The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) announced on Wednesday that it had received a 50 percent payment worth $ 224.6 million and Rs35,397 million (the equivalent of $ 224.6 million) from Telenor Pakistan cell companies and Pakistan Mobile Communications Limited (Jazz), respectively, against the renewal of their GSM licenses.
A statement issued by the authority said that "the entire product of the license renewal would be deposited in the national treasury."
"This development will not only contribute to the uninterrupted provision of better telecommunications services for the people of Pakistan, but will also help promote competition and investment in Pakistan's telecommunications sector," the PTA statement added.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance in Islamabad on Wednesday, the license renewal fee for telecommunications companies collected by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) is an important source of non-tax revenue for the federal government.
These companies will continue to operate in the country and provide uninterrupted services to their valuable customers, according to the press release.
"However, the companies will continue with their legal cases to obtain a final resolution of the Telenor and Jazz mobile licenses that expired on May 26," the Ministry of Finance said in its statement.
The licenses, which Telenor and Jazz had acquired in 2004 through an auction at a cost of $ 291m or approximately Rs17 billion at that time, expired more than two months ago on May 25. The government had demanded a sum of $ 450m each before August 21. companies so they can renew their licenses. The figure has apparently been calculated using the spectrum auctions that took place in 2016 and 2017 as a benchmark.
The deadline was set after the PTA and the two cellular service operators were unable to agree on a price to renew their licenses.
In May, Jazz challenged the new license price in court where the matter is still pending.
In its response to the court, the PTA has presented a position that is not different from the previous one, with the same terms and conditions and asking operators to pay the price of $ 450 million.
By the deadline, Telenor had extended the offer to pay $ 224.6 million to the government "under protest" for license renewal purposes.
The Director of Corporate Affairs of Telenor Pakistan, Kamal Ahmed, in a statement confirmed that the company had made "a substantial payment of $ 224.6 million to the government for the renewal of its GSM license."
He declined to comment further on the license renewal, as the matter is still under trial.