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.
Universally available, affordable and quality telecommunication services provided through open, competitive, and well managed markets and ubiquitously adopted to the benefit of the economy and society
Principles of Policy Delivery
Government intervention where necessary
Telecommunications Markets & Services: Efficient markets with straight forward entry and exit of qualified entities that have sufficient financial resources to invest in and deliver services.
Broadband Services: Widespread availability of affordable broadband services provided over fixed or mobile networks with characteristics that support contemporary and new digital applications and content.
Telecommunications Infrastructure: Physical infrastructure and rights of way for the roll out of telecommunications networks that are readily available and accessible through clear processes.
Spectrum: Allocation and assignment of spectrum to maximize social and economic benefits derived from the use of this scarce resource.
Telecommunications Law and Regulation: A legal and regulatory environment that further promotes (continues) the development of efficient markets and the safeguards consumers.
Use of Telecommunications Services: Progressive increase in penetration and use of telecommunications services of all kind, and of applications that enhance social and economic development.
Universal Service Funding: Available and affordable telephony and universal broadband access to enable e/m services for covering under served and un-served population.
Research & Development through the National ICT R&D Fund: An ICT sector, working within the international research and development community that provides applications and relevant content to support Pakistan’s developmental aims.
Satellite Telecommunications: A balanced approach to encourage local and foreign investment and which promotes the deployment of Fixed, Broadcast and Mobile Satellite Services.
Telecommunications Markets & Services
Promulgation of “Competition Rules” for provision of processes for market review
Current licensing regime to continue
Licensing policy framework to be reviewed by 31st December, 2016
Regulatory framework for VoIP and Over-the-Top (OTT) services
Public Wi-Fi hot spots for commercial use
Facilitation and promotion of fibre and wireless network roll out
Ensuring availability of spectrum
Ensuring suitable backhaul arrangements
Promotion of competition in retail services
Development of regulatory framework for VoIP
Facilitation of content sector and development of content
Measures to improve provision and access to infrastructure
Measures for migration from copper to fibre
Development of Right of Way Framework
Code for outside plant and in building cabling
Infrastructure sharing (active and passive)
Development of National Disaster Telecommunications Plan
Rolling spectrum strategy
Spectrum re-farming for efficient use
Spectrum assignment methodologies:
Administrative Incentive Pricing (AIP)
Administrative Cost Recovery (ACR)
AIP for Microwave Spectrum Assignments
Spectrum trading for best use of spectrum
Introduction of Spectrum sharing
Telecommunications Law & Regulation
Measures to safeguard users, ensure optimal functioning of networks, and meet needs of changing environment:
Introduction of Type approval regime
Setting Quality of Service standards
Transition to IpV6, preferably by 2017
Support the development and maintenance of telecom services with appropriate characteristics to facilitate the delivery of content by a telecom network
Communications Network Security
The concept of “Digital Borders” requires policy initiatives for protection of telecommunication networks and information flowing on these networks
Deployment of an all encompassing integrated solution for security of communications ensuring long-term sustainability keeping in view the changing technological trends and capacity requirements
Continuation of existing USF policy for:
Availability of affordable voice telephony and broadband access
Provision of community broadband services
Provision of broadband access to education, health and other institutions
USF services will include retail as well as wholesale services
e/m services to be facilitated by the USF
Promotion of satellite based services in Pakistan
Regulations for establishment, operation and provision of satellite services
Present rights and obligations of licensees (LL, LDI, Infrastructure) will continue to apply
Introduction of Satellite Service Class License
Protection against harmful interference
Public Sector Service Providers
National Telecommunication Corporation
Efficiency to be improved through indigenous investment by and/or establishment of partnerships
Special Communications Organization
Continue to develop, maintain and operate telecom systems, infrastructure and services within AJ&K and GB
MoIT to assess the feasibility of domestic production of telecommunication equipment
Convergence between Telecom, IT & Broadcast
Development of a coordination mechanism between PTA and PEMRA with greater amount of linkages to bridge regulatory gaps
Extensive study for ultimate adoption of horizontal model of regulation based on integration of PTA and PEMRA onto one cohesive regulator
Policy Review & Implementation
Policy will be subject to review after five years
Development of appropriate regulatory frameworks for effective implementation
Strengthening resource allocation and capacity building to ensure effective discharge of organizational responsibilities within MoIT and PTA