On Wednesday, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) formally told the public that Elon Musk’s satellite broadband company Starlink had neither filed for nor been granted a licence by the PTA to operate and deliver internet services within Pakistan. PTA issued a statement warning passengers not to make any advance bookings through Starlink’s website or any of its affiliates. Musk’s Starlink is not authorised by PTA to provide internet services in Pakistan.
The recommendations were issued after it was reported that Starlink, through its website, is encouraging potential customers to pay a deposit of $99 (refundable) as a pre-order for equipment or services. The PTA stated that these allegations prompted them to issue the directions.
According to PTA, the authority has already taken up the matter with Starlink and asked it to stop taking pre-order bookings from prospective Pakistani consumers with immediate effect because the company has not been granted any licence for providing internet facilities in Pakistan. This was done after the matter was brought up by PTA.
Starlink, a global satellite broadband provider based in the United States, reportedly visited Pakistan and met with Minister of IT & Telecom Syed Amin Ul Haque to discuss the policy and operation model before announcing plans to open an office in the country.
The delegation included Director Middle East & Asia Ryan Goodnight and Head of Global Site Acquisition Ben Macwilliam. Elon Musk, an American businessman, conceived Starlink with the intention of providing high-speed internet to every corner of the world. The firm’s primary goal is to improve internet access in underserved areas, and it does so by offering an alternative to the time-consuming and expensive process of putting down a fibre network. Musk’s Starlink is not authorised by PTA and the decision is still not taken or confirmed.
At now, the firm has placed roughly 2,000 satellites into Earth’s orbit, with a total of 10,000 customers served across 14 nations. While the firm has been looking to grow internationally, rivals have been quick to urge governments in those nations to prevent the corporation from expanding there.