PTA recommends guidelines for IFS
By Muhammad Yasir
KARACHI: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has issued its recommendation to set Rs 5,000 charges of annual International Toll Free number for local service providers in the new mechanism for international freephone service (IFS).
The authority in its consultation papers has stated various modes and options to operate toll free numbers in line with its thriving demands and global market practices and mechanism.
Accordingly, the operator terminating the calls would pay the call charges to the operator originating the call whereas the local service provider would be held responsible in case of any malpractice.
The service providers are made mandatory to map the International Toll Free number according to the customer requirements incorporated in the Allocation Letter issued by PTA.
The National Service Provider is liable to have an agreement with the international operator in order to manage the service and costs of the international toll free numbers.
The interconnect agreement will be mutually agreed in accordance with the Code of Commercial practice while Reverse Charging mechanism will be followed, PTA suggested.
“A separate toll free number could be assigned to a subscriber for each country so the caller can dial the toll free number according to his country in order to make the call free of cost,” PTA recommends.
The call for the International Toll Free number will be routed to the country of destination through the local Service providers who are suggested to translate the dialed International Toll Free number into the number format as specified by the International Service provider.
This will normally be in the form of a special routing number, which will be used by the service provider to identify the called customer as well as the origin of the call. This routing number should be kept confidential.
The structure of the routing number will be bilaterally agreed. The National Service Provider will route the International Toll Free call after translation of the dialed International Toll Free number to an appropriate International Gateway Exchange.
An agreement between the local service provider (i.e. local FLL/ WLL/ Mobile Operator) and the International operator should be devised in order to ensure the payments to the international operator for providing a toll free call to an international caller.
If no such arrangement can be devised the toll free number could be made diallable for international callers with the country code but on paying the charges for an international call.
Around the world, International Toll Free Number is a commercial service handled by operators who claim that an International Toll Free number would be active within a few hours, PTA recommended.
They have simple forms and procedures that can be completed online very quickly for allocation and activation of International Toll Free Numbers. Most of the Service Providers claim that the calls will be routed using the telephone exchanges and not using IP based solutions. However there are some who use IP based solutions as well in addition to routing via telephone exchanges.
Source: Daily Times