Just an year ago, Pakistani government was in process of convincing telecom operators to participate in 3G/4G auction by saying that government will go to any level to support internet, technology and the industry.
We know that at least one operator was about to back-down from auction when Dr. Ismail Shah had to go an extra mile in convincing operators to remain part of the auction. Various changes in Information Memorandum and other facilitations were arranged just to get the auction successful.
Telecom companies, on the words of Pakistani government, invested more than $1.1 billion in 3G/4G spectrum and more in the infrastructure to equip Pakistan with high-speed wireless internet.
Now, with-in one year, when telcos — after all the investment — have stretched their 3G networks to more than one third of their total coverage (on average, in total), and more than 15 million users have started using 3G, Punjab government has ridiculed all the promises that the government of Pakistan did with the operators.
Operators didn’t invest billions so that data users in Pakistan are quadrupled with-in one year and then government could tax 3G/4G data services at once
Government has shown its back, scattered the trust, sabotaged the multi-billion dollar internet industry and killed the motivation of aspiring youth for just few billion rupees that it is likely to make by taxing the internet in the province.
Yes, Pakistani government lied with the telecom operators by pretending that they are nice people wanting the county to grow and that they will support the investment.
They played with international investors exactly when these operators beat all expectations and helped broadband subscriptions to grow from mere 3.4 million to double in just six months and over 19 million in just one year; this is when Punjab imposed 19.5% tax on internet usage including DSL, 3G, 4G or any kind of internet over 2Mbps.
We urge Anusha Rehman (Minister for State for Telecom and IT) of the ruling party to recall her colleagues in Punjab of the promises that her government made with the telecom operators and withdraw the taxes, at once.