KARACHI: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is looking to regulate voice-over-IP (VoIP) apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, Skype etc, technologies that allows making voice calls using a broadband internet connection instead of a regular phone line. In this regard, the PTA has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for review of the current telecommunication licensing framework seeking services of an independent consultant/consulting firm for providing professional services to review and preparation of licensing framework inline with Telecommunication Policy 2015. The PTA further intends to seek services of a consultant/consulting firm for preparing a framework for test and development licenses, formulation of recommendations for establishment of cable landing station, preparation of mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) framework and preparation of guidelines pertaining to infrastructure sharing. According to RFP, the consulting firm shall thoroughly conduct evaluation/assessment of existing licensing framework and develop a licensing and spectrum framework for future, keeping in view application using VoIP, which services should be licensed under a general authorization in which a service provider is deemed to hold a license by virtue of the services that it provides and is then subject to the terms of that general authorization. Responding to a query, PTA’s spokesperson said regulating VoIP service will be part of licensing framework review and will depend on final outcome of the review. PTA seeks consultation over separation of spectrum and operations licensing; the requirements for licensing of satellite services; the requirements for deployment of public Wi-Fi metropolitan area networks; the requirement for spectrum related authorization for non-public telecommunications use such as amateur radio, maritime and aviation uses; whether distinctions should be maintained between different license types, and if not, the implications of removing such distinctions including the rights and obligations of existing licensees that would need to be transitioned; the method of authorization of those organizations that hold a broadcasting license to offer telecommunications services to ensure equivalent treatment of alternative infrastructure providers; the authorization of telecommunications licensees for the provision of broadcast media and/or distribution service, including the necessity of doing so given the evolving nature of TV. The tasks that would be assigned to the consultant by PTA include; aprocess for orderly transition in terms of rights and obligations of new and legacy licenses will be part of the new licensing framework, to prepare a test and development permission framework that should include criteria for the provision of licenses, license conditions, the duration of the licenses, the terms and conditions of reissuing the licenses on expiry, to carryout study and formulate the recommendations for establishment of cable landing station, to prepare a framework for MVNO as provided in accordance with policy guidelines on mobile network operators and mobile virtual network operators considering the best international practices, to prepare guidelines for infrastructure sharing (Active & Passive) along with necessary license amendments.