2022 Android users won’t be able to use Google Play Store services since the State Bank of Pakistan prevented the payment of $34 million to foreign service providers.
After the Central Bank stopped utilising the direct carrier billing (DCB) system, the $34 million payment per year made through mobile companies to foreign service providers like Google, Amazon, and Meta became delayed.
Google Play Store will be unavailable
Customers in Pakistan Must now download Google and other foreign Applications in order to make transactions that only accept Credit cards or Debit cards. However, the majority of mobile users might not be able to download apps from the Google Play Store because the credit card option is only accessible to a Restricted number of consumers.
Impact On PAKISTAN
As a result of the nation’s ongoing liquidity Crisis, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), In a letter sent to the SBP on Friday, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, along with four cellular mobile operators (CMOs), urged the bank to rethink its decision to end the DCB system for paying the dollar fee.
Reputable government sources confirmed to The News that Google Play Services like app downloads won’t be accessible. They warned the appropriate authorities that they would stop providing their services for Google Play Store downloads if a $34 million payment was not made.
The four mobile carriers wrote an unified letter to the government stating that the Telecom Industry is one of the biggest contributors to foreign direct investment in addition to other significant payments in the form of tax, tariffs, and other levies.
The State Bank of Pakistan Abolished the IT category for telecom operators months ago. It was also proposed that each case be referred to SBP separately for approval. The mobile operators claimed that this was leading to a disruption in critical services since they were facing delays in getting approvals. Among these services are billing management, software for managing fraud, Office 365, robotics Automation Software, payments for software developers, and payments for digital advertising on significant IT Platforms.
The Areas where Pakistan’s digital economy heavily rely on foreign service providers include hosting on cloud platforms, licencing requirements for services/platforms, security measures, and frequently technical skills to Upskill the domestic workforce to meet international standards.
All of the major players, including Google, Amazon, and Meta, are struggling as a result of non-payment and are most likely to discontinue offering their services altogether. As a result, consumers of Telecom and internet services won’t be able to meet their needs from digital platforms like digital banking, E-commerce, E-education, and e-health that rely on cloud infrastructure and demand licences for both applications and web-based platforms.
Pakistan IT Industry
It is impossible to ignore the part the Telecom sector has played in furthering Digital Pakistan’s objectives. If Pakistan’s digital transformation is to have a good effect on all social and economic sectors, all stakeholders must be involved and help to enable it.
Selling digital platforms will become very challenging due to the absence of distribution assistance and interest from market leaders like Google, Amazon, and Apple who represent Facebook. This will have an effect on businesses, services,and products outside of the digital space. The most effective avenue for all businesses, goods, and services right now is digital marketing.
Around this age of social media, the letter continued, “Any potential disruption of such digital services owing to non-payments will cause a lot of criticism about Pakistan in the globe and should be avoided at all costs.”
The letter’s conclusion Stated, “It is pertinent to mention here that we all understand the current challenge of the deteriorating economic conditions of the country and are open to working amicably with the Regulator (SBP); as we are Already working with them in case of the Telecom sector imports related transactions to navigate through these trying times”.
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