IF the prevailing uncertainty in the country is not tackled immediately, it could badly affect the ongoing investment of around US $ 3.6 billion in telecom sector in the fiscal year 2007-08.
Talking with reporters in an informal briefing at a local hotel here on Wednesday, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman Maj-Gen (Retd) Shahzada Alam Malik added that yearly investment in the telecom sector is about US $ 3.6 billion and that any kind of uncertainty and law and order situation could hamper it.
“Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is a statutory body established under the Telecommunication (Re-Organization) Act 1996, with a mandate to regulate the rapidly growing telecommunication industry in the country,” he also said.
The PTA chairman further said the ongoing investment by major international telecommunication companies in establishing their networks in Pakistan and millions of subscribers countrywide is a clear example that PTA is doing its work in the right direction.
Shahzada Alam further added PTA issued policy guidelines, instructions and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in order to fulfil its responsibility of regulating the telecommunication industry. To ensure the implementation of the policies and procedures, effective supervision and monitoring were also undertaken while the authority also carried out performance surveys in addition to routine inspections, he stated.
On a question of imposing fines over the Cellular Mobile Telecommunication Operators (CMTOs) for poor services, he mentioned the PTA had imposed heavy fines on different Cellular Mobile Telecommunication Operators (CMTOs) for unsatisfactory performance in the past and will continue to do so.
He, however, expressed the CMTOs have improved their network as well as infrastructure a lot in the recent years. To another question that SIMs were being issued indiscriminately without obtaining the particulars of the customers, or where the particulars were available, their verification/authentication had not been carried out properly by the company, the PTA chairman said the authority has involved National Data Registration Authority (NADRA) in the verification process and till date NADRA has verified about 80 per cent of the data.
He added that the issue has been taken up seriously and meetings were held in May and June 2007 with representatives of all CMTOs and other concerned agencies in this regard. He also said CMTOs were, in those meetings, directed to essentially ensure display of certificate of franchise issued by the CMTOs to their franchisees prominently at their premises for the satisfaction of the customers, filling of Customer Agreement Form, which had been made simpler for ease of understanding, obtaining the copy of Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) of the customers, seeking verification of the particulars of the customers from NADRA and computerising the data of customers.
Answering yet another question about the recent complaints of increasing mobile frauds, the PTA chairman stated he will soon call a meeting of all CMTOs and other concerned to devise a concrete strategy to handle such frauds.
He said the PTA will also forward such cases to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) so that action would be taken against the fraudulent persons as per law. Other senior officials of PTA were also present in the briefing.