PTA reduces off-net call charges
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has revised the off-net charges for local, long distance and international incoming calls effective from next year. Right now the price for off-net calls is Rs. 0.90 per minute which will be cut down to 0.80 per minute starting next year. PTA made this decision after consultation with all major operators. This price was previously fixed in 2010.
This rate is known as Mobile Termination Rate through which one Telecom operator charges another operator to terminate calls on its network. A consultation paper by PTA termed our interconnect price to be 111-198% higher than other comparable countries and this study was conducted last year, the suggested rates were never implemented. Whereas the changes in pricing will be implemented from next year now.
Only Jazz/Mobilink opposed this reduction in price whereas Telenor proposed moving this change onto next year to avoid disruption in operator revenues whereas all other operators favored this price change. Telenor also demanded a different rate for international calls to be fixed at $0.025 for both fixed and mobile network calls.
People from the industry still believe that this rate is still high. An executive was quoted by Dawn:
The regulator, it appears, couldn’t withstand the pressure from the larger operators as a big portion of their revenues came from MTR. (Still) something is better than nothing.
The reduction in rates will bring a sigh of relief to customers and increase competition in the market as operators will be forced to improve the quality of services even further.