Circulating news and media reports assert that users of Google Play Store will not be able to download the services from Dec 1 2022 in Pakistan as the State Bank of Pakistan has revoked the payment of $34 million to the international service providers, including Apple, Amazon, and Meta etc.
The SBP has suspended the Direct Carrier Billing mechanism (DCB) due to which the payment of $34 million to the international service providers through mobile companies on an annual basis is stuck.
Consumers of the Google Play Store services in Pakistan will now be forced to download Google and other Apps by making payments through credit or debit cards. However, this option is also limitedly available to a certain number of the customers. Therefore, for the majority of the users, downloading Apps from Google Play Store for free will be unavailable.
Four Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs), The Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunication, and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) wrote a joint letter to SBP to reverse its renouncement of the DCB mechanism for the payment of the fee in dollars to the international service providers by keeping the country’s liquidity emergency in utmost concern.
However, the State Bank of Pakistan called such media reports to be “baseless and meaningless” and dismissed any assertion that it had withheld the payment to Google.
The central bank clarified its stance by tweeting: “Recent news in some sections of media about stopping certain payments to Google by #SBP, are baseless and misleading. SBP strongly refutes all such assertions.
It also issued a statement which said: “The fact is that in order to facilitate the domestic entities, the SBP specified certain Information Technology (IT) related services, which such entities can acquire from abroad for their own use and make foreign exchange payments there against up to USD 100,000 per invoice. Such services include, Satellite Transponder, International Bandwidth/ Internet/ Private Line Services, Software License/ Maintenance/ Support, and service to use electronic media and databases.”