PTA revokes Wi-Tribe licences following disagreement with towerco

27 Oct 2021

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has revoked the licences of fixed wireless provider Wi-Tribe for failing to comply with the conditions of its concessions after a commercial dispute with infrastructure provider edotco led to the discontinuation of its services. The tower infrastructure provider switched off Wi-Tribe’s network in July 2020 following a disagreement between the two companies over edotco’s services. Wi-Tribe argued that edotco had demanded ‘huge sums of money for disrupted and faulty services’ and had shut down the provider’s facilities without the necessary notice ‘as an extortion and blackmail exercise to gain commercial advantage’. Wi-Tribe submitted a complaint to the PTA regarding the matter, but that case remains pending. In its submissions to the PTA, Wi-Tribe stressed that its commercial relationship with edotco was imposed upon it following the acquisition of its original infrastructure partner Towershare by edotco and that Towershare’s pricing and services had been competitive.

In its decision the PTA highlighted that, regardless of the cause of the disruption, licensees are obligated to ensure provision of services to customers and that Wi-Tribe had failed to do so. The watchdog went on to state that Wi-Tribe had not taken ‘proper, reasonable and justifiable measures’ for the continuation of its licensed services, noting that by January 2021 Wi-Tribe was no longer providing services in any of its licensed areas. As such, the PTA determined that Wi-Tribe had violated the conditions of its licence and revoked the concessions.

Pakistan, edotco, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Wi-Tribe (Pakistan)