PTA Hunts Down More Illegal VoIP Gateways

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) conducted successful raids at two different locations of Lahore, Town Ship and Ferooz pur yesterday and busted two huge illegal VoIP setups.

During the raid at the area of Town Ship 14 gateways were seized and two persons were arrested while in Ferooz pur 13 operational gateways were seized.

According to the details, PTA carried out a raid with FIA Cyber Crime team on November 26, 2013 at a Franchisee located at GT Road Hassan Abdal involved in grey traffic. PTA Zonal office Rawalpindi launched a complaint with FIA Cyber Crime Circle, Islamabad to carry out the necessary investigation against recharging of SIMs which were used in grey traffic setups operational in Lahore.

Four persons including the owner of Franchisee were arrested. The SIMs and computers were seized for further investigation. During investigations, detainees disclosed two suspected premises in Lahore where illegal gateways were installed for termination of international calls.

On this information the two successful raids were carried out at Lahore resulting in confiscation of 27 gateways. According to initial estimates these set ups were terminating 2.4 million minutes per month illegally.

This action is expected to save substantial amount which was otherwise lost due to operation of illegal activity. It may be noted that PTA has launched a campaign against grey traffickers.

PTA monitors the illegal activities on twenty four hours basis and adopts different procedures and processes to apprehend the culprits and to prevent losses to the national exchequer being caused by illegal telecom business.

  • Can someone explain these illegal VOIP ? I know of several offices calling (Skype) abroad for time share and making money of it. Does that come under illegal VOIP ?

    • computer to computer is not the problem. computer to phone line or phone -> computer -> phone is the problem.

      They are supposed to be going after cases where the phone line is involved, especially for terminating calls from abroad.

        • Problem Occurs when they ByPass Gateway for International Telecommunication Traffic for Voice calls and use either Internet Protocol For This Purpose

          • Yasir , Now adays every Telephonic company uses internet for their voice traffic and phone wires are history in today’s age , as internet has no boundaries or limits as in it was in past.The reason such gateways are illegal because of the license that they dont have , only big giants wateen mobilink ufone zong etc etc have license for voice traffic through internet and also few small size companies that have license and now are in out source form for PTCL as they work under PTCL after agreement that was passed in 2011 and implemented last year in August where calling rates and things were raised by PTA . In future companies who will have 3G licenses that are being auctioned will be allowed to provide 3G services in Pakistan .. The auction is expected to end next year in January so 3g illegal gateways will be the next good business in Pakistan if they become good part communication at affordable rates.

    • Illegal VOIP is all international VOIP traffic that does not land in Pakistan through International Clearing House (ICH) run by PTCL. The way it works is that someone has to send it as IP traffic from abroad (two cases here, either someone is generating grey traffic there as well or a software on a computer is being used) then when it lands on illegal gateway it routes that using local SIM cards installed in bulk on those gateways (you might have noticed local operators number when you get a call like this)

      This is no doubt a very good step BUT like everything else we are doing it in a very stupid manner! A recent hike in grey traffic was observed after we (whoever regulates it) spiked the rates for international termination in Pakistan, consequently a hike in grey traffic was observed.

      PTA is also blocking all traffic for local ISPs and operators without informing them and the reason they quote is “we see unknown traffic on your IPs”. This is not visible to end customers (is some cases even ISPs and operators dont get to the bottom of it for some time as to why is it happening) who get severely disgruntled on service outage and operators have nothing to share with them.

      But then again I am pretty hopeful that like everything else we will soon sleep on it and installing an illegal gateway is no biggie so catch all you want :) If they don’t take reasonable decisions and make is lucrative by making local terminations expensive then this practice will only flourish!

      Skype pays to local ICH for terminating its local calls and does not fall victim to this and like Shahid said above, this does not apply to machine to machine communication e.g. Viber

    • lol please don’t misguide people when you have incomplete information. Skype is also illegal but the technology that is used by Skype is different and the first to give the edge of voice communication. Skype doesn’t pay any ICH or anything totally fake. Skype works on protocol 80 meaning that it uses internet protocol for its voice data transfer , instead of usiing h232 , a-law, u-law etc etc so if any country blocks Skype means they are blocking port 80 , and internet wont work in that country so i hope you understand where technology is moving to , Moreover without any doubt illegal gateways are being captured through ISPs let me explain you a bit what is actually happening in real time. PTA closed VPN in 2010 for monitoring voice data or any other data transfers through internet , so VPN is now set through a remote server abroad ,usually rented and consumes more bandwidth then normal data trasnfering. Finally thats the thing that you guys never thought was the bandwidth, bandwidth used through VPN abroad take twice effort to keep voice data transfer smooth and give quality voice. For this they need high bandwidth that is only provided by ptcl 6mbps -10mbps so primarly working on 6 mbps in residential area is a flaw and such DSLs are monitored by PTA and finally raided if research goes upto the expectation. Other ISPs in Pakistan is only allowed 2mbps for selling to customers as directed by PTA, take any ISP like Wateen ,Qubee etc you wont get more then 2 mbps however if you want more fast internet through such ISPs you need to show business verification and also such connections are based on commercial use as well as the rates are very high for normal user for example you can say 1mbps dedicated line will cost about 30k per month. So phone lines DSLs are a path way to the illegal gateway places and being monitored by searching for high usages , package selections etc. So its trap i hope it helps everyone now what the myth is going. :)

  • If you do commercial without LDi lisencing , that is illegal , skype and other desktop based application is not illegal … you can use it

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