Contracts with mobile phone firms can't be cancelled
KABUL (PAN): The Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology on Tuesday said it had no right to cancel contracts of private mobile companies and pressurising them to resume operations in insecure areas was against the government's policy on the private sector.
The assurance came a day after officials in southern Helmand province warned mobile phone companies of cancelling their contracts and removing their equipment if they did not resume operations within three days.
The companies suspended their services for a second time in Helmand on March 24 due to Taliban threats.
"The ministry of telecommunications cannot force these companies to resume services under the contract," head of the Afghan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA), Khair Mohammad Faizi, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
"In line with the agreement, mobile phone companies can stop networks in tense situations," he said.
He said in case of any losses to private companies, the ministry would pay compensation. "If there is insecurity or other challenges, then private companies are not obliged to continue with providing services," Faizai said.
Although the Taliban fighters had allowed the firms to provide services from 7:00am till 6:30pm, efforts were underway to extend the services for 24 hours, the official said.
He said tribal elders, religious scholars and other people had been involved in the struggle to convince the Taliban to allow mobile companies to operate for 24 hours.
On Monday, local officials in Helmand province warned private mobile companies to resume operations until April 14; otherwise their contracts would be cancelled by next Saturday.
Currently Roshan, Afghan Wireless Communications Company (AWCC), Etisalat, MTN and a semi-government Afghan Telecom companies are operating in Helmand.
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