The Chief Executive Officer of VEON Group, Kaan Terzioglu, accompanied by VEON Group Director of Corporate Affairs, Marine Babayan, and CEO of Jazz, Aamir Ibrahim, met with Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Umar Saif and Chairman of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Major General (r) Hafeezur Rehman on Wednesday.
During the meeting, the delegation presented a comprehensive overview of Jazz’s substantial investments in Pakistan, surpassing $10.6 billion. These investments focus on advancing the country’s digital infrastructure, including mobile broadband expansion, fintech – JazzCash, cloud & cybersecurity platform – Garaj, and various digital lifestyle services – Tamasha and BiP.
While stressing Jazz’s unwavering commitment, along with JazzCash and Mobilink Microfinance Bank, to capitalize on all available opportunities to accelerate the realization of Digital Pakistan, the delegation also pointed out the urgent need to address key challenges facing Pakistan’s telecom sector, emphasizing that resolving these issues is crucial for realizing Pakistan’s potential for attracting international investments and accelerating the integration of future technologies.
The industry’s challenges include the lowest global average revenue per user (ARPU), a high taxation environment, a significant increase in business costs—especially due to the soaring dollar-pegged spectrum prices—and the depreciation of the Rupee over the years. He highlighted that these factors adversely impact investment appetite, posing a threat to ensuring consistent improvement in service quality.
Sharing his views, VEON Group CEO Kaan Terzioglu said that the mobile industry plays a crucial role in driving economic growth, championing digital inclusion, and enabling other sectors to thrive. Despite these contributions, he acknowledged that existing challenges hinder the industry from becoming sustainable partners for the future. To address these impediments, Terzioglu highlighted the swift implementation of policy interventions the industry has sought for a couple of years. These include delinking spectrum prices from the U.S. dollar, adopting a model of extending license payments over twenty years—a strategy successfully implemented in other nations, temporarily suspending industry contributions to the Universal Service Fund and Ignite (R&D fund), and ensuring rightful access to industrial electricity tariffs for the telecom sector.
He thanked the IT & Telecom Minister and Chairman PTA for their time and the productive discussion, underlining the collaborative efforts to strengthen and enhance the telecom landscape.