In an announcement Saturday that the State Bank of Pakistan has suspended a $34 million payment to international service providers, which will prevent users from downloading Google Play Store services until December 1, 2022.
As a result of the central bank discontinuing the direct carrier billing (DCB) mechanism, an annual payment of $34 million to international service providers, such as Google, Amazon and Meta wasnt unpaid.
To make payments through credit cards or debit cards, Pakistani customers must now download Google or other international apps. In contrast, the Google Play Store only accepts credit cards for a limited number of users, so most mobile users are unable to download apps.
In a joint letter sent to the SBP on Friday, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and four cellular mobile operators (CMOs) requested that the SBP reverse its decision to revoke the DCB mechanism for paying dollar fees despite the country’s liquidity crisis.
IPIN has confirmed that Google services, such as downloading apps, will not be available. As a result of not clearing the outstanding payment of $34 million, they informed the relevant authorities that Google App Store downloads would not continue if the outstanding amount was not paid.
The four mobile operators sent a joint letter to the government, stating that the telecom industry is one of the biggest contributors to foreign direct investment. This is along with other significant contributions in the form of tax, duties and other levies.
It is impossible to ignore the role that the telecom sector plays in advancing the agenda of Digital Pakistan. Considering that Pakistan’s digital transformation will benefit every economic and social sector, it is imperative that all stakeholders are engaged and facilitate the process.
Months ago, the State Bank of Pakistan revoked the IT designation of telecom operators. Further, cases should be routed to SBP for approval on a case-by-case basis. The mobile operators said that they were experiencing severe delays in getting approvals, which resulted in disruption of critical services. In addition to managing IT and digital infrastructure internally and meeting all operational requirements, the company also provides billing management, fraud management software, Office 365, robotics automation software, software developers, and payments related to digital advertising on big IT platforms to its customers.