Jazz and Telenor suffer over indecision about telecom licenses in Pakistan

After leaving the telecom companies of Pakistan in limbo for several months, the federal government of Pakistan finally approved the renewal of telecom licenses in Pakistan but the woes of the telcos still remain unaddressed.

The licenses of two major telecom companies, Telenor Pakistan and Jazz are due to expire two weeks from now on 25th May 2019 and indecision plagues the issue of the licensing fees the companies have to pay.

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The two companies have approached Islamabad High Court and submitted a petition last Friday demanding that the “government should be stopped from taking any adverse action that limits the ability of the operators to carry on their business.”

Moved by the court action, the government finally proceeded with the renewal request of telecom licenses in Pakistan and announced that Jazz and Telenor will have to pay $450 million each and Zong $470 million to renew their license.

According to Dawn, Jazz and Telenor are now getting ready to contest these figures arguing that the telecom policy, as well as the several clauses of the license,  necessitate that the first renewal of the telco should be taken place at the price in which it was acquired in the first place.

The request for renewal was submitted two years ago and now the telcos are grappling with the situation with less than three weeks before the expiration of their license. They demand that the license fee should be fixed at $291 million, the same amount which was paid by Ufone in 2014 after the expiry of their 15 year period in Pakistan.

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The court is scheduled to hear the petition on 14th May and we will have to see whether the previous stay order for the government to not take any action against telecom companies will be lifted or extended.

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