Breaking: Off Net Calls and SMS Rates May Go High

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is considering to impose termination charges on text messages and friezing MTR (Mobile Termination Rates) at Rs. 1.00 per minute, told us sources close to regulatory authority.

We were informed that, in a meeting held yesterday at PTA headquarter; it was closely evaluated to impose termination charges on text messages. Along with it was also decided to start preliminary work on friezing Mobile Termination rate at Rs. 1.00 per minute. Reportedly, CEOs of all cellular companies were present in the meeting that was chaired by PTA Head.

PTA has asked all cellular companies to submit their Voice/SMS data to authority for evaluation. Authority is likely to study the data, and based on stats, international benchmarks and other concerning factors, SMS termination charges will be derived.

It maybe recalled that If a call is made from a Network A to Network B, then termination charges goes into the pocket of Network B.

As of now, MTR charges amongst cellular companies are based on per second basis (though, end user is charged on per min or per 30 seconds’ basis – according to his/her package). Meaning that, if a customer makes 10 seconds’ long off-net call from network A to network B, then network A gives network B MTR charges for 10 seconds, not for the whole minute.

Currently, as per regulation, voice termination charges are Rs. 0.90 per min, which were reduced from Rs. 1.25 per min on 1st June 2008, while there were no termination charges on SMS till now.

Industry tops have told us that SMS termination charges will be very minor, however, off-net SMS prices may go higher as compared to current tariffs.

However, 30 second packages may end if MTR is fixed at Rs. 1 per minute, and minimum off-net call pulse will be one minute.

If approved, this regulation won’t impact on-net calls or SMS rates.

Regulation is expected to get finalized by March end, 2010.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK