Competition Commission of Pakistan has expressed its intentioned to go legal against concerned bodies if International Clearing House (ICH) is implemented, which – according to CCP – is considered illegal being the most pernicious anticompetitive in conduct.
Ms. Rahat Kounain Hassan, Chairperson Competition Commission of Pakistan, in an interview with ARY News has said that CCP and other businesses, who will get impacted with the implementation of ICH can go into litigation if ICH is ever implemented.
Ms. Rahat explained that implementation of ICH, based on the arrangement described in MoIT directive dated August 13th, 2012, involves at least three anti completive elements. Which are:
Chairperson CCP said that current ICH arrangement will bound LDI operators to use PTCL’s infrastructure for receiving international incoming traffic, with a fixed share of revenues. Meaning that LDI operators will not compete for their share and revenues instead they will get a share of total revenues based on a fixed quota, which is against the competition laws.
Ms. Rahat Kounain further said that current ICH arrangement, if implemented, will make its governance body responsible to fix price for international incoming traffic for whole of Pakistan. She said that this way prices will go higher and consumers will be given no choice but to follow the prices fixed by a single body, which is against the competition rules.
Elimination of Competition:
If ICH is implemented in its current proposed shape then PTCL will be responsible for terminating all the international incoming calls, leaving no room for other international traffic carriers to remain in business. This is what we had before deregulation of Telecom and operators are reverting back to de-regulated era with ICH, said Ms. Kounain.
Chairperson CCP said that this is a potential case of monopoly, as all other LDI operators will be bound to use PTCL’s infrastructure only, and is hence against the competition rules of Pakistan.
Ms. Kounain said that there’s a strong case of violation of competition rules in ICH implantation and warned that if implemented, CCP and businesses who will suffer due to ICH can go legal against the concerned bodies.
She said that CCP will take all the legal actions against the parties in accordance with CCP rules and regulations.
It maybe recalled that PTA has directed all LDI operators to proceed with the establishment of ICH from October 1st, 2012. CCP had issued policy note for withdrawal of these directives but Chairman PTA has repeatedly mentioned the implementation of ICH during his media briefings.
Here is the video of Ms. Rahat Kounain’s interview with ARY News: