International call rate high due to foreign operators – PTA Chairman briefing to NA Standing Committee
Islamabad (Business Recorder / Wednesday, November 07, 2012) – Recent increase in International calls rate is not due to increase in Approved Settlement Rate (ASR), which is 8.8 per minute, but it is because of foreign operators who are charging high international call rates, National Assembly s Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat was informed here on Wednesday.
Chairman of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Farooq Awan, while briefing the committee on levy imposed by the PTA on International calls, blamed foreign operators for the increase in international calls rates, adding that incoming call traffic being charged per minute by foreign operators from UK is between US 19 and 48, UAE 65 and Saudi Arabia 45. However, the ASR is set by the PTA at 8.8 per minute with Access Promotion Contribution (APC) share of 2.9 per minute.
He said that cheap rates offered by resellers abroad had problems such as QoS, under-reporting/under-cutting of minutes and higher billing pulse of 10/20 minutes and these resellers were not willing to compromise on their profits and were trying to exploit expatriates.
He said that no APC had been levied on International incoming SMS in Pakistan whereas international carriers also levy such charges on International SMS termination, adding that no APC is applicable on other forms of technologies such as VoIP through internet, Google, Ikhaya, Skype and Viber for free calls to Pakistan from abroad.
The committee which met with Dewan Ashiq Hussain Bokhari in the chair was briefed on the levy imposed by the PTA on International Calls and Model villages of Islamabad.
About the performance of International Clearing House Exchange (ICH), Chairman PTA informed the committee that performance of the ICH can be proved by the fact that as of October 20 this year, the ICH has fetched $52.72 million in the form of foreign exchange for Pakistan. The national exchequer earned $17.37 million in terms of APC for USF and $35.34 million as LDI share as of October 20 this year. The new arrangement is beneficial to the telecom sector and is yielding higher revenues for the government, he added.
International Call Tax Case – Next Date of Hearing in Lahore High Court
The Lahore High Court has granted stay on establishment of ICH on a writ petition filed by Brain Telecom Pvt. Ltd and notices have been served to Ministry of Information and Technology (MoIT), PTA, CCP and PTCL and next date of hearing is November 14, Chairman PTA said.