Telenor tries to placate Pakistan

Telenor tries to placate Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: Telenor is ready to bargain with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) about massive investments to remedy last week’s hard-hitting historic Indian Supreme Court judgment revoking its mobile phone licenses, PTA sources say.

Telenor Pakistan HQ, Islamabad
Telenor Pakistan HQ, Islamabad
Photo: Telenor

The Norwegian telecoms giant, that already has a bad name in Pakistani religious circles, has suffered extremist attacks on company franchises due to the company’s association with Nordic countries following publication of the blasphemous Prophet Muhammad caricatures. 

Pakistani telecom experts foresee a tough time for Telenor from the public and consumer rights bodies here, as the company is a violator of PTA rules and regulations.

Muhammad Idrees Randhawa, a key person in the Rawalpindi District Consumers Rights Protection Council, told The Foreigner, “There are numerous complaints received about Telenor on a daily basis about its inferior service provision to subscribers. Some of them have been forwarded to the court for the legal action.” 

Mr Randhawa alleged the company is fleecing the masses by providing them the poorest network of all the communications companies operating in Pakistan.

According to PTA sources, this involves their premium customers. Despite the hundreds of thousands of online complaints launched by subscribers, they find the authority’s lenient attitude towards Telenor regarding any legal action is pathetic.

Telenor representatives immediately approached the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Chairman to set their forthcoming agenda in Pakistan following the revocation of partner Uninor’s license in India. Senior sources in the office of the PTA Chairman informed The Foreigner that Telenor is to invest double the amount in Pakistan after winding up their business in India.

These officials also revealed that Telenor is content with the PTA’s relaxed policies compared with the very strict rules and regulation and their implementation in India.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Chairman Dr. Muhammad Yaseen, who has already been the subject of media criticism for being extra favorable to Telenor, refused to comment on this issue when approached by The Foreigner by mobile.

No senior Telenor representatives in Pakistan would make any statement to The Foreigner regarding the current situation and revocation of the Uninor license in India either. Company Corporate Media Communication heads are trying to the stop the publication of the news by major media outlets in Pakistan by pressuring journalists and media moguls.

Telenor in Norway has not commented on the issue after being contacted by The Foreigner.

Malik Ayub Sumbal is a senior investigative journalist based in Islamabad and South Asian Bureau Chief for The Los Angeles Post.