Pakistan’s Supreme Court has summoned international long-distance (ILD) operators and the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to explain why the controversial International Clearing House (ICH) cartel is still operating, ProPakistani reports. The Lahore High Court had previously directed the CCP to resolve the ICH case within 15 days, following a petition from local operator Brain Telecom, but subsequent intervention from the Sindh High Court delayed matters. As previously noted by CommsUpdate, Pakistan’s ILD operators created a single international gateway, the ICH, which is able to keep ILD prices artificially high by eliminating competition. Originally proposed and supported by sector watchdog the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) as a means to maximise government revenues by eliminating the grey market, the ICH has seen widespread opposition from Pakistan’s competition authority, as well as local and overseas telcos. Most recently US regulator the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) requested that US telcos pay the pre-ICH termination fee of USD0.02 rather than the inflated USD0.088 price set by the cartel.
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