|Defunct||January 4, 2008 (License cancelled)|
|Key people||Iain Williams, CEO|
|Products||InstaXcite, InstaPhone Postpaid|
|Parent||Millicom International Cellular (former), Afreen Group (present)|
Instaphone was a telecommunications company in Pakistan and the pioneer of cellular industry in Pakistan. The company was initially owned by Millicom International and was acquired later by the Arfeen Group.
In January 2008, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) terminated the license of Instaphone due to the company’s failure to pay outstanding dues.
Before the company's license was canceled, It was ranked at the bottom in terms of market share.
Cancellation of license
On January 4, 2008, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) terminated the license of Instaphone due to the company’s failure to pay outstanding dues for the license renewal fee they agreed to in April 2005 ($291MM). Pakcom, the company that runs Instaphone, failed to meet the payment schedule of $291 million for getting the operating license renewed for next 15 years from 2005.
Appeal against PTA
The Instaphone challenged the PTA's decision before the Islamabad High Court in an appeal. During pendency of the appeal, it also filed a writ petition challenging the Mobile Cellular Policy issued by the Federal Government in 2004 under which new licenses for cellular mobile services were awarded.
On April 14, 2009, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed the appeal filed by Instaphone. Both the appeal and the writ petition were dismissed by the court and PTA’s determination was upheld. However, the court extended the date for making the outstanding payment by Instaphone to 6 May 2009.
Technology migration strategy
Instaphone had a unique migration strategy between Analog service in the 1980s to the final GSM network. Due to a lack of telephone number porting laws in Pakistan, Mobilink kept a large TDMA network throughout the 1990s up until the middle of this decade. Due to this rare TDMA presence in the middle of Asia which was majority GSM, Pakistan was flooded with unlocked American and Canadian TDMA cellphones for sale to many of the Instaphone customers who were mostly business users at the time and could not afford losing their established telephone numbers.
TDMA grey market phones
Many of the North American standard TDMA phones showed up on the piers in Dubai en route to Pakistan for sale, usually bonded by third parties that had satellite offices in the city. The majority of these North American phones were sold on the grey market supposedly laundering money for the Indian mafia. Hundreds of Pakistani immigrants across North America tried to take part in this opportunity and many lost their life savings. The average shipment was approximately $30,000 USD of cellphones and fraudulent letters of credit were given. Most were never paid for the shipment. Within the next decade, Instaphone was declared bankrupt.
- Instaphone - About us
- Pakistan Telecommunication Authority
- PTA cancels Instaphone license
- PTA cancels instaphone license
- PTA cancels instaphone license. Pta.gov.pk
- Instaphone Appeal dismissed by Islamabad Highcourt. Propakistani.pk. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
- Islamabad Highcourt dismisses Instaphone Appeal against PTA. Retrieved 16 April 2009.[dead link]
- "Cellular co's appeal dismissed". The Nation. Retrieved April 15, 2009.