High court ends dispute after six years

8 Jun 2012

The Islamabad High Court has ruled in favour of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in a dispute between the regulator and the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) regarding origination charges to Long Distance and International (LDI) operators dating back to mid-2006. The dispute centred on PTCL’s decision to charge LDI operators, which are dependent on PTCL’s network, for unsuccessful calls, arguing that the calls had been responded by Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and had therefore used PTCL’s resources. PTCL stated that the duration used for IVR should be considered a successful call. For their part, the LDI providers countered, saying that the terms of conditions of PTCL’s reference interconnection offer (RIO) did not address the issue, and as such they should not be charged for a service for which they cannot charge their subscribers.

The PTA intervened to resolve the confrontation and, after consultation with the parties involved, ruled in August 2006 that PTCL could levy origination charges from LDI operators for both ‘Revenue Time’ and ‘Non-Revenue Time’ on calling card traffic, but at a 25% discount. PTCL rejected the decision, however, and challenged the PTA’s ruling. The High Court’s decision marks the end of PTCL’s appeal process and will allow LDI operators to resume pre-paid calling card services.