PTA yet to grant license to Starlink in Pakistan
Image: StarLink

The Pakistani Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has not granted a license to Starlink, a satellite-based internet service provider, as the company has yet to address concerns regarding its business model and technical arrangements in addition to data security. PTA is engaging with American-based satellite service providers to ensure that the provision of satellite-based services is in accordance with the applicable licensing regime to protect the rights of already licensed operators in Pakistan and provide quality services to users.

According to sources from PTA, Starlink’s device is expected to cost approximately $700, and the company will charge a monthly subscription fee of $100 for a 100Mbps internet connection package in Pakistan. The total cost of the device and first-month subscription comes to around Rs. 200,000, with a subsequent monthly package of Rs. 28,000, which is the highest in comparison to any optical fiber or fixed-line operator in Pakistan.

Furthermore, Starlink’s payment procedure currently only accepts credit cards, which can create complications for Pakistani users living in remote areas with limited access to credit cards and financial services. The telecom regulator is also analyzing the regulations of neighboring countries that have not awarded licenses to Starlink due to similar concerns.

Discussions with the company are ongoing, and efforts are being made to ensure that all codal formalities are followed transparently for the grant of a license, especially in relation to data hosting inside Pakistan and satellite-to-satellite communication that bypasses terrestrial gateways. PTA aims to address technical details and concerns to ensure that the company abides by all regulations for a successful partnership in the future.

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