Mobile users won’t be able to get Google Play Store services starting on December 1, 2022, since the State Bank of Pakistan has suspended a payment of $34 million to overseas service providers.
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 solely. 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 programs from the Google Play Store.
On Friday, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, and four cellular mobile operators (CMOs) unanimously wrote a joint letter to the SBP asking it to reconsider its decision to revoke the DCB mechanism for payment of the dollar fee in light of the country’s current liquidity crisis.
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The absence of Google services including app downloads has been confirmed by authoritative sources. They informed the authorities that a $34 million payment was long overdue 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 said that in addition to other major contributions in the form of tax, tariffs, and other levies, the telecom sector is one of the biggest 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.