The Pakistan Telecommunication Commission has issued a Show Cause Notice(SCN) to 3 out of 5 telecommunications operators of Pakistan, China Mobile Pakistan Limited(Zong), Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited(Jazz), and Telenor Pakistan (Pvt.) Limited, claiming that they have failed to meet the requirements that meant the standards for the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and have to improve their standards and quality. Six months’ time has been allocated to the companies, as of now, these companies are not being fined but if they don’t show a significant amount of improvement in the time limit, PTA can consider nullification of license or heavy penalty in terms of fine.
The notices were issued as a result of the companies failing to meet the Quality of Service(QoS) standards that is required for a telecom company to operate in Pakistan which is also mentioned in their licenses and KPIs. Last year QoS KPIs were done on the Coastal Highway, Gwadar City, and Surbandar Port Area. This test resulted in poor performance from these companies and PTA without notice or due date urged these telecoms to increase the quality and range of the services. This year March, these telecoms claimed that the QoS have been improved but the KPI ran on 7th to 10th March 2022 indicating the non-compliance and misinformation from the telecoms. This led to PTA issuing these notices, and to everyone’s surprise even after non-compliance and lying of the telecoms, no fine was charged.
Now the operators have to bring and maintain the standard QoS mentioned in the licenses and have to keep improving the quality and expansion of the network for the next six months. Contrarily, the telecoms have filed a compliance report and sustained their status that their service meets the requirements mentioned on the licenses and they have done nothing to deserve the Show Cause Notices.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority can not care less about the compliance reports filed by the telecoms as they are mandated to improve, maintain and establish the network services in the country by their own standard. PTA is even authorized to enforce any kind of penalties or remove licenses of the telecoms if they don’t comply under section 5(2)(b) of the Act and is also empowered to enforce and monitor the licenses.
The Authority can carry out KPIs at any place and time to check the competence of the operators in accordance with clause 23.7 of part 6 of the Rules, regulation 10 of the regulation, and sub-regulation (1) of regulation 6 of the QoS Regulations which says;
Authority with or without notice conduct its own surveys and test or makes surprise checks through its designated officers or conducts performance audit of the quality of service of the licensee from time to time to ensure that the user(s) of telecommunication services get such quality of services as laid down in the license, regulations and/or KPIs.
These telecoms are playing cards to avoid the process of improving the quality and expansion of their network to save cost and trying to bully the PTA into reversing these Show Cause Notices but the PTA are also proving that they are not the ones telecoms can play around with.