It’s been over a year since the PTA sought to review the mobile termination rate (MTR), however, the authority is yet to make a decision to cut down the off-net call costs to the consumer. MTR is the price that one telecom operator charges another operator when it receives a call on its network.
The current MTR or interconnect usage is charged Rs 0.90 per minute. It has been intact since 2008 and is considered much higher as compared to the countries in the region like India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
The current MTR is 111-198 percent higher in Pakistan than in other countries, as per the PTA consultation paper which states that it should have been between Rs0.30-0.43 per minute.
Reducing MTR will definitely prove beneficial for customers and will result in reduced off-net call rates and a much more competitive environment which will provide an equal playground to both the older and bigger telcos and the newer and smaller ones to improve their services instead of capitalizing on their existing market share.
The PTA consultation paper had earlier proposed a gradual reduction in MTR with an initial reduction to Rs 0.80 per minute which is in line with the best international practices.
“Pakistan’s telecom market is having one of the lowest ARPUs (average revenue per user) in the region and has intense competition among the operators, resulting in low prices for the users.” A PTA spokesperson told Dawn.