Pakistan Telecommunication Authority takes measures to eradicate grey telephony
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is in the process of acquiring a modern system to curb grey telephony – the use of illegal gateway exchanges to bypass legal PTCL gateways and terminate/originate international traffic – causing losses of billions of rupees to the national exchequer.
The primary objective of acquiring the new system is to ensure 100% monitoring of grey traffic, which at present is only 30% as approximately $900 million is the loss incurred annually due to grey telephony, said PTA Chairman Farooq Awan in front of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications.
The committee held a meeting on Thursday led by its chairman Muhammad Idrees Khan Safi with Senators Hari Ram, Osman Saifullah Khan, Farhat Abbas, Shirala Malik and Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana, IT Secretary Amir Tariq Zaman Khan and representatives of PTA and Universal Service Fund (USF) in attendance.
Awan said that the current system was installed three years ago, keeping in mind the size of the overall internet bandwidth then, adding that during the last three years the growth has been exponential of the sector but the authority was unable to monitor the entire illegal traffic. Therefore, it has been decided to acquire the new system which will direct the whole traffic through a single and central system under the new strategy, ensuring 100% monitoring of illegal traffic.
Elaborating further on the measures taken by the PTA to eradicate grey traffic Awan said that the presence of the access promotion contribution (APC) provides artificial margin to grey operators and incentivise them to conduct illegal business, adding that the authority had reduced the level of APC from 7.5 cents per minute in February 2009 to 1.25 cents per minute. He said that due to this decrease, the volume of legal traffic increased from 500 million minutes per month to more than 1.6 billion minutes per month. This implies a substantial decrease the grey traffic.