The letter written to the ministry of IT & telecom by Jazz, Telenor and ufone
Zubair kasuri The telecom sector has expressed concerns to the government that due to high inflation and economic downturn it was becoming difficult to meet the obligations of network rollout, and acknowledged that their quality of service has deteriorated.
The letter written to the ministry of IT & telecom by Jazz, Telenor and ufone stated that the “Network Rollout Obligations” defined in the licenses includes providing high quality network services in coverage areas.
“We are constrained to be unable to meet the rollout obligations defined in our respective licenses due to floods, economic conditions and import restrictions,” letter added.
The mobile companies have said that they have already written detailed submissions to the telecom sector regulator the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in January, 2023 highlighting practical difficulties in import of telecommunication and related equipment owing to strict restrictions imposed by the State Bank of Pakistan, owing to which we are unable to import any such telecommunication equipment which is necessary to install for operating telecom system and to provide telecom services.
“The challenges we are facing to handle Quality of Service (QoS) upgrades and network rollout due to the prevailing economic conditions and policies of the Government of Pakistan/State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) particularly relating to opening of LC/IC for import of telecom equipment nor declaring such equipment as Critical/Priority/Essential items, hence, are severely discouraging the import of telecom equipment into Pakistan,” the companies have added.
The letter also added that the mobile companies have been unable to clear payments to foreign vendors for previous consignments received for telecom equipment, and as a result, those vendors are reluctant to honor any new requests for telecom equipment.
It added that the SBP‘s Circular No. 20 dated 27th December 2022 does not regard the telecom sector related equipment as “Priority/Essential items” in terms of renewing/opening of IC/LC, thus resulting in all our shipments being put on hold.
“In view of the foregoing, it is humbly submitted that CMOs will not be able to meet the network rollout obligations as per the deadlines given in the respective licenses.” CMOs have said.
It is therefore, requested that annual rollout obligations’ timelines be revised and aligned in consultation with all CMOs considering the prevailing situation in the country in line with Note (x) of newly issued/renewed License clause Appendex-1 (A1 – Network-Rollout).
The telecom companies have said that they expect the government and the and PTA for support for the continuity of business in these tough economic and financial times in Pakistan