Overseas Pakistanis to Enjoy Low Call Rates to Pakistan: Anusha Rehman

International incoming traffic that amount to over 1.9 billion minutes per month before ICH reached its lowest level of 400 million minutes after ICH, and a whooping difference of 1.5 billion international incoming minutes per month were terminating in Pakistan through grey traffic while a small portion of this was coming through OTT services (such as Viber, Skype), revealed Anusha Rehman, State Minister for Telecom and IT, during a press briefing at PTA headquarters.

Ms. Anusha revealed that legal international traffic that used to land in Pakistan before ICH halved with-in one month after the establishment of ICH, while remaining half of international traffic shifted immediately to grey telephony channels.

“ICH policy, that was issued by MoIT in August 2013, created a cartel that essentially reversed the vision behind deregulation of telecom industry of Pakistan and whole market was taken back to pre 2003 era”, said Ms. Anusha Rehman.

Moreover, as a result of ICH policy, the minimum rate for international incoming traffic was set at Rs. 9 (US 8.8 cents), meaning that there could be no international call below this rate. In fact the cost of one single minute reached around Rs. 14 to Rs. 18 per minute, added the Minister.

This whole situation resulted into increased grey traffic (almost 1.4 billion minutes per month) while legal voice traffic dropped down to one fourth of pre-ICH time that impacted the revenues of cellular operators and the government alike, said Ms. Anusha Rehman.

“MoIT wanted to put an end to this dirty business of LDI operators and decided to take the case to Supreme Court for once and for all, where the stay was vacated and now ICH policy is gone forever”, Anusha Rehman

Anusha Rehman also revealed due to all above mentioned scenario  Saudi Arabia cancelled the legal contracts with Pakistan and all legal voice traffic coming to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia stopped.

While government wanted to reduce the grey traffic, nothing was going in right direction. Even US 30 million dollar equipment to detect grey telephony wasn’t helping in reduction of grey traffic.

Minister, during the briefing, said that considering all the consequences of ICH policy and challenges associated  with it, government annulled the policy in June 2014.

14 LDI operators lead by PTCL, who had vested interest in increased international rates, wanted to drag the case in courts just as a delaying tactic to continue charging high rates from overseas Pakistanis for as long as they could. For the purpose, LDI operators appealed several times in the courts to get stay orders, and if one court vacated the stay, they went to another court to get the relief.

“But we wanted to put an end to this dirty business of LDI operators and decided to take the case to Supreme Court of Pakistan for once and for all, where the stay was vacated and now ICH policy is gone forever”, said Anusha.

Consequently, a new determination was issued by PTA in which APC was slashed to Zero (which was previously at 2.9 cents per minute). This cut down in APC completely removed any incentive for grey traffic, while AAR and ASR is also deregulated; meaning that telcos/LDI operators can charge international traffic whatever they want to.

Ms. Anusha specifically emphasized that call rates to Pakistan will decrease now and overseas Pakistanis will be biggest beneficiary of this development.

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


  • golf

    IT says ICh policy was issued in august 2013, but it was august 2012 and active and on in october 2012 btw it doesn’t say when the rates is going to decrease. IT is just a little work that international carriers do negotiate with ldi/telecos in Pk and set rates. Let,s see how long it takes.

    • Azi

      lets wait and watch

      • XXX

        no relief to Overseas Pakis :(

  • Azi

    ab ja k 2 years bad inko hosh aya k ICH policy nay behraghrak kea …..

  • not so right

    Who sold the $30 million equipment? And whats the future of those who were charged or jailed for grey traffic? Thats what everyone will miss :D
    And please miss lawyer, it was brain net which fought against the cartel and the goons. To stop this nonsense, you could have simply reverted the decision made by previous influenced IT ministry. Yet you let it continue until top courts made it dead, and now you have no choice anyway. Who are you kidding?

    • golf

      Yeah, but it was Moit who did abolish it in In june last year. Otherwise yeah brain dil fil the petition but the outcome of that was not in the short term. If the moit wasn’t behind it now then we could for several more years.

  • adnan

    DTH ka bhi batao wo kab shuru honay wala hai

  • Shid

    Can someone explain what the ICH policy is? And what exactly are LDI operators?

    • Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain

      ja ker pogo dekho, agar maza na aye to mere program hain net per wo dekh lo..aik he baat hai

    • Ali

      It is International Clearing House, its function was to put all calls to Pakistan under one roof (PTCL) so that it can be taxed by the government, the idea was to earn money from the taxes but it failed badly because it created incentives for grey traffic which meant that most of the traffic goes through illegal (untaxed) services and it will cost a few cents less but in return the grey operator will rack in millions while the legal (taxed) call rates increased the traffic through ICH was just a fourth of the original traffic.

  • Eli Ehsan

    #ThankYouAnusha ?!

  • Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain

    after reading this article

  • dr ismail

    ye dr ismail shah bonga ha. yehi to MEMBER TELECOM tha or ab CHAIRMAN PTA. Dono idaro ka bragarak kr dia ha. ministry ka b or pta ka b . PTA me jisko chahay inayaten kr leta ha . inko koi pcohnay wala ni ha. 3G k naam pa jitna pesa khaya ha is na uska koi hisab ni ha

  • WZ

    Other things are fine but when call rate will drop ?

    • golf

      take a look at lycamobile if there is one in your country…otherwise a few days more as lycamobile is already charging significantly less then other will follow soon and are in the process to negotiate with pakistani careers.

      • WZ

        lycamobile is not cheap still 6cent its same rate as Vonage and others nothing come down

        • golf

          Here in Netherlands lycamobile did drop his charges to call to Pakistan. IT is not as cheap as it was before ich. But it is now 2 euro cent to call to landlines and mobile. Indeed the other companies didn’t reduce rates. So, maybe this is just promotional and nothing to do with ich. Because nothing else has changed even not in your country. I know it is a little weird at least it is handy they should have given a date when the newer rates would be active.

          • WZ

            no hope, I think price will not go down

            • golf

              It will go down… just give it few more weeks. I know i am the only one who is positive between my friends about the rates. But it will because th SC had dissmissed it and the government has passed the order and directed the pta to issue notification to ldi and that did happen. It is a simple logic and ldi operators aren’t maffia. So, just relax u will see just give it time to the beginning of the next month. Let them sort things out and then it is game over them.

  • zee

    The real question is, which LDI operator will blink first? Which LDI operator will find the little thing called common sense and drop their rates and match the pre-oct 2012 era?

    You can make unlimited calls (monthly) to India for $10 using T-Mobile and so many other mobile networks. Yet, the same $10 gets you less than 50-60 minutes to Pak.

    They have done a fine job indeed but these goons in our country will continue to charge exorbitant amounts to call to Pakistan. And for that purpose, I have completely stopped making phone calls via regular networks and have moved to free solutions. TAKE THAT YOU MISERABLE [email protected]#$%

  • Azi

    AAmir bhai now we are even charge more than before.. whats wrong?

  • golf

    It will come down friends just relax.When 18th of june 2014 the government did decide to cut tax they gave operators time till 1 august. When back in 2012 august when they wanted to implement it was in 01 october 2012. So, in both cases round about 6 weeks. So, i think it takes time… why i don’t know??? But taking 6weeks in mind then it should come down at the end of first week april. BTW here in Netherlands lycamobile is offering 2 cents a minute to LL and Mobile and vectone mobile is charging 4 cents to LL and Mobile. So, if the tax wasn’t reduced in PK lycamobile and VEctone can’t offer such rates. So there is some impact at least here in NEtherlands

    • Azi

      i don’t know bro but before this it was even cheap than now. for example witch the balance i got 150 min with same balance its giving me 66 min…

      • golf

        where do u live?

        • Azi

          Saudi Arabia

          • golf

            So, no lycamobile there. Hang on friend just patience max a few weeks more. JAha aap ne 30 months aur intezaar kiya waha aap few weeks aur kar le.

            • Azi

              Ok no issue humari luck main he wait hai wo tuh kar lain gy LOL.. main tuh asy he bol raha tha k yah announce hone k bad zaida charges ho gy hain phaly tuh kam they… and that what i meant to say

              • golf

                Haan, here in Netherlands the rate is by most mobile providers 2 euro cent a minute. So, i don’t know if it changed there? It will go to 1 euro cent a minute but there already did lower to 2 cents. And that is already a few weeks so.

  • WZ

    no rate change till now.

    • mazloom paki

      this is Pakistan my dear, they will never give any relief to Overseas Pakistani

    • golf

      Here in Netherlands most operators do charge 2 cents a minute now and that actually the first one did charge a month ago.

      • WZ

        in USA everyone is charging same rate no change

        • golf

          In Europe most countries are charging 2 euro cent a minute and uk 2p a minute. However in UAE and North America indeed the charges didn’t drop. Weird… it will drop and that’s just a matter of time.