Pakistan Telecommunication Authority reverses decision on Voice Over Internet Protocol implementation
LAHORE- Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has reversed its decision of implementing Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), an international law to protect the international gateway and stop generation of illegal calls being made from one country to another.
The VOIP was implemented some three weeks back in order to minimise the losses which state owned telecommunication giant Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) was incurring due to illegal incoming and outgoing international calls.
Highly placed sources have informed that the PTCL earns around Rs one billion per annum though international calls. However, this amount is not equal to what PTCL lose when people bypass the PTCL system and international gateway by illegal transmitters and generate international calls through different web sites which offer telephone facility on the internet on literally throw away prices.
To cap the leakage in the PTCL revenue pot, VOIP was enforced and the PTA authorised the ban of Internet telephony sites like pc2call.com, net2phone.com and go2call.com. PTA through the Internet Service Providers had restricted the access to all such sites and had demanded royalty from these sites on the basis that they were using PTCL infrastructure when a call is generated from Pakistan to any other country.
According to PTCL sources, when an international call is generated from Pakistan, PTCL keeps 60 percent of the cost, while 40 percent goes to the company operating in the countries where the calls are made. Around two billion international calls both incoming and outgoing are generated through PTCL system and all calls are routed through international gateway where they are logged. However, when the system is bypassed through the illegal transmitters and Internet sites, these calls are not logged as a result of which neither PTCL nor the company operating in the other country where the call is made receives a single penny.
However, PTA management was divided over the issue of banning the Internet telephony sites for two reasons. One, these sites were immensely popular in Pakistan, as the telephone charges for US, UK and other European countries were as cheap as 0.10 Cents to 0.07 Cents per minute. The second reason was that the PTCL, was paying to host companies abroad in foreign exchange when a call is generated from Pakistan.
The sources claimed that the loss due to Internet telephony was negligible if compared to the revenue loss when calls were generated through illegal transmitters, bypassing the PTCL’s international gateway. Now, the PTA authorities have agreed to withdraw the ban on Internet telephony and has decided to speed up its already on going operation against people who are directly bypassing the PTCL system through illegal transmitters.
Source: Business Recorder