Over the past couple of days, there have been many rumors that the Google Play Store ‘closing’ in Pakistan since December 1, but this has now been proven to be false. Users in Pakistan will be able to make purchases on the Play Store with a credit or debit card from December 1, but will not be able to use their mobile phone balance to pay for apps. said a Google spokesperson;
“Google Play is and will continue to be available to all users in Pakistan. However, the availability of payment methods may change over time. From December 1, 2022, in accordance with 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 become available.”
The main victims of this action will be telecommunications companies that partner with international service providers such as Google, which the SBP has reportedly now banned from transferring funds.
“Any move to block payments under DCB will not only affect the use of data by telcos in the case of gaming and entertainment applications, but will also have a negative impact on freelancers.”
The State Bank of Pakistan has canceled direct carrier billing (DCB) for cellular operators, resulting in a $34 million offer. After that, the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) and four mobile operators wrote to the central bank. In a letter to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Information Technology and Communications Minister Amin Ul Haq stated that IT-related payments, including purchases of mobile applications and subscription services (Playstore), of less than $100,000 were authorized by SBP through designated commercial banks. .
In contrast, in September 2022, SBP removed the designation of banks to process Playstoer payments on behalf of the carrier/cellular carriers.
“This revocation limited carriers to the ability to pay for global IT platforms such as Google, YouTube, Meta and Spotify, etc. for digital services provided by the carrier and the associated customer payment process called carrier direct billing, which is a standard mechanism offered by Cellular Operators (CMOs) worldwide at a significant tax cost.”
MOIT said last year that mobile operators in Pakistan contributed about Rs 5.3 billion to the national coffers by offering these services. He warned that;
“All the major players such as Google, Amazon, Meta have been affected by the non-payment and are likely to stop providing their services in Pakistan.”
Minister Amin Ul Haq further said in this report that;
“Google recently issued notices to suspend mobile carrier DCB services until all overdue payments are cleared. Notifications were sent by Jazz and Ufone (attached).”
He asked the Minister of Finance to pay attention and support to cancel DCB’s IT appointment cancellation of the relevant banks authorized for Playstore payments on behalf of telecom operators, and ensure timely pending payments to global digital platforms. Meanwhile, the SBP said in a statement that recent on-site inspections noted that in addition to using the mechanism for transferring funds to IT services for their own use, telecommunications companies transferred most of the funds to video games. , entertainment content purchased by their customers using airtime in accordance with DCB.
According to a representative of one of the leading telecommunications companies, approximately $60 million there are annual payments from the telecommunications industry for DCB and other digital services.
Official sources, however, also report that the telco’s authorization to directly bill operators for Playstore has never been revoked and they have been asked to reclassify such payments.
“Payments for broader IT services such as cloud services are subject to certain currency rules and are made through a designated bank.”
SBP used regulatory nuances to block the outflow of dollars from the country. When the luxury goods ban was introduced, letters of credit for the import of raw materials for the production of mobile phones were not blocked, but the FPS began to delay approvals for opening letters of credit.