The price charged by a cellular mobile operator (CMO) from another mobile operator for terminating its off-net calls on its network is called the MTR. It was revealed through the official documents that PTA decided to fix mobile termination rate i.e. MTR at Rs.0.70 per minute from January 2020.
It was said to be on the higher side and changes were made to it by further review. However, the rate was decided to be Rs.0.50 for January 2022-june 2022, which will be further reduced to Rs.0.40 for period of July 2022 to June 2023 and finally will be set at Rs.0.30 from July 2023 onwards.
The wholesale termination charges are said to be unknown to the end users as they are set among the operators.
As compared to small players, large players are believed to benefit the most out of higher termination charges. In such circumstances, the role of regulator should come into play in order to provide a level playing field if they play their role in rationalizing the termination rates in telecom sector.
A determination was exhibited by PTA on the above rates of MTR on November 24, 2021. These MTR were determined for different areas across Pakistan including AJK and GB for all types of calls( i.e. local, long distance and international incoming calls).
After thorough consultation with the the telecom industry a reduction was made in the MTR. According to the view expressed by PTA, if the MTR is lowered it is going to lead to more competitive and innovative offerings such as free minutes off-net bundles for the consumers.
Such measures are expected to turn the market beneficial and lead to competition in terms of lower tariffs. Furthermore, small operators may benefit in terms of reduced net payments that are to be made to big operators.
The PTA issued a consultation paper in July 2021, it was noted that the current MTR of Rs.0.70 per minute being charged is still high than the MTR determination of 2018 and the MTRs prevailing in regional countries.
Requests from telecom operators were received to PTA pertaining to review of the existing mobile termination rates. Majority of the responses were in support of PTAs recommendation of lowering the MTR.
The responses were not only in support but amongst the received their were opposing too. After analysis, mobile termination rate was determined by PTA for all types of calls (i.e. local, long distance and international incoming calls). It was decided the rate would be 0.50 per minute from January to June 2022. As the years commence the MTR would lower Rs.0.40 per minute from July 2022 to June 2023 and Rs.0.30 per minute from July 2023 onwards.