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August 22, 2020

PTA fines WorldCall Rs10mln for flouting laws

Business

August 22, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Friday slapped Rs10 million fine on WorldCall Telecom Limited for not reporting a substantial change of ownership to the regulator, which it said was a major breach of the governing laws.

The authority in its order, a copy of which is available with The News, also said the telecom was yet to pay the outstanding dues of around Rs9 billion.

“The Authority hereby imposes fine of Rupees Ten Million (10,000,000) on the Licensee for contravention of the Act, the Rules, the Regulations and terms and conditions of Licenses and directs the Licensee to deposit the same within period seven (07) working days,” the PTA said in its order.

“In case of failure to comply with the same, the Licences issued to the Licensee shall stand suspended automatically till payment of the aforementioned fine.”

The PTA said the licensee had made every possible effort to avoid the proceedings. Since, the duration of license granted to the Licensee is about to expire in the year 2024 and huge amounts of Rs 9.06 billion remain payable by the Licensee, the order read.

“It is extremely important to make reference to the conduct of the Licensee by putting on record the consistent failure of the Licensee to pay outstanding dues on account of Annual Regulatory Dues (ARDs), Annual Radio Frequency Spectrum Fee (ARFSF), Annual Numbering Charges, Initial Spectrum Fee (ISF), Microwave BTS Charges and APC for USF Contribution.”

The principal outstanding amount was Rs3.424 billion while Late Payment Additional Fee (LPAF) was Rs5.976 billion, it added.

The order says that the licensee [WorldCall] has not denied change of substantial ownership interest/ control of the company.

It is a matter of record that the Licensee did not notify the authority in the manner as required under Rule 11(5) of the Rules.

Moreover, the order reads, “The said transaction was executed without prior written approval of the authority as required under clause 12.4 of the License, the authority observed.”

The PTA said in order to avoid any adverse legal consequences against the shareholders, directors and management of the company, the Licensee was required to fulfill its legal obligations with regard to carrying out the telecom business pursuant to the licences granted by the authority including but not limited to payment of all regulatory dues.

WorldCall had launched its business in June 1996 with payphone operations.

Amid fundamental shifts in technology and industry, innovation and dedication led it to growth in diversified businesses with a range of services designed to serve the needs of the local market.