Pakistan’s telecoms watchdog has confirmed that it is looking to extend the recently auctioned 3G and 4G licences to include the autonomous administrative divisions of the disputed Kashmir region, Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB). Pro Pakistani writes that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is consulting with the Kashmir council and is taking ‘all necessary measures’ to ensure that the licence holders can start offering next generation wireless services in the region. According to the PTA an extension to the licences is already in the works, but no timeframe was given for the amendment and consumers in Kashmir are expected to see a delay in receiving the new services. Whilst the PTA confirmed that the rights to offer 3G and 4G services in AJK and GB would be offered to existing licence holders only, the regulator did not comment on whether an additional fee would be levied. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in October 2005 the PTA gave all licensed wireless providers temporary permission to provide services in the region with a view to aiding the rebuilding effort in areas badly hit by an earthquake earlier that month. In June the following year, the permissions were extended for 15 years for four operators at a cost of USD10 million.
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