September 21, 2007

PTA to Acquire Technical Solution for Illegal Telecom Traffic

chairman pta addressing the ceremony


Islamabad:  Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has signed an agreement with â??Inbox Business Technologiesâ? to acquire and deploy Technical Solution for addressing the menace of grey traffic brought into the country through illegal means. The contract signing ceremony held today at PTA Headquarters. Chairman PTA Major Gen (Retd) Shahzada Alam Malik presided over the ceremony. CEO Inbox Mr. Ghais Khan, Vice President NARUS Mr. James Mullins and PTA DG Wireline Muhammad Zubair Tahir signed the contract. It was attended by representatives from Ministry of Information Technology, PTCL, LDI Operators and PTA.

Speaking on the occasion Chairman PTA said that grey traffic is a menace in countries like Pakistan and PTA has devised a comprehensive strategy to check this menace. He said that this project of technical solution is part of PTA efforts to curb illegal telecom traffic in the country. Mr. Ghais Khan  said that PTA has taken number of steps for the betterment of telecom industry in Pakistan and this is yet another addition in the same direction. Mr. James Mullins said that this solution would analyze the telecom traffic coming into Pakistan thus helping in detecting the grey traffic.

It may be mentioned that this acquisition is a part of PTAâ??s efforts against grey telephony. In this connection PTA had taken several regulatory measures but the loss to government exchequer continued to about US$ 50 million (Rs 3 billion approx) per annum. To arrest the revenue leakage and to take appropriate steps Government of Pakistan constituted a high-level committee. Vigilance Committee, so constituted, mandated PTA to acquire technical solution to detect / block all illegal traffic bypassing legitimate gateway exchanges.   

Grey telephony is a term referred to the illegal telecom traffic in which calls from foreign countries are brought in the country as local calls while using illegal means. This is an offence under Telecom Reorganization Act 1996.

The Technical Solution has been developed by NARUS, Inc, a US based company which is also the leader in carrier-class security for the worldâ??s largest Internet Protocol (IP) networks. It is a production proven solution which is currently being used by various telecom operators across the globe. The list includes AT&T, Telecom Egypt, Saudi Telecom and Brazil Telecom, to name a few.

The main objectives of the technical solution include automated detection of grey traffic for its consequent elimination, revenue assurance for Long Distance International (LDI) operators and measurement of Quality of Service (QoS) parameters of IP traffic in the country. After successful deployment, the solution would be able to filter IP traffic of the country for detection of illegal VoIP on data circuits for consequent legal action against the culprits. It would also report the volume of traffic terminated by LDI operators hence helping in reconciliation of their traffic. More importantly, it would measure QoS parameters of the IP traffic thus enabling the regulator to keep a check over QoS being offered to the customers.

This is a turnkey project and is being funded by all major stakeholders i.e. PTA, Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT), PTCL and the LDI community. PTA and MoIT would be contributing 10% each while PTCL and other LDIs would be sharing remaining 70% based upon their share in international incoming traffic in year 2006.

It is strongly believed that after the deployment of this project, the incurred revenue loss would be eliminated thereby ensuring healthy revenues and a level playing field for all players. All in all, the telecom industry would be the real beneficiary of this project.

(Khurram Ali Mehran)
Deputy Director (PR)
chairman pta presenting a memento
group photo of participants with chairman pta