Pakistan Telecommunication Authority withdraws clearing house directive
KARACHI: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has withdrawn its directive issued on September 25 about forming an international clearing house (ICH) under which only Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) was allowed to terminate all incoming international calls.
The development came in the wake of Lahore High Court’s order that directed the telecom regulator to suspend the formation of ICH, which according to the petitioner, Brain Telecommunication, was a violation of competition rules.
Under ICH, all incoming international traffic had to be handled through a centralised gateway, which was supposed to be operated and maintained by PTCL. The long-distance international (LDI) operators had to share the revenues for international incoming traffic based on their respective market share with fixed termination charges.
When ICH became effective on October 1, the calling rates for overseas Pakistanis rose phenomenally. PTA’s fresh directive, however, has changed the equation. As a result of this development, overseas Pakistanis can make calls to Pakistan on pre-ICH rates now.
In late October, the LHC had directed PTA to suspend ICH until further hearings. The petition is still being heard at the LHC and the next hearing is scheduled for Wednesday (today).