Pakistan Telecommunication Authority

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) (Urdu: پاکستان ٹیلی کام اتھارٹی) is the telecommunication regulator of Pakistan, responsible for the establishment, operation and maintenance of telecommunication systems and the provision of telecommunication services in Pakistan. Headquartered in Islamabad, PTA also has regional offices located in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Muzaffarabad, Rawalpindi, Multan and Gilgit.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority
پاکستان ٹیلی کام اتھارٹی
AbbreviationPTA
Established1996; 26 years ago (1996)
HeadquartersIslamabad
Region served
Pakistan
Chairman
Major General Amir Azeem Bajwa HI(M) (Retd.)
Key people
Chairman, Member Finance, Member Compliance and Enforcement
Parent organization
Government of Pakistan
Websitewww.pta.gov.pk

HistoryEdit

The Pakistan Telecommunication Ordinance 1994, established the primary regulatory framework for the telecommunication industry including the establishment of an authority. Thereafter, Telecommunication (Re-Organization) Act no XVII was promulgated in 1996 that aimed to reorganize the telecom sector of Pakistan. Under Telecom Reorganization Act 1996, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) was established in 1996 to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of telecommunication systems and the provision of telecom services.[1]

FunctionsEdit

To regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of telecommunication systems and provision of telecommunication services in Pakistan. To receive and expeditiously dispose of applications for the use of radio-frequency spectrum. To promote and protect the interests of users of telecommunication services in Pakistan. To promote the availability of a wide range of high quality, efficient, cost effective and competitive telecommunication services throughout Pakistan. To promote rapid modernization of telecommunication systems and telecommunication services. To investigate and adjudicate on complaints and other claims made against licensees arising out of alleged contraventions of the provisions of this Act, the rules made and licenses issued there under and take action accordingly. which led the government to publish a tax on the electronic device attached by the telecommunication service brought from overseas to Pakistan. To make recommendations to the Federal Government on policies with respect to international telecommunications, provision of support for participation in international meetings and agreements to be executed in relation to the routing of international traffic and accounting settlements.[2]

Responsibilities of AuthorityEdit

In exercising its functions and powers under the Act, the authority ensures:

  • Rights of licensees are duly protected.
  • All of its decisions and determinations are made promptly, in an open equitable, non discriminatory, consistent and transparent manner.
  • All applications made to it are disposed of expeditiously;
  • The persons affected by its decisions or determination are given a due notice thereof and provided with an opportunity of being heard.
  • It encourages, except subject to the exclusive right of the company in basic telephone service, fair competition in the telecommunication sector.
  • The interest of users of telecommunication services are duly safeguarded and protected.
  • Preventing unlawful online content.

LeadershipEdit

The Authority consists of a Chairman, Member (Finance) and Member (Compliance & Enforcement).

CurrentEdit

Major General (R) Amir Azeem Bajwa HI(M) is currently serving as Chairman of PTA.  Muhammad Naveed is Member (Finance) and Dr. Khawar Siddique Khokhar is Member (Compliance & Enforcement).[3]

LicensingEdit

 
Acting Chairman Muhammad Naveed with Houlin Zhao in 2018

NGMS Spectrum Auction 2004Edit

PTA conducted first spectrum auction in 2004, in which a total of 13.6 MHz spectrum in 900 and 1800 MHz was sold at US$582 Million. As a result of auction, Telenor and Warid Telecom entered Pakistan's telecom market.[4]

NGMS Spectrum Auction 2014Edit

PTA auctioned spectrum for 3G and 4G services in 2014. One 4G license and three 3G licenses were finally auctioned on 23 April 2014.[5][6] The 4G license was bagged by Zong (as well as 10 MHz 3G license), while the 3G licenses were auctioned to Telenor (5 MHz), Mobilink (10 MHz) and Ufone (5 MHz). While Warid Pakistan was the only operator in Pakistan not to bid on the auction; Later on, Warid started LTE services using a previously acquired technology neutral license. The auction raised a total of $1.22 billion including 10% advance tax for the government of Pakistan.[7]

NGMS Spectrum Auction 2016Edit

Another auction was held in June 20for a 10 MHz block in the 850 MHz (Band 5) frequency, the base price was set at USD 395 million.[8] Telenor Pakistan was the only bidder in the auction and won the license for 850 MHz which it now uses for 3G (HSPA+) and LTE.[9]

NGMS Spectrum Auction 2017Edit

PTA plans to hold another auction on 16 May 2017 to auction a 10 MHz block in the 1800 MHz (Band 3) frequency, which was un-sold in the 2014 NGMS auction.[10]

The base price will be set at USD 295 million.[11]

It was first mentioned that Ufone could've been the only operator to participate in the 2017 NGMS auction,[12] however as of 24 April 2017, PTA officials had revealed that all telecom operators have shown great interest in the available spectrum and the auction has been delayed to 24 May 2017 on the request of all telecom operators.[13]

Contrary to earlier rumours and statements, the only operator to bid for the 1800 MHz 4G spectrum in the 2017 auction would be Jazz, the other operators, Telenor, Zong and Ufone did not submit any applications and a statement from PTA mentioned that Jazz was the only operator to submit the application before the deadline which was 17 May 2017.[14][15]

On 18 May 2017, Jazz became the winner of the 4G spectrum auction. It will be officially awarded the spectrum after the fee is paid.[16][17]

NGMS Spectrum Auction 2021Edit

PTA held a spectrum auction in September 2021, for both 1800 MHz (Band 3) and 2100 MHz (Band 1).[18] Only one network operator participated in the auction, Ufone (PTML) submitted a bid for 2x9 MHz in the 1800 MHz band which it won for USD $279 million.[19]

NGMS Spectrum Auction 2021 (AJK & GB)Edit

A separate spectrum auction was held by PTA specifically for the Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan regions for both 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands.[20] Both Zong CMPak and Jazz (PMCL) participated in the auction for 2x10 MHz of 1800 MHz, however after 18 rounds, Zong was declared as the winner of the 10 MHz block. Telenor, Ufone and Zong also won an additional 1.2 MHz in the same band.[21]

PTA stated that none of the operators except Telenor Pakistan decided to participate in the auction for 2100 MHz, so Telenor was awarded 2x15 MHz in the 2100 MHz band at the base price.[22]

5GEdit

PTA plans to auction 5G spectrum in 2022.[23]

Blocked ContentEdit

PUBG ControversyEdit

In July 2020, PTA banned the online game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds[24] Many social media activists like Waqar Zaka uploaded videos on YouTube urging Pakistanis to speak up against this ban.[25] Millions of Social media users of Pakistan have flooded sites like Facebook, Twitter and have shown overwhelming support for PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds).[26] In response, PTA lifted ban on the popular online game.[27]

TikTokEdit

In October 2020, PTA blocked TikTok for failing to filter out "immoral and indecent" content.[28] Soon after, TikTok made an agreement to moderate the content available in Pakistan and the ban was lifted.[29]

In March 2021, PTA said that a court ordered to block TikTok due to complaints from "indecent" content.[30]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Administrator. "History". Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Functions". Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  3. ^ Yousafzai, Amin (17 January 2019). "Amir Azeem Bajwa Appointed as the New Chairman PTA". ProPakistani. Retrieved 24 March 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Spectrum Auction and the Case Study from Pakistan" (PDF). 2 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Businessman 'linked to al Qaeda' missing since Feb, SHC told".
  6. ^ AFP (17 January 2014). "Pakistan plans 3G licence auction by March". Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Govt auctions 3G, 4G licences for $1.1bn". www.dailytimes.com.pk. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014.
  8. ^ "PTA Releases Information Memorandum for 850MHZ Spectrum Auction". 29 April 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Telenor wins 850MHZ spectrum licence - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  10. ^ "PTA to Hold 4G Auction on May 16th, IM Released". 31 March 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Official: Pakistan to Auction 4G Spectrum for $295 Million". 28 March 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Ufone Could Be the Only Operator to Participate in 4G Spectrum Auction". 4 April 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2017. Although Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has made the upcoming auction for Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) spectrum (3G/4G) more lucrative for new entrants, it remains pessimistic about the participation of any new player.
  13. ^ "PTA Delays 4G Spectrum Auction". 24 April 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Breaking: Jazz Becomes Only Operator to Bid for 4G Spectrum". 17 May 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  15. ^ Ahmadani, Ahmad (17 May 2017). "Jazz emerges as sole operator to bid for 4G spectrum | Profit by Pakistan Today". Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  16. ^ "PTA Notifies Jazz as the Winner of 4G Spectrum Auction". 19 May 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Jazz became the winner of 4G spectrum: Dunya Ko Bataa Do | NetMag Pakistan". NetMag Pakistan. 19 May 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Here's Everything You Need to Know About The Upcoming Spectrum Auction in Pakistan". ProPakistani. 6 August 2021. Retrieved 30 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ "PRESS RELEASE". Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. 10 September 2021. Retrieved 30 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ "PTA NOTIFIES QUALIFIED APPLICANTS FOR SPECTRUM AUCTION IN AJ&K AND GB 2021". Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. 23 September 2021. Retrieved 30 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ "Zong Beats Jazz to Win the 4G Spectrum in AJK & GB". ProPakistani. 28 September 2021. Retrieved 30 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ "SPECTRUM AUCTION FOR AJ&K AND GB HELD". Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. 28 September 2021. Retrieved 30 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ "Pakistan to get 5G by 2022-23". The Express Tribune. 23 January 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  24. ^ "Media Center | PTA". www.pta.gov.pk. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  25. ^ "I am filing Court case for lifting ban on PUBG - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  26. ^ "Pakistani PUBG Players are Tweeting to PM Imran Khan to Unban the Popular Game". News18. 27 July 2020. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  27. ^ Jahangir, Ramsha (28 July 2020). "Ban on PUBG to remain in interest of public order: PTA". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  28. ^ Agencies (9 October 2020). "PTA blocks TikTok for 'immoral and indecent' content". Profit by Pakistan Today. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  29. ^ Ray, Siladitya (19 October 2020). "Pakistan Reverses Ban On TikTok After Platform Agrees To Follow 'Societal Norms'". Forbes. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  30. ^ Ahmad, Asif Shahzad, Jibran (11 March 2021). "Pakistan to block social media app TikTok over 'indecency' complaint". Reuters. Retrieved 11 March 2021.

External linksEdit