PTA is Not in Position to Control Social Media: Dr. Ismail Shah

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Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Dr. Ismail Shah has made it clear that the authority is not in a position to control social media, saying that these sites — mainly Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp — aren’t PTA licensees.

While briefing the Public Accounts Committee, which was held under the chairmanship of Syed Khurasheed Shah, PTA chairman said that mobile phone users have reached 140 millions and broadband mobile consumers have reached 42.1 million.

The committee asked the Ministry of Communication to provide all the details of the employees of Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL), including the pension details of the employees, number of employees that were given VSS and the property and asset details of PTCL.

PTA Chairman said that success of Uber and Careem taxi services is a result of mobile broadband. He said that the success of Uber and Careem has greatly impacted the common taxi drivers; therefore, the authority is working on a plan to provide an opportunity to common taxi drivers to become part of mobile broadband taxi service Uber and Careem.

He said that telecom services have covered 72.4 percent area of the country. He added that under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) 820 kilometers long fiber optic line is being laid from Rawalpindi to Khunjrab.

Responding to a question he said that currently five submarine cables are being used to supply internet services in Pakistan. As a result of expanding mobile broadband services in the country first branchless bank has also started operations.

Mobile broadband consumers have witnessed a phenomenal increase in the country and at present 74,000 TB data is being consumed per annum in the country which will increase manifold within next few years.

Talking about to deal with the mobile phone theft cases, the PTA chairman said that the government is will introduce a new system which will make stolen phones useless even if IMEI number is changed.

Ismail Shah said that the authority is working on a plan to make it mandatory for cellular companies to share the use of their towers in a bid to provide better services to consumers. He said that Instaphone owes Rs. 22 billion of government. The panel handed over audit objections of 1990 to the subcommittee.

PAC also summoned Privatization Commission (PC) to brief over the non recovery of $800 million on account of PTCL privatization.

Chairman Committee Khurasheed Shah said that if the government was collecting 25% tax on the usage of Rs 100 card, tax collections during a year taking into account 140 million cell phone users would be around Rs. 420 billion.

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