The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has hinted at making off-net calls even cheaper by reviewing the Mobile Termination Rate (MTR).
According to official documents, the MTR plays a critical role in protecting smaller players and automatically rationalizing retail tariffs, particularly for off-net calls. The changing market structure of the cellular mobile segment in Pakistan has necessitated a review of the existing MTR at the rate of 90 paisas per minute.
The MTR is the amount that the receiving operator must charge when a call is made to another network. An MTR of 90 paisas per minute was determined in 2010 and no operator could charge less than it.
Following in-depth deliberations, the PTA has reduced the MTR for all types of calls (local, long-distance, and international incoming) terminated on mobile networks from other mobile networks or fixed networks from 90 paisas to 80 paisas from 1 January 2019; the rate was reduced further to 70 paisas in 2020.
Due to the prevalent industry dynamics, there was a call by mobile operators for a reduction in the MTR, and the PTA had accordingly asked all the stakeholders for their input for a revision.
Subsequently, the MTR will be reviewed in the coming years in accordance with international best practices. It is expected that the revised MTR will help to keep tariffs low for consumers and relieve them of high rates.
The documents also revealed that the PTA regularly checks and verifies whether Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) are charging their consumer’s retail tariffs according to the advertised rates.