Grey networks cause loss of revenue for over USD 40 million per month
LDI contributed US $ 30 million to install state of the art equipment for controlling grey trafficking
Main cause of grey telephony is illegal and unmonitored issuance of mobile SIMs
ISLAMABAD ( GUEST WRITER )
For years PTA has been pushing the idea of formation of ICH and led LDI industry to form ICH in order to generate valuable foreign exchange for the country and requisite recovery of government duties and taxes however, recently PTA has withdrawn its support as they failed to effectively curb grey traffic. Resultantly, MoIT has withdrawn its ICH policy directive and matter now is sub-judise at Sindh High Court with status quo order till next hearing.
It is estimated that grey networks cause loss of revenue for over USD 40 million per month for the country and the LDI industry. Controlling grey trafficking is the responsibility of PTA. Under ICH arrangement, LDI industry upon MoIT and PTA consensus contributed US $ 30 million to install state of the art equipment for controlling grey trafficking. Unfortunately, PTA could not deliver despite all out support by LDIs. There are countries having higher termination rates than Pakistan and those countries are effectively fighting the menace of grey traffic. Grey traffic is global phenomenon and concerned authorities in Pakistan are responsible to curb grey traffic. It is not out of place to mention that the main vehicle for offering grey telephony is illegal and unmonitored issuance of mobile SIMs that also pose other eminent threat to national security and our country. Unfortunately, PTA and other relevant authorities has either completely ignored or knowingly avoided this major contributor of grey telephony. It is also believed that Telecom Authority have soft corner for Mobile Industry and thus not keen in taking strict measures against operators and their sales channels involved in providing huge number of SIMs to these grey operators.
During the entire tenure of ICH, all the major financial set objectives were achieved and revenue for our struggling economy from ICH surpassed USD 1.2 Billion. ICH has ensured due forex inflow for country, timely contribution for Universal Service Funds by LDIs, annual regulatory dues and corporate income taxes against international incoming Telephony increased by multiple folds and was recorded every highest. Experts are of the view that ICH can contribute at least 8 to 12 times more forex revenue for country in next 15 years when comparing it with 3G/4G licensing revenues.
ICH has no effect within the territory of Pakistan or upon the citizens of Pakistan. It does not result in the increase in telecommunication tariffs payable by the public in Pakistan when making international calls from Pakistan. By no stretch of the imagination can it have the effect of increasing or reducing the tariffs of telephone calls as charged by international telecom operators to its subscribers in foreign countries. More than 70% of overseas Pakistani are living at Middle East / Gulf Countries and calling rate from there are historically very high for all destinations including India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Pakistan. Since maximum labour class working at GCC belong to these countries, almost all Telecom operators of Middle East are offering same retail rates for these countries despite huge difference in termination rate for respective country. The only effect of the said Policy Directive is potentially a change in the profit margins of international operators who seek to terminate calls of their subscribers into Pakistan as compared to previous windfall profits.
Chairman PTA, who is author of ICH Policy has no plan how benefit of discontinuation of ICH will be passed on to over 70% of expats Pakistanis living in Middle East. Will they keep paying what they are paying today after scarifying USD 50 Million revenue per month from ICH or someone will ensure that after this huge loss of revenue by country expat Pakistanis will be able to enjoy lesser rates for calling Pakistan.
Rashid Shah share his point of view with www.telecoalert.com