The Telecommunication Sector of Pakistan is primarily regulated by the Pakistan Telecom Laws In Pakistan Authority (PTA), which has been formed as per the provisions of the Pakistan Telecom Laws In Pakistan (Re-Organization) Act, 1996.
The 1996 Act is a lengthy, comprehensive and detailed legislation, under which the PTA is given all its powers and functions, along with the authority to grant licenses to Telecom Laws In Pakistan service providers, as well as establishes multiple criminal offences and fixes penalties for crimes committed under the Act.
A ‘license’ provided by PTA pertains to authorization for the establishment, operation or maintenance of any Telecom Laws In Pakistan system or provision of any telecommunication service.
A ‘Telecom Laws In Pakistan’ is any electrical, electromagnetic, electronic, optical or optio-electronic system used for the emission, conveyance, switching or reception of any intelligence within, or into, or from Pakistan, whether or not that intelligence is subjected to re-arrangement, computation or any other process in the course of operation of the system, and includes a cable transmission system, a cable television transmission system and terminal equipment.
As for a ‘Telecom Laws In Pakistan service’, it is the service of emission, conveyance, switching or reception of any intelligence within, or into, or from, Pakistan by any electrical, electromagnetic, electronic, optical or optio-electronic system, whether or not the intelligence is subjected to re-arrangement, computation or any other process in the course of the service.
What Are The Functions Of The PTA?
The PTA performs the following functions in Pakistan:
- regulates the establishment, operation and maintenance of Telecom Laws In Pakistan systems and the provision of telecommunication services in Pakistan.
- receives and expeditiously disposes of applications for the use of radio-frequency spectrum.
- promotes and protects the interests of users of telecommunication services in Pakistan.
- promotes the availability of a wide range of high quality, efficient, cost effective and competitive telecommunication services throughout Pakistan.
- promotes rapid modernization of Telecom Laws In Pakistan systems and telecommunication services;
- investigates and adjudicates on complaints and other claims made against licensees arising out of alleged contraventions of the provisions of this Act.
- makes recommendations to the Federal Government on policies with respect to international telecommunications, provision of support for participation in international meetings and agreements to be executed in relation to the routing of international traffic and accounting settlements.
- regulates arrangements amongst Telecom Laws In Pakistan service providers of sharing their revenue derived from provision of telecommunication service.
- ensures effective compliance by licensees with Universal Services Obligations.
- regulates Access Promotion Contribution.
- settles disputes between licensees.
- regulates competition in the Telecom Laws In Pakistan sector and protect consumer rights.
What Are The Powers Of The PTA In Pakistan?
The PTA, under the 1996 Act, has been granted the powers to:
- grant and renew licences for any Telecom Laws In Pakistan system and any telecommunication service on payment of a prescribed fees.
- monitor and enforce licences.
- receive applications for the use of radio frequency spectrum
- modify licences or conditions
- establish or modify accounting procedure for licences and regulate tariffs for Telecom Laws In Pakistan services
- regulate the transfer of licences.
- prescribe standards for telecommunication equipment and terminal equipment, certify compliance of such equipment with prescribed standards, and issue approvals of terminal equipment and of approved installers
- provide guidelines for, and determine, the terms of interconnection arrangements between licensees
- develop national Telecom Laws In Pakistan numbering plans
- collect information with respect to telecommunications within and outside Pakistan and review the impact thereof
- enter into contracts
- acquire, lease, encumber, dispose of, exchange, vest or otherwise deal with any moveable or immovable property or any interest therein
- issue regulations for exercising its powers and performance of its functions
- levy fee and other charges
What Restrictions And Obligations Can The PTA Place On License Holders?
The licenses issued by the PTA can contain the following specifications, which the license holder are bound to apply:
- conditions requiring the licensee to adhere to the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations.
- conditions requiring the licensee to pay the fees for grant or renewal of the licence.
- conditions requiring the licensee to allow inspection by the Authority of any premises or Telecom Laws In Pakistan equipment and to furnish to the Authority such information as may be required by
- restrictions as to the types of telecommunication system or telecommunication service to be provided by the licensee, the area and period of operation and the types of telecommunication equipment that may be included in its telecommunication system.
- obligation to ensure that only terminal equipment which is approved for connection to the telecommunication system in question is so connected.
- obligation to monitor use of the licensed telecommunication service or telecommunication system and to disconnect telecommunication service from any user who, after written notice, misuses it.
- obligations to provide telecommunication service to particular persons or areas to meet minimum standards for quality and grade of services requirements.
- obligation not to interrupt service except for failure of the customer to comply with his contractual obligations or out of genuine technical necessity or by reason of circumstances.
- restrictions on the licensee giving undue preference to, or unfairly discriminating against, any person.
- restrictions or limitations on transfer or assignment of the licence.
- conditions relating to the preservation or the transfer or disposition of telecommunication equipment and other assets used in connection with any public switched network.
- obligations for protection of consumers’ interest.
What Are The Offences Created Under the Act?
The following acts are listed as offences under the 1996 Act which is punishable with imprisonment up to three years, or fine up to ten million rupees, or with both.
- establishing, maintaining or operating a telecommunication system or telecommunication service or possessing any wireless telegraphy apparatus or carrying on any other activity in contravention of this Act or the rules or regulations made thereunder, the Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 (XV of 1933) or the conditions of a licence
- knowingly or having reason to believe that any telecommunication system or telecommunication service has been established or is maintained or is being operated in contravention of this Act, transmiting or receiving any intelligence through it, or performing any service from it
- dishonestly obtaining telecommunication service with the intent to avoid payment of a charge applicable to the provision of that service
- unauthorisedly transmiting through a telecommunication system or telecommunication service any intelligence which he knows or has reason to believe to be false, fabricated, indecent or obscene
- engaging in the operation of a public switched network otherwise than in the course of his duty intentionally modifing or interfering with the contents of a message sent by means of that network
- preventing or obstructing the transmission or delivery of any intelligence through a telecommunication system or telecommunication service
- acquainting himself with the contents of any intelligence or unauthorisedly discloses to any person the contents of such intelligence
- commiting mischief
- damaging, removing, interfering or tampering with any telecommunication equipment
- unauthorisedly deciphering the contents of any message transmitted over a public switched network
- assaulting or intentionally obstructing a person engaged in the operation of a public switched network or the establishment, maintenance or operation of telecommunication services over a public switched network or intentionally obstructing the course of business of that person
- intentionally obstructing an officer of the Authority or the Board in the exercise of his functions or powers
- making unauthorized use of the radio frequency spectrum where authorization from the Board is required.
For more information on our work in the Telecom legal sector, visit our page: https://localhost/testsite/practice/ip-media-and-telecommunication/. If you are looking for a team of legal experts to apply for PTA licensing, resolution of a legal matter or representation in court, then KLA is the best option for you!
About Author:- Mr. Khawaja is an International Technology Lawyer based in Düsseldorf, Germany and managing partner of KLA Germany. He is known for providing robust solution with pragmatic approach on topics related to IT law, GDPR, IP, Startups, Media law, Investments and International Trade.