Android users in Pakistan who download apps through Google’s Playstore are likely to face some disruptions starting December 1 after the State Bank of Pakistan changed the payment mode.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had decided to change the payment method to prevent external transfer of US dollars in the country through the direct carrier billing (DCB) system as it seeks to throttle outflow of the greenback and maintain its reserves.
The central bank has thus frozen payment of around $34 million per year through mobile firms to international service providers, such as Google, Amazon, and Meta.
Under this system, anyone who had bought or subscribed to an application on the Google Playstore by opting to pay via their phone bill, these costs were then settled by the subscriber’s telecom carrier with the global services providers.
But per the new decision, the mobile carrier will no longer be able to charge local subscribers for their purchases on Google’s app market place in rupees and then later, pay Google in US dollars.
Subscribers, however, will be able to pay for their favorite apps by directly linking their credit and debit cards.
In response to the new amendment, Information Technology and Telecommunication Minister Syed Aminul Haque wrote to Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and asked him to intervene.
He argued that the decision has the potential to have a serious impact on services used by millions apart from having a serious impact on telecom service providers.
Meanwhile, another joint letter by the IT ministry, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), and cellular mobile operators (CMOs) have asked the central bank to review their decision and restore the old payment method.