PTA Likely to Review Telecom Infrastructure Provider Licensing Framework

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PTA Likely to Review Telecom Infrastructure Provider Licensing Framework

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is expected to review the Telecom Infrastructure Provider (TIP) licencing framework and reorganise it in preparation for the arrival of Carrier Neutral Data Centers and Cable Landing Stations infrastructure service providers, by allowing new entrants as well as existing licensees into the market.

According to official documents, the PTA is planning to conduct a study to evaluate the current market practices for co-location services, cross/interconnects, and cloud services, as well as the impact of carrier-neutral data centers and cable landing stations on the existing market, due to rising indigenous demand for local/international content, data collection and processing, and improved internet access.

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PTA will review the Telecom Infrastructure Provider (TIP) licencing framework and reorganise it to prepare for the arrival of Carrier Neutral Data Centers and Cable Landing Station infrastructure service providers by opening up the market to new entrants as well as existing licensees with the help of such a study.

The licencing requirements for interested investors/licensees will be outlined in accordance with the provisions of the Personal Data Protection Act of 2021, as well as other relevant recommendations in practice.

All telecom infrastructure and services licensees will be required to assure their presence for cross/inter-connect purposes in order to minimise market barriers for new entrants. By establishing inter/cross-connect arrangements with local licensees, PTA would invite multinational operators to host their services in such facilities. Without a licence or a written arrangement with a genuine licensee under intimation to PTA, no overseas operator will be allowed to sell their services directly in the market.

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PTA will visit such facilities on a regular basis to guarantee necessary compliance and to ensure maximum transparency of the various services provided by the facility owners.

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As part of their licencing obligations, licensees will be required to establish lawful interception at all such sites. All of these facilities will follow the guidelines in the National Cybersecurity Policy – 2021 for safeguarding their locations, and the same will be true of all hosted service providers.

International operators/service providers using such facilities for telephony/internet traffic transit will be excluded from lawful interception and other duties imposed on local licensees.

In this regard, the PTA, in consultation with relevant stakeholders and the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT), will develop a simple encouraging framework to effectively utilize the technology zones/industrial zones already established in Pakistan, as well as other investment models facilitations with redundant commercial power and redundant optic connectivity ecosystems.

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