Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to block illegal calls from abroad
By: Hanif Khalid
ISLAMABAD: Government has decided to stem the huge losses incurred by illegal international calls coming to Pakistan by making it sure that no call from abroad is made to Pakistan without payment. This was stated by Chairman PTA Farooq Awan while talking to ‘The News’ here on Friday.
Previously foreign operators had been charging $0.35 to $1.62 for calls made to Pakistan. However Pakistan was paid only $1.3 while the rest was being pocketed by the foreign operators.
PTCL has taken certain steps e.g. setting up of an International Clearing House in Pakistan which will be responsible for receiving in foreign currency payment from foreign telecom companies for calls made through them to Pakistan. PTCL will be the main character in the venture as most of the calls are made on landline numbers. The payment will be received in advance. This will bring substantial foreign exchange to the country.
Pakistan has been obliged to take the steps in view of the losses the exchequer had to suffer to the tune of $400 a year. Moreover, the venture of Long Distance International (LDI) too had to suffer losses and PTA was unable to pay Access Promotion Contribution (APC) to the government, and it became defaulter of Rs23.7 billion.
In view of all this and to forestall the probable complexities, the Ministry of Information Technology, in consultation with all the stakeholders issued policy directive to set up International Clearing House (ICH).
The main aim of the ICH is to bring precious foreign exchange to the country. It is encouraging to note that Pakistan can expect to earn foreign exchange to the tune of $8.84 million after implementing the new policy. These developments would also increase the worth of auction of 3-G spectrum.
It is worth mentioning that millions of Pakistani expatriates make free calls home using technology of Google, Ikhaya, Skype, Viber etc and no APC is levied on these calls.