Call Rates to Pakistan Increase by 300-800% With ICH in Place from Today

PTA-logoIn middle of severe opposition from Competition Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Ministry of Information Technology today lead the LDI operators to implement International Clearing House (ICH) from today.

It maybe recalled that ICH will streamline all incoming international traffic through a centralized gateway (operated and maintained by PTCL) through which all LDI operators will share the revenues for international incoming traffic based on their current market share with fixed termination charges.

Competition Commission has expressed its concerns relating to implementation of ICH and has said that commission could litigate the matter if ICH is implemented.

However, PTA – backed by Ministry of IT – went ahead with the plan and ICH is principally considered operational starting today.

All public listed companies have notified their shareholders (and stock exchanges) of their participation in ICH regime.

Call Rates to Pakistan Increase

Move, which is said to eliminate gray or illegal traffic coming to Pakistan, has increased call pricing for those calling to Pakistan from abroad. Calls from USA to Pakistan are likely to be charged at as high as 16 $cents per minute, up from 4-6 $cents per minute charged before ICH implementation.

We are receiving reports from all over the world indicating that rates for calls to Pakistan increased by 300 to 800 percent, depending on respective state and network.

Skype has also increased per minute charges for calls to Pakistan, which is now charging 14.5 $cents per minute as standard tariff. Skype has also taken back special calling plans (bundles) that it used to offer for Pakistani calls.

According to industry experts, monthly incoming international traffic to Pakistan is around 1.5 billion minutes per month, which will translate into US 120-150 million dollars of increased burden on Pakistani expats for making calls to Pakistan.

 CCP has said that it is receiving complaints from overseas Pakistanis over the issue of ICH and increased call charges for making calls to Pakistan.

Economic impacts are yet to be fully calculated with the implementation of ICH.

Can CCP Block ICH?

Technically speaking Competition Commission of Pakistan can’t bar PTA from implementing ICH.

CCP as a anti-competition body can’t restrict the government from implementing any policy, such as ICH in this case. This doesn’t come under CCP’s mandate to issue show-cause notice or to penalize a government body, such as Ministry of Information Technology.

Legal experts tell ProPakistani that CCP’s laws have been violated through a MoIT policy directive (upon which ICH is being implemented). Breach of CCP’s laws can’t be justified with an MoIT policy directive only, instead a legal framework or legislation is required to compensate CCP’s legal obligation.

However, at the same time, CCP is not entitled to issue show-cause notice to a government body to cap it from issuing a policy directive. Hence there’s no way it can restrict private companies from implementing ICH, which is covered by a policy directive.

The only way left behind to challenge ICH is by filing a lawsuit against the implementation in the courts, which can be done by any individual or a company. But we will have to see if that happens. Reportedly, no individual or company is yet ready to go legal against the implementation of ICH.

Karachi Stock Exchange notices for Implementation of ICH:





Tech and telecom reporter with over 15 years of experience, he works as founder of ProPakistani.PK

    • sari techq guftagu ka nichor yeah hy ky “pakistan call anay and janay kay paisay changay palay bhar gy hain aj say” why???? kioun ky “bhutto aj bhe zinda hy”.

  • a few points.

    1) CCP’s remit is to pre-empt abuse of dominance and limitation of competition within Pakistan. As such what the callers pay from other countries into Pakistan, is not within CCP’s mandate.

    2) international callers from Middle East will not pay higher to make calls to Pakistan; their respective operators (like Etisalat and STC) will take less margin – Sadly the poor expat working in ME is already paying through his nose.

    3) from some (European/ North American) countries the prices of calling cards will go up. This is totally fine as such cards rely on VoIP and illegal grey traffic to terminate calls in Pakistan – a practice which benefits neither the telecom companies in Pakistan, nor the Govt of Pakistan.

    • And you will agree to another point, i.e. ICH board is mandated to revise termination charges independently. Hence, expect these call charges to Pakistan going higher and higher only.

    • The job of telecom companies is to provide the connect people at competitive prices, not to create cartels to loot customers. Market forces will naturally push callers towards VoIP and so called “illegal” gray traffic.

  • A thought of a Mango man after reading this ” Sanu koi local call nahi karda , international kinny karnii hai ” lol

  • I am Living in Saudi Arabia and Now VoIP Provider Charging 11 Cent Per Minute Zardari and Co really enjoying Democracy this will increase illegal gateway and now i am supporting illegal gateway because it is really hard for us to communicated with our family and friends

  • I’m a Pakistani student studying in Germany and it is a very very sad news for all Pakistani students here. Call charges to Pakistan have been increased from today by the gsm service providers. New call charges are unbearable

  • Nothing good can be expected from this Govt. World is moving forward & we are in reverse mode. They are yet to receive their money from etisalat. But no one is bother about it. They are trying to bring PTCL monopoly back in market. No chances of 3G in near future…..

  • Thank you PTA for anti-expat decision. You shouldn’t forget that Pakistan is greatly relying on remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis and ONLY they call back home. So you are actually back stabbing overseas Pakistanis.
    The very first thing I will do is send a small single SIM gateway back home or a VoIP phone to call my home for free. Block it if you can. I will also share this with all my Pakistani friends specially anyone who can’t afford paying such costs.
    Anti-Expat decision earlier by this Government was when they raised tax on outbound flights just to bring more out of pockets of overseas Pakistanis and of those who go out of Pakistan in search of jobs/business.
    Decision Makers in Pakistan actually want to bring out all golden eggs at one time rather eating one a day.

    • what is the procedure bro pls share with all.. really yar boat manga kar dia hai ab hum kia karin gy :(

    • Ahmed, I personally threw away feelings for this government and majority of Pakistan. Wallah, it is height of shame for government that the country that is purely relying on foreign remittances to run day to day business is doing such a dirty game with expats. Anyways, we have several other ways to reach our few left over beloved ones.

      By the way, I am thinking one step ahead of you….I and my bro are already abroad so working on plan to bring parents and permanently settle in a country that gives us respect and identity. Tomorrow, when I will come with it’s passport to my leftover country…same craps with give high level protocol… this is what to be done by all Pakistanis who can do it. Never expect good from majority of Pakistanis, regardless its politicians, military, judiciary, lawyers, doctors, media craps and many more….except few majority are craps.

      For expats, please use following modes to reach your leftover beloved ones in THE GREAT ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN:

      1. Skype to Skype calls
      2. Vibre to Vibre calls (only works on WiFi in Pakistan)
      3. Tango to Tango (only works on WiFi in Pakistan)
      4. Google Hangout
      5. Whatsapp (Messaging best app for all types of handsets)
      6. iMessage (messaging between apple gadgets)

      These are best sources. Try to use them and not let Telecom cartel to earn extra bucks that is your hard earned money. God bless you all Expats. My prayers and well wishes are with you all.

    • what is single sim gateway? kindly tell some details about. how does it work and how to get it?
      is it better than skype or other VoIPs?
      have any info about availability in UK?
      thank u..

      • Dear Kaleem and all,
        GoIP Single SIM gateway will allow you to use your own SIM card in this small gateway. You will configure any of hundreds of VoIP providers available on this, and then configure same provider on your smartphone/laptop.
        You will call account B (on single SIM gateway) from account A (Configured on smartphone/laptop), gateway will pick your call and will allow you to use your SIM card remotely. Search on ebay for availability in around 110 Euro.

        2nd option is use a VoIP router, VoIP desktop phone or a smartphone with VoIP client configured. In Pakistan port 5060 is blocked, but you will be able to use alternate ports (non-standard ones), or TLS service providers (with PBX support) online.
        3rd you can find VoIP phones will VPN support.
        All these options are only one time investment to save your hard earned money.

        • Dear Can u tell me the smartphones models name and number cheaps one please…throught which i can use a voip dialer and if u r in UAE (dubai) give me ur number i will contact u please…

    • hello Ahmed brother ,i am 100% agree with in Oman we are many Pakistanis who just get very low saleries,and not be able to expend all with this high cost phone ,kindly give us the same solution which you told.we are thankfull to you,Because from that day we actually feel that we are away from home.
      Khuram ali
      mail me at
      [email protected]

    • How the sim you mentioned works because with the new rate I like many other can’t call home

    • True PTA is full of coward people , lazy and reference base people I have personal experience of these guys Zeshan Liechtenstein

  • em living in UK and yesterday call rate from LacalPhone Application was 1.2 Pence per minute but now its 6.8 pence per minute… that’s unbelievable .. u can see that to call india from UK was and still cheap but u dunno what the ” F ” our government doing !!!

  • zardari tommy nai kaha pakistan awam ko to choos kia hai aab Overseas pakistani ka b khoon thora choos lia jai

  • Pakistani Government decision to impose a tax on all calls from overseas.

    This has increased the rate by over 500% and put the market into
    turmoil. This has removed any competition from the market to drive down

    Now its really expensive for overseas Pakistanis like us to call back home.

    Govt of Pakistan yaha bhi sakoon nahi lenay de rahi…

  • As a expat we also sending million/billion of remittances but what we are getting in return?
    Hike in airfare and call rate

    Thanks you government of stupid people.
    Is grey traffic is the issue of Pakistan only? how and why people are using Voip in other countries.

  • zardari ap ko Allah taba kari kam az kam musafaro ko tu choro na us say keya chahty ho

  • Faroq awan is corrupt and he is alleged for disclosing confidential PTCL customer data to US embassy… he is a threat to national security.
    is mulk ka Allah hi hafiz hai.

  • Nations in the world are gradually progressing towards cheap rates for international call and Pakistan …….we are being punished by one f**** Zardari and his co.

  • Govt is a looter. These looters deserved to be kicked out. We just need to be united for the sake of our freedom, or else other thing will be blocking of Skype and other voice services. Please be united and start protesting against the Govt’s looting policies can’t we see how are the petrol price increasing. It will be the same.

  • Excuse me all expats cursing government about this move … but how many times did you really curse the telcos in UK, Middle East or even rest Europe for charging incoming calls in their countries at such mind blowing prices? try to imagine how difficult it is for Pakistanis to call abroad and thats simply because the telcos and regulators abroad are ripping off on all incoming traffic … Avg call rate from Pakistan to UK is approx Rs 14 per minute, UAE, Saudi @ Rs 12 per minute, Afghanistan @ Rs 18 per minute … If these countries allow traffic coming in their countries at more than Rs 12 to 15 per minute, why the hell should traffic be coming in Pakistan at peanut rate of Rs 1 to Rs 2 per minute? Isnt that unfair?

    • You are talking about rates to non-landline phones. Landline calls are very cheap compared to that.

    • why are you thiriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid world comparing yourself with those countries. compere yourself with Bangladish and India where the rate was below pakistan and now beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelow Pakistan. I am sure your are in pakistan and can’t feel the pain of labour working outside on this move by your govt

  • SOMEBODY please destroy the ICH , damn you PTA for setting up ICH and forcing LDI operators in Pakistan ……you truly suck

  • I’m in Chicago, IL. And the rates to call pakistan just rolled out here… I’ve checked with all the providers, which i currently use or was previously using… (2 cents to 10 cents Per min)
    Telephone Pakistan (2.2 cents to 9.9 cents Per min)
    Boss Revolution (2.4 cents to 11.1 cents per min)

    Whether people will use applications like viber or whatsapp on their phones, or if there’s no compatible phone available on the other hand you can use Google voice their rates are still the cheapest Landline 9 cents , mobile 5 cents per min..

  • I don’t think it is going to help the government. Previously we(expats) used to call for longer durations at cheaper rates, now would call lesser at these high rates. Eventually it may well be a loss for them.

  • It is a retrogressive step and will:

    1. Only benefit the grey market operators – hugely and people who know who benefited from this will also know that normal citizens are going to be harassed by VoIP call traps but nothing will happen to the illegal operators linked to high places. 2. Reduce the traffic to Pakistan by over 50%. Mainly hurt expat Pakistanis and business. As it is countries like the US have very high calling rates (25-30 cents/minute) – these will become much higher3. Roll back the market opening and deregulation by creating a cartel.
    I wonder if the Ministry of IT realizes that the main beneficiary will be PTCL the calling card operators outside Pakistan and the virtually destroying the competitive private sector. The ripple effect of the low calling rates out bound will suffer.
    This will also lead to call routing via other operators who may not agree to this rate hike e.g. Saudi Telecom who is making noises for not going beyond 4 cents and operators like these may act as transit for other call originating operators.I guess like other short sighted steps and experiments at ‘reviving the economy’. this will end up damaging another segment.

  • People have left some very good comments laykan may tu sirf Daakoo ko gali day sakta hon laykan us ka b fida nahy q k o jitna be sharam hay ka gali be us aor us k degar kutu k liay kuch nahy. Allah he hami in harmio say bacha sakta ha.

  • Disgrace for us evev bangladesh is superior to us…..they will loot us and sale our beloved country …have they any interest in pakistan they destroyed all dept of pakistan.

  • i run a company and my site name has the word Pakistan in it. People have been abusing us like uhhhhhhhhhhhh.good article ill mail all maybe some will understand. I m trying to tell them sir or madam that 1 cent is now 10 cent,i m trying to sell at a loss at 7 or 6 but no one listens:S.

  • @0f184f051cd9d0d7d8a8eb4b6c1ade41:disqus Do let me know about this bcox we cant afford now yara call from UAE really its 80Fils per min as b4 it was 15 fils per min i dont wat is the issue…

  • due to this a huge burden on us its all going in Pak Govt pocket for free (we are working hard abroad for them ? what the hell is this PTA should give releave to us not ristrict us PTA PLEASE WITH DRAW THIS DECISSION

  • Yaar ye to phr se 70s ka dor agaya… abi to bs yahi gana gao sab Chiti aayi hai aayi hai chiti aayi hai… Bhool jao phone bas ab to khat likh likh kr guzara karo….

  • When ever there is any crises in Pakistan these basterd come to overseas Pakistanies for help. we should stop sending money to Pakistan.

    1..90 RUPE / MINT


    [email protected]
    Not fake or scam.
    this is all true and contact with trust.
    and say again
    we hate zardari
    PPP murdabad.
    zardari mar jaye – Ameen

  • all My brothers in saudi arbia.
    zardari pe ik dafa lanat baij k muj sey contact ker lein. aur hum app k piyaroon sey app ki baat kerwain gey.
    specially those poeple who dont have internet in pakistan belong to villages.. contact me..
    i will help out all those poeple/
    email me or call me
    [email protected]

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