KARACHI: In order to tackle the persistent power crisis and ensure uninterrupted mobile service to millions of customers, the cellular mobile operators (CMOs) in Pakistan are forced to invest in power generation, said an operator. Pakistan’s leading CMO said though telecom operators are not in business of power generation, however due to lack of availability of electricity round the clock, telecom operators are forced to invest in power generation through generators or any other green solutions, which are consuming heavy capex & opex from total investment. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) carried out consultation with all stake holders on Environmental Obligations of Telecommunication Industry in Pakistan to safe guard environment without disturbing the operational business of telecommunications and associated sectors engaged in various important activities. The total CO2 emissions of Pakistan are approximately 0.7% of the Global total and this figure has to considered high, taking into account the fact Pakistan is a developing Country. CMOs have installed approximately 35,000 towers and these are spread across the country, but facing huge problems with electricity from the transmission systems and grid station power. Diesel Generators are required for electricity supply in almost all the segments of the telecommunications market. Responding to PTA, a CMO said that any regulations/obligation consequent to current consultation would be redundant in nature and will not bring additional benefits for the cause of environment protection. This will add to miseries of telecom operators as they are already dealing with five such agencies relevant to environment protection. Another CMO replying to PTA’s questionnaire said power generators are major source of CO2 emission that are used to energize the equipment whereas power is not a core business of telecom operators in Pakistan, however, due to lack of availability of electricity round the clock, telecom operators were forced to invest the capex & opex for power generation. Therefore, it is recommended that investor friendly policies are made so that power is available to industry for healthy growth of Telecom sector and to avoid CO2 emission to the environment, it added. Another CMO was of the view that PTA should remove the restriction of deploying transformers on each site, as now the Power consumption of the new equipment does not require huge electricity intake from the grid. Import taxes on greener Telco equipment including generators should be reduced to encourage imports of environment friendly equipment, government needs to be serious in reduction of carbon foot print and give subsidy or tax free imports on this equipment. As far as monitoring is concerned, the operator considers that the competent authority which has the means and capability to monitor the environment, but it should not create any new cumbersome process that hinders rapid site deployments. Any new addition in current process will increase both time and risk of further exploitation of policy and procedure loopholes in the process, thus increasing the costs of operators, it added. Published in Daily Times, January 26th 2018.