PTA will introduce unified licences for LL and LDI operators

PTA will introduce unified licences for LL and LDI operators
– New licensing regime will be more conducive to investments
– Consolidation of licences will lead to emergence of big players
KARACHI (Monday, November 28, 2011) : Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has decided to chalk out strategies for merging Local Loop (LL) and Long Distance International License (LDI) to form a consolidated license, aiming to adopt advanced technological trends for delivery of multiple services to millions of customers at unified platform.
PTA has taken initiatives on licensing reforms for development of a regime, Class Value Added Services Licensing (CVAS) regime, which is more conducive for investment environment.
The main objectives of such reforms are to support the delivery of multiple services, promoting the innovation, the reduction of consumer prices and creating a more conducive regime for investment, PTA study stated.
The consolidation of licenses in Pakistan will lead to emergence of big players in market. These big players are expected to be better placed to compete with existing Significant Market Players (SMPs), which will bode well on the competition in Pakistan.
The expected benefits reduction in consumer tariffs particular the line rents etc, which are still being charged by some of the operators in Pakistan.
The integrated licensee would be able to offer more services in addition to basic voice service and it will promote the trend of bundle packages in Pakistan.
At present PTCL being an integrated licensee is providing multiple services such as voice, internet, and IPTV and therefore able to introduce various bundled packages.
The regulators around the world are devising the regulatory reforms to regulate convergence in telecommunications and broadcasting.
There are separate regulatory frameworks for wireline, wireless and broadcasting services. The regulators in the world have simplified the licensing structure, which involves the consolidation of different services in a single unified license.
The consolidation or merger of license will improve the revenues of operators that will gain potential to introduce various services at one platform such as Premium Rate Services, Payphone Services, Trunk Radio Services, Public Internet Service, Data Service, Tracking System for public application, Voice Mail, SMS Aggregator, Closed user group Video Conferencing, Content Service Provider Networking, Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
This leads to a number of benefits for operators as well as the customers, including but not limited to, greater ARPU through value added services and bundle packages for consumers.
The voice and data networks are getting integrated as fixed and mobile networks are changing to all IP Next Generation Networks (NGNs). The voice is shifting from PSTN networks to mobile networks, whereas there is emergence of VoIP and growing trend of voice moving from PSTN to IP.
More importantly, NGN consume less energy so deployment of such networks has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint by 15 percent, PTA study stated.
The major telecom operators have almost completed their core networks’ migration towards to Next Generation Network (NGN) as part of their infrastructure up gradation plan.
NGN platform is a well-known reality for advanced level programming, the latest circuit designing techniques, the delivery of multiple services.
This has opened a new business avenue for service providers, besides raising many challenges for regulators in terms of establishing new licensing and regulatory regime. Resultantly, the geographical licensing is changing into unified licensing.
Pakistan telecom market is divided into 14 telecom regions as per telecom deregulation policy and there is a restriction of local switching for LL operators, are required to switch the call within the telecom region.
NGNs use the distributed call server model, which is independent of geographical restrictions.
Despite the fact that existing licensing regime is technology neutral, the restriction of switching within licensing area is a hindrance in the way to end NGN proliferation.
Due to the same hindrance; the operators cannot offer the services, which are independent of geographical boundaries, utilization of the same number through soft phone anywhere within Pakistan.
Therefore it can be stated that the present restriction on putting switching equipments within licensing area requires reconsideration due to the technical and economical reasons. The existing interconnect regime for LL operators to handover the call to LDIs is another restriction.
PTA has conducted a study for local market and it has sought inputs of local stakeholder on technical, legislative and commercial issues.
(Published in DailyTimes on 29-11-2011)

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