The satellite-based internet service provider “Starlink” has not yet received a licence from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
Based to extensive conversations with many parties and important stakeholders, PTA said that concerns about Starlink’s operations in Pakistan extend beyond data security to include the company’s business model and technological setup, both of which have not yet been addressed.
In order to ensure that the provision of satellite-based services should be in compliance with the applicable licencing regime, the telecom regulator maintains ongoing contact with American-based satellite service providers. This ensures that users will receive high-quality services while also defending the rights of Pakistan’s already-licensed operators.
According to PTA sources, the gadget used by Starlink to access the network is likely to cost around $700, and the provider will charge $100 per month for a 100 Mbps internet connection package in Pakistan.
As a result, the gadget price plus first-month subscription revenue will be close to Rs. 200,000 with a following monthly package of Rs. 28,000, which will be the highest price compared to any optical fibre or fixed line operator in Pakistan.
Also, because the corporation now uses credit cards for payment, it will be more difficult for Pakistani consumers to use the internet from remote locations and who rely less on credit cards and other financial services.
The regional nations with tight satellite restrictions that have not yet granted Starlink licences because of similar worries are also being examined by the telecom authority.
Although talks with the company are still ongoing, efforts are being made to ensure that it complies with all legal requirements for the license’s issuance in a transparent manner, particularly with regard to data hosting within Pakistan and satellite-to-satellite communication, which avoids using terrestrial gateways. More technical information is being sought in these areas.
The company has refrained from accepting any device orders from Pakistani customers using credit cards until the PTA has granted the company a licence, according to PTA officials, who claim that all pertinent stakeholders, including MOIT, have been brought on board to analyse the impact of using spectrum in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).