PTA reduces APC rates by 50 percent
By Muhammad Yasir
KARACHI: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has reduced Access Promotion Contribution (APC) rates by 50 percent to 2.75 cents per minute call to facilitate Long Distance International (LDI) operators for enhancing traffic of international incoming calls at lower charges.
The cut in APC is likely to reduce the international call charges of the LDI operators further who have been involved in stiff competition after cutting their long distance call rates repeatedly for various countries.
The new APC rate is set to increase the traffic of international incoming calls from different countries but it will also enhance the revenues of the operators tremendously who have been struggling to earn revenues through LDI calls.
The LDI operators including cellular, wireless and fixed-line are liable to share their earnings on international calls as APC to Universal Service Fund (USF) via PTA in order to ensure their contribution for infrastructure development in the country.
The APC charge for calls terminated on the lined-line operator’s network is passed on to it while APC on calls terminated on cellular operators is passed on to the USF.
So far, the operators have paid a colossal amount of Rs 38 billion to USF on the account of APC.
PTA’s decision has been widely appreciated by the telecom operators for fulfilling their utmost demands. The operators will not able to give attractive offers to customers but also could strengthen their financial positions by international call services.
APC rate was reduced to 5.5 cents per minute in July 2010 from 7.5 cents in February 2009. It stood at 5 cents in 2008 and 2.5 cent per minute in 2007 and 2006.
APC is part of International Settlement Rates (ASR). It has been highest in the region, as majority of the countries have waived it off completely.
Apart from it, the cut in APC rates will also decline the grey traffic international calls, which are operated illegally by unauthorised networks with their reduced international call service.
The high APC rates increased substantially the grey traffic of international calls in the past few years, which the authority tried to curb and busted dozens of illegal exchange in different cities with its state-of-art equipments.
These illegal exchanges including VOIP (Voice-Over Internet Protocol) use a computer; GSM (Global System for Mobile) gateways; WLL (wireless local loop) phones or mobile SIMs. Besides, licensed taxes also found committed providing international call services by rerouting as local calls for pocking handsome revenues and avoiding taxes.
Telecom analysts said reduction in APC rates is a direct and better solution to curb grey traffic of international calls compared with multiple measures which authority and telecom operators had taken in the past for the same purpose through state-of-the-art equipments and mechanisms set up under Monitoring and Reconciliation of International Telephony Traffic (M&RITT) systems.
They said the lowered APC rates will help reduce the grey traffic of international calls significantly in the country, which is not only beneficial for the telecom operators in terms of expected service hike but also for government in terms of tax revenues.
Source: Daily Times