An application has been filed with Sindh High Court to issue Contempt of Court notices to Mr. Lars Christian Iuel, CEO, Telenor Pakistan and Mr. Salman Malik, CEO, Telenor LDI Communications, a subsidiary of Telenor Pakistan, for exiting ICH when the court had directed all ICH players to maintain the status quo on ICH till further notice.
It merits mentioning here that Sindh High Court had issued an interim directive on January 27th, 2014 for maintaining the Status Quo of International Clearing House or ICH till any further notice.
A court order sent today (January 31st, 2014) to CEO, Telenor Pakistan and CEO of Telenor LDI Communication – copy of which is available with ProPakistani – said that both the individuals are required to appear in the court in person on February 4th, 2014 to submit their reply against the application filed by LDI operators.
It maybe recalled that Telenor – on January 29th, 2014 – announced that it exited ICH citing huge losses due to increased grey traffic and hence lesser revenues from LDI business.
In its press release – received by media on Jan 29th – Telenor maintained that it exited ICH on January 25th, 2014.
Our sources confirm that Telenor Pakistan was not happy the revenue share it was getting through ICH. Sources said that due to decrement in its revenues, Telenor had asked PTA and ICH consortium to compensate it through MTR-I (Mobile Termination Rate) of Rs. 1.20 per minute, which was never implemented and as a protest Telenor exited ICH.
Telenor said that it had communicated its concerns to PTA and Ministry of IT, well ahead of exiting ICH, but they were never addressed and it was left with no option but to leave ICH.
Amid opposition from CCP, ICH was implemented on October 1st, 2012 with a primary purpose of eliminating grey traffic. However, grey traffic only grew after ICH and legal international incoming traffic to Pakistan dropped from 1.9 billion minutes per month to mere 450 million minutes per month.
Interestingly, since ICH was formed on the direction of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority under the policy from Ministry of Information technology, it remains unclear if Telenor could exit ICH on its own without any approvals from PTA.