Telenor, Jazz submit second instalment of disputed licence fee

28 May 2021

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has received PKR15.82 billion (around USD103.17 million according to the watchdog) against the second instalment of the licence renewal fee from cellcos Telenor Pakistan and Jazz, the watchdog confirmed in a statement. A third provider, Zong, is required to submit the second instalment for its licence renewal fee – USD54.086 million – by October 2021.

As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the regulator and the trio of operators are engaged in ongoing legal proceedings over the renewal fees, which were determined at the eleventh-hour and included a substantial price hike. With the licences of Telenor and Jazz set to expire in late May 2019, it was not until the start of that month that the PTA finally published its policy for the operators’ concessions to be refreshed. The policy included a number of decisions that were opposed by the cellcos, most notable were: an increase in price from USD290 million to around USD450 million for Jazz and Telenor and USD470 million for Zong; and the requirement to pay the fee in US rather than Pakistani rupees given that the money earned and spent by the trio is in the local currency. The PTA’s decision was challenged in the Islamabad High Court in August 2019 but the licensees were required to pay 50% of the licence fee as a guarantee until a final decision is reached on the matter. As such, PTA noted in its recent statement that it had deposited PKR135.81 billion (or USD862.22 million) with the Pakistani government for the initial 50% towards the licence fee. With its receipt of the second instalment from Telenor and Jazz that figure rose to PKR151.63 billion (or USD965.39 million).