Illegal telecom traffic causing $25 million loss: PTA informs ECC
ISLAMABAD (August 05 2010): Pakistan is losing $25 million precious foreign exchange per month due to illegal telecom traffic, Business Recorder has learnt reliably. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) made this shocking disclosure before Economic Co-ordination Committee meeting of the Cabinet on July 29, 2010.
“After making necessary amendments in the Telecom Deregulation Policy, illegal telecom traffic can be controlled whereas inflow of foreign exchange could be doubled from its present level of US $25 million to US $50 million per month,” ECC was informed.
PTA said it was blocking around 670 cases per day involved in this illegal business. ECC was informed that since grey traffic had much lower rates, therefore, government in the process sustained considerable financial losses. It was further noted that with the existing arrangements, formal market was unable to compete grey market encompassing telecom traffic.
According to the provisions of Telecom Deregulation Policy 2003, Long Distance International (LDI) licenses are permitted to retain a fixed share of termination charges paid by international carriers while the remaining premium is to be used for infrastructure development to increase the tele-density.
In the existing policy regime, this premium for the calls terminating on, Local Loop Operations (LLOs) is passed on to LLOs, while the Access Promotion Contribution (APC) on cellular termination is collected and provided to Universal Services Fund (USF), the agency responsible for expanding the infrastructure and tele-density in the country.
ECC was further informed that pursuant to deregulation policy and Access Promotion (AP) Rules and Regulations, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) monitors and approves the International Telephone Service Agreements (ITSA), recommended by consortium of LDI operators.
However, telecom industry has been agitating, for quite some time, on Approved Settlement Regime (ASR) introduced by PTA. The matter was referred to Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) for resolution. A committee comprising representatives of operators, PTA and MoIT was constituted to deliberate upon the issue. ECC was also informed that based on the consensus, arrived at through the consultative process, MoIT has proposed some changes in Telecommunication Deregulation Policy to make it part of the next Telecom Policy for the sector.
Source: Business Recorder