DHA prefers Wateen, threatens resident to remove Zong tower

KARACHI – The Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has been threatening one of its residents to remove the mobile phone tower installed by a cellular company on the roof of his house, and demanding a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) of the neighbourhood, which is against legal practices.

It is to be noted that the DHA has been penalised by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) with penalties of Rs 15 million for entering into an agreement with Wateen, considering it an illegal and anti-competitive practice. On the other hand, the authority is trying its best to remove the tower installed by Zong by creating a baseless issue that the NOC of the neighbourhood is necessary for installation of the tower.
According to details, it seems that after entering into the said agreement, the authority is going to remove the receivers of all the other mobile companies, and in this regard, they have asked the resident of house No 29/1/2 in Phase VI at Khayaban-e-Rahat to remove the tower as it does not have the NOC of the neighbourhood.

And the way the authority is treating this issue is very strange as it is writing to the cellular company instead of asking the owner of the house, the affectee said while talking to Pakistan Today, adding that this is just a 5-metre tower installed with proper specification, so it is not harmful at all as it has also been approved by the Pakistan Engineering Council.

“DHA also approved it at the time of its installation in January this year, and the authority has approved another 300 towers installed by different cellular companies within the sphere of 3-5 kilometres in the same locality,” he added.

He informed that the authority is receiving the rent of this tower by the cellular company, yet after passing of plausible time, the authority is asking for removal of the tower by creating an issue of neighbourhood’s NOC, whereas all the other towers in the area that were installed without the NOC of the neighbourhood are not being removed.
Perhaps this is a new strategy of the authority after entering into an agreement with Wateen to give it sole rights to provide telecommunication and media services in certain phases of the property under the control of DHA. It is said that this agreement would affect preventing, restricting or reducing competition within the relevant market unless exemption has been granted by the CCP.

The parties have been reprimanded that continuing the breach could entail serious consequences and the parties might be liable to pay maximum penalty of Rs 1 million per day for the ongoing violation. The CCP bench, comprising Chairwoman Rahat Kaunain Hassan and M&A Member Vadiyya Khalil, passed an order on Tuesday and imposed Rs 10 million as penalty on the DHA and Rs 5 million on Wateen for entering into a prohibited agreement by granting exclusivity.

The CCP concluded that wireless Internet services could be provided by different operators as far as technology is concerned, but fixed-line services – such as telecommunication and media – are based on wires and fixed-line and have been granted exclusivity in the DHA region.

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