Prices of Off-Net Calls & SMS May Increase

Sources that are close to the regulatory authority say that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), is considering the option of imposing the termination charges on the text messages and also friezing the Mobile Termination Rates at Rs 1.00 per minute.

Imposing the termination charges on the text messages was evaluated closely in a meeting that was held yesterday. They also decided to begin the friezing of the MBR at Rs 1.00 per minute. The meeting was chaired by the PTA head and attended by all the CEOs of cellular companies. The SMS termination charges will be derived from the data based on stats and the international bench marker. For this reason, the cellular companies will submit voice/SMS data to the authority for evaluation. It may be said that if a call is made from network X to network Y, termination charges goes to the pocket of network Y.

Price Increase

Currently, MTR charges for the cellular companies are based on the per second basis though the end user may be charged per minute or per sec depending on the package. Meaning if a customer makes 10 sec long off net call from network X to Y, then X gives Y MTR charges for 10 seconds and not for the whole minute.

Current regulations pose a voice termination charge at Rs 0.90 per min. which was reduced from Rs 1.25 per min on 1st June 2008, but SMS termination charges are not imposed till now. According to industry top, SMS termination charges will be minor although off net SMS prices may go up as compared to current tariffs. If MTR is fixed at Rs 1 per min and minimum off net call pulse 1 min, then 30 seconds packages may end.

No impact on on-net calls Or SMS rates if the regulation is approved. It is expected to be finalised by March 2010. This is because it does not require many things for it to be finalised thus taking the less time.

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