There has been a lot of buzz about the Google Playstore in the last couple of days “closure” in Pakistan since December 1st, but now it has been proven to be false. Users in Pakistan will be able to make Play Store purchases using credit or debit cards from December 1, but will not be able to pay for apps using mobile balance. said a Google spokesperson;
“Google Play is and will continue to be available to all users in Pakistan. However, the availability of payment options may change over time. From December 1, 2022, according to local requirements, users in Pakistan will only be able to make purchases on the Play Store using a credit or debit card until other payment methods are available.”
The main victims of this move will be telecom companies that work with international service providers like Google, which have now reportedly been barred from remittance by the SBP.
“Any move to block payments under the DCB will not only affect data usage by telcos in the case of gaming and entertainment, but will also have a negative impact on freelancers,”
Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) for cellular mobile operators has been scrapped by the State Bank of Pakistan, which has made an offer of $34 million. Following this, the Ministry of Information Technology and Communication, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and four mobile operators wrote to the central bank. In his letter to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Information Technology and Communications Minister Amin Ul Haque said that IT-related payments, including purchases of mobile apps and subscription services (Playstore), of less than $100,000 have been cleared by the SBP through designated commercial banks.
On the contrary, in September 2022, SBP revoked the appointment of banks to make Playstoer payments on behalf of the telecom operator/cellular operators.
“This recall has limited the telecom operators to pay global IT platforms like Google, YouTube, Meta and Spotify etc. for the digital services provided by the operators and the corresponding customer payment process called Direct Operator Billing, which is is the standard mechanism offered to Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) worldwide with a significant tax.”
MOIT said last year that mobile operators in Pakistan contributed about Rs 5.3 billion to the national exchequer by offering these services. It warned;
“All major players like Google, Amazon, Meta have been affected due to non-payment and are likely to stop their services in Pakistan.”
Minister Amin Ul Haque also said in this report that;
“Recently, Google issued notices to suspend DCB services of mobile operators until all outstanding charges are cleared. Notices were issued by Jazz and Ufone (which are attached)”.
He sought the attention and support of the Finance Minister to withdraw the DCB’s withdrawal of the IT designation of the respective banks authorized to make Playstore payments on behalf of telecom operators and ensure timely outstanding payments to global digital platforms. Meanwhile, the SBP said in its statement that during recent on-site inspections, it was observed that in addition to using the IT services remittance mechanism for their own use, telecom companies were diverting the bulk of the funds to video games. , entertainment content purchased by their customers using airtime, within DCB.
According to an official of one of the leading television companies, approx 60 million dollars Annual payments come from the telecom industry for DCB and other digital services.
Official sources, however, also said that the telco’s permission for direct carrier billing for Playstore was never withdrawn and they were asked to reclassify such payments.
“Payments for wider IT services, such as cloud services, are made according to specific currency exchange rules and through a designated bank,”
SBP used regulatory nuances to block the outflow of dollars from the country. When the ban on luxury goods was imposed, letters of credit for the import of raw materials for mobile phone manufacturing were not blocked, but the SBP started delaying approvals for opening letters of credit.