KARACHI: The license of Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) Limited expired on 31st December 2020 while new license is still under consideration of the government. The company’s owner ‘Etisalat Telecommunication’ is currently a defaulter of over $800 million to the Pakistani government.

The PTCL has informed Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) through a notice that they are discussing with PTA and the federal government to finalize the terms and conditions of the renewed license. “PTCL is confident that license will be renewed at the earliest,” the company said in a notice.

PTCL initiated the renewal process by formally requesting Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on June 29, 2018 (30 months prior to the expiry/validity of the License). PTA responded in affirmative vide its letter dated October 1st 2018 that PTCL’s license will be renewed in accordance with the government policy prevalent at the time of renewal, it added.

PTCL has sought permanent injection on December 18, 2020 from the Sindh High Court (SHC) at Karachi by way of filing Suit No 2081/2020 ‘wherein PTA is restrained from taking any adverse action against PTCL on expiry of license on 31st December, 2020 and not interfere in the business of PTCL and the provision of services on the basis of license’.

The renewal of its license will fetch an attractive dollar inflow of non-tax revenues to the national exchequer. However, this is also a dispute of immovable properties (land of exchanges and PTCL societies including flats etc), which the government hand over to Etisalat. PTCL integrated license was issued for 25 years effective from January 1, 1996, and valid until 31st December 2020. The therefore-subsequent renewal was required effective 1st January 2021.

Originally a state-owned corporation, the shareholding of PTCL was reduced to 62 percent, when 26 percent of shares and control were sold to Etisalat Telecommunications while the remaining 12 per cent to the general public in 2006. However, 62 percent of shares still remain under the management of government-ownership of state-owned corporations of Pakistan.

The author is a senior business reporter with bylines in leading newspapers and magazines across Pakistan.


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