Pakistan’s telecoms regulator, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), has asked its Indian counterpart the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to provide clarification on whether Pakistani firms applied for licences to operate in India’s deregulated telecoms market back in 1997 and, if so, on what grounds their applications were turned down. The PTA’s request forms part of its review of an application from Century Telecom – a joint venture between local ISP Cyber.Net and India’s Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) – for a landline telephony licence in Pakistan, which was previously denied on security grounds. According to a spokesman from the PTA, it is seeking information from the TRAI on whether any Pakistani applicant was turned down for security reasons, adding that ‘if anyone applied and didn’t get a licence [for this reason] it would do the same with Century Telecom’. Century Telecom was one of four companies scrapped from the list of potential investors by the PTA, which recently short-listed 19 firms for long-distance international licences. The Pakistani regulator says that although Century was turned down on security grounds, it is now reviewing its decision, although this does not mean that the next decision will be in its favour.
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