Tajikistan shuts down VoIP services of cellcos, ISPs

9 Jan 2018

Tajikistan’s national telecoms regulator – the Communication Service under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan – has ordered all mobile operators and ISPs in the country to shut down their IP telephony (VoIP) services, and has cancelled their IP telephony licences, reports Central Asian Cellular Forum. It was confirmed that cellcos Babilon-M, Tcell and Beeline Tajikistan were among those forced to disconnect their IP voice services, whilst in Babilon-M’s case the company’s headquarters were reportedly raided by law enforcement agents to ensure compliance under threat of a total operational shutdown.

The government’s decision to close Tajik operators’ VoIP services was in response to reduced tax income from voice calls. The state tax authority also notes that foreign-based, over-the-top (OTT) VoIP/messaging applications such as Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, WeChat and others also contribute to decreasing tax income from the voice segment, although the ban does not yet cover these third-party services.