the concessions of Telenor and Jazz were due to expire in May this year, whilst Zong’s was due to end in October. It was not until the start of May that the PTA provided Telenor and Jazz with its terms of the renewal, leaving the pair little time to respond or prepare. The terms included a substantial price hike to USD450 million (USD470 million for Zong), considerably higher than the USD291 million expected by the two companies based on the fee paid by local state-backed rival Ufone in 2014, whilst the decision to charge in US dollars rather than Pakistani rupees was also criticised. The trio have launched a legal challenge but have each now submitted 50% of the PTA’s asking price whilst the case is reviewed by the courts.