Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication on Monday formally launched the “Pakistan Telecom Policy 2015”. Telecom operators termed the policy as a milestone and catalyst for the industry growth; however, they linked it with the condition of implementation.
Jeffrey Hedberg, CEO Mobilink, said on the occasion that partnership between the industry and IT ministry/Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is progressive, which is being recognized inside as well as outside the country. He said that Telecom policy is an excellent document and will be a catalyst to accelerate industry growth in the country as it covers the financial inclusion of the people.
Mr. Abdul Aziz, CEO Ufone, said that telecom policy is a framework and provides guidelines to move forward. However, there is need of practical solutions and the policy needs to be implemented in true spirit to achieve the desired goals. “We should highlight and focus on some points including competition within the industry, as we have not managed balance yet in this part”, Aziz added.
Fan Yunjun Chairman and CEO Zong termed the policy a good achievement and congratulated the government, saying the policy would play a pivotal role in the acceleration of digitalization in the country.
CEO Warid Muneer Farooqui said that it would have been better if the policy was announced earlier as it has been due for a long while now. “It has some very good things like spectrum sharing, spectrum trading and regulations for OTT which will be helpful for all operators. This is the basis which will develop in shape of rule and regulations framework”, Farooqui added.
Chief Corporate Affairs and Security Officer Telenor Aslam Hayat said the industry has great potential which needs to be exploited. He said that few years back Pakistan was not even member of the ITU, however the hard work and collaboration of the industry and ministry has changed things.
“The policy has addressed many things and issues which will add value and accelerate digitalization. However telecom sector’s services need to be made affordable. There are some barriers including taxes and duties on handsets, devices and smartphones which should be addressed”, Hayat added.
Chief Commercial Officer of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) representing the President Walid Irshaid said that the company acknowledged the efforts of the minister and her team. However he said that taxes on internet needs to be addressed for providing and enabling environment that allow the broadband services to flourish.
State Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Aunsha Rehman said that efforts for the development of IT and telecom sector have been appreciated globally. Pakistan is becoming a leading country with respect to accelerated growth and development in the IT and telecom sector.
Two and half a years ago, all the key posts at Ministry and PTA were vacant and system was being on adhoc basis, said the minister adding that grey trafficking was at peak.
She further said that broadband service penetration was less than three percent while little work was done with respect to Universal Service Fund (USF). However, the minister said that right men were selected for right places which resulted in the turn around.
Anusha Rehman said that grey trafficking has come down to the negligible level while white traffic has increased to over 1.5 billion minutes per month, up from 370 million minutes per month before reversal of ICH.
“Cyber law is being finalized in consultations with stakeholders while after the Telecom Policy, IT policy would be announced in the current year”, announced Anusha.
Chairman PTA Syed Ismail Shah said that though policy has been announced, which was milestone achievement, however now the big challenge is the implementation. All the stakeholders need to work for the smooth implementation of the policy.
Member Telecom Mudassir Hussain briefed participates on the “Telecom policy 2015”.
Member said that IT ministry had issued several policies like
- De-Regulation Policy for the Telecommunication Sector – July 2003
- Mobile Cellular Policy – January 28, 2004
- Broadband Policy – December 22, 2004
However, Telecom Policy 2015 is aimed at integration of the above policies and making it consistent with change in market structure and upcoming technologies, said Mr. Mudassir.
Member said that integrated development, review and updates of both Telecoms and IT policies are critically important.