The payment of $34 million annually to overseas service providers like Google, Amazon, and Meta through mobile firms became stalled after the central bank stopped using the direct carrier billing (DCB) mechanism.
Customers in Pakistan will now be compelled to download Google and other foreign apps in order to make purchases using credit cards or debit cards exclusively. However, because the credit card option is only available to a certain number of consumers, the majority of mobile users might not be able to download programmes from the Google Play Store.
On Friday, the SBP was requested to reconsider its judgement by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), and four cellular mobile operators (CMOs).
The News received confirmation from reputable government sources that Google services like app downloads won’t be available. They informed the appropriate authorities that a $34 million payment was past due and that, if it was not paid, their services for Google App Store downloads would cease to be offered.
In a joint letter to the government, the four mobile operators claimed that in addition to other significant contributions in the form of tax, duties, and other levies, the telecom sector is one of the largest contributors to foreign direct investment.
It is impossible to disregard the role that the telecom industry has played in advancing the goals of Digital Pakistan. All stakeholders must be involved in and facilitate Pakistan’s digital transformation if it is to have a positive impact on all social and economic sectors.
The State Bank of Pakistan removed cellular providers’ IT designations months ago. Furthermore, it was suggested that instances be sent to SBP individually for approval. Since the mobile operators support the company in managing IT and digital infrastructure to meet all operational requirements internally and servicing its customers billing management, fraud management software.
Because of the impact of non-payment, all of the main players, including Google, Amazon, and Meta, are likely to stop providing their services. It will have an effect on how successfully telecom and internet customers can meet their needs from digital platforms like online banking, e-commerce, e-education, and e-health, which employ cloud infrastructure and require licences for both applications and web-based platforms that are suffering greatly.