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Wednesday December 08, 2021

PTA awards 4G spectrum licence to Telenor Pakistan

July 16, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has issued 850MHz spectrum (3G/4G) licence to Telenor Pakistan after it paid withholding tax of Rs4.13 billion ($39.5 million).

Telenor had earlier refused to pay withholding tax of $39.5 million, i.e. 10 percent of the total auction price ($395 million) of next generation mobile services (3G/4G), while terming it unlawful, baseless and based on a gross misinterpretation of provision of the law. Telenor had filed petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the federal government including Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and PTA.

After hearing Telenor as well as the federal government, the IHC had reserved the judgment, however later the telecom company reached the court while pleading that it may be allowed to pay the withholding tax, Chairman PTA Syed Ismail Shah told this correspondent on Friday.

After getting the court’s nod, Telenor deposited $39.5 million to the FBR and the latter (FBR) subsequently issued no-objection certificate (NoC) to PTA for issuing 4G licence to the company, said the PTA chairman, adding that the licence has been issued and Telenor can now provide 4G services in the country.

It may be recalled that Telenor was only bidder in 850MHz spectrum auction that PTA held in June 2016 and hence it was awarded 10MHz block from 850MHz spectrum at a price of $395 million.

The PTA chairman further confirmed that Telenor has already deposited half of price, i.e. $197.5 million while the remaining 50 percent will be paid in five equal annual instalments along with cumulative mark-up @ LIBOR + 3 percent from effective date of licence to date of payment.