High Court backs PTA in licence fee dispute

2 Sep 2021

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ruled in favour of sector watchdog the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in a dispute with cellcos Telenor Pakistan and Jazz over the price of their licence renewals, ProPakistani reports. The pair had challenged the PTA’s decision to impose a last-minute price hike on their concessions in early 2019, shortly before the licences were due for renewal. The watchdog had published its policy for the renewals in the same month that the licences were due to expire and increased the cost to nearly USD450 million. By comparison, the PTA had charged state-backed provider Ufone USD291 million for the renewal of its concession in 2016. The IHC dismissed the appeal, accepting the PTA’s argument that the setting of the licence fee is at the regulator’s discretion. Both Telenor and Jazz are reportedly planning to take the matter to the Supreme Court, but will continue to make payments to the regulator based on the PTA’s new licence fee.