Dr. Syed Ismail Shah after completing his initial tenure of four years has been re-appointed as the Chairman PTA (Pakistan Telecommunications Authority).
His first term will end on November 13, and he will continue to lead the Pakistan into the digital revolution. Dr. Ismail has an undergraduate degree in Engineering from Pakistan and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA. He holds both ample experiences in both public and private sector.
Prime Minister of Pakistan has approved the reappointment of Dr. Shah as the Chairman PTA but according to our sources, he has yet to receive any official notification.
According to rules of the appointment, a Chairman PTA is selected for the term of four years and is later eligible for reappointment for the similar term upon the approval of the Prime Minister on the basis of the performance of the Chairman.
Pakistan’s Digital Performance in the Last Four Years
In the last four years, PTA, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and other concerned departments have paved the way for Digital Pakistan through its various initiatives and digital policies. Let’s recount some of those significant developments to see what Pakistan has accomplished in a small time frame:
3G/4G Spectrum Auction
In April 2014, Pakistan raised $903 million in its first auction for 3G mobile phone networks, and it also collected $210 million from the 4G spectrum auction. Though the technology was available across the globe for almost a decade, for Pakistan this was the first step towards going digital.
Biometric Verification of SIM cards
In 2014, PTA also issued the notice to issue a cellular SIM card after biometric verification. The buyer still has to provide a thumb impression for online verification with Nadra. The biometric verification debate started in 2013 when Peshawar High Court directed cellular companies to obtain biometric system.
In 2015, we also saw the creation of Telecom Policy of Pakistan that did not just focus on quality and affordable communication but also at the fair competition in the market.
In 2016, Pakistan passed the Cybercrime Law in the country which was deemed a controversial legislation for many but at the same time a necessary step to battle cybercrimes.
In 2017, PTA is introducing Mobile Devices Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS), a system that will be capable of identification, registration, and blocking of mobile phones that will be non-compliant to the new set of rules. This move will end or somehow drastically reduce mobile phone smuggling in Pakistan.
Draft of Digital Pakistan Policy
Earlier this year, the draft of Digital Pakistan Policy was created to provide the guidelines for the about the digital future of Pakistan and construct relevant strategies to accomplish the right goals.
PTA has been tasked with creating Regulatory Framework for testing 5G technology in Pakistan. According to the draft proposal, PTA / FAB (Frequency Allocation Board) will identify/set aside appropriate bandwidth in the frequency spectrum blocks currently under consideration for 5G.