Thursday, March 23, 2023

PTA unblocks non-approved cell phones to increase tax collection

Pakistani users having non-Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) approved cell phones have been regaining cellular connection on their handsets, lately. The rejoiced users took to social media to share the news and advised other non-PTA-approved cell phone holders to activate their SIMs in blocked phones.

As per PTA rules, any cell phone that has been imported from abroad can be used with SIM cards for only 60 days. After two months, the user must deposit the required duty/tax to get it approved by the PTA. Failure to pay tax results in phones getting blocked, after which SIM cards stop working in phones. Such a phone, however, can be connected with WiFi and used.

While some believe it could be a technical glitch, rumors are that the coalition government which was formed in April after toppling the PTI government through a no-confidence motion has removed the hefty tax on expensive smartphones and has directed the PTA to unblock the devices.

However, this joy of using PTA-unapproved phones is not going to last for long, said the PTA officials. The officials explained that unblocking an unspecified number of blocked phones was a routine exercise in a bid to encourage people to deposit duty/ tax to continue to use the services.

PTA spokesperson Khurram Ali Mehran told the media that it’s a persuasive drill by the PTA authority to encourage people to register their phones and pay their taxes. He said PTA was randomly unblocking phones and all these phones would get blocked anytime within the next two months.

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