The Ministry of IT and Telecom has drafted a policy aimed at offering smartphones to citizens on an installment basis, and as part of this policy, they intend to block the mobile phones of users who do not make their installment payments. In collaboration with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the Ministry is developing a mechanism to facilitate the blocking of smartphones.
The draft of the smartphone financing policy is set to be shared with mobile phone operators, banks, and other stakeholders in the coming week. Notably, two out of four mobile phone companies have expressed opposition to the central system of blocking defaulters’ mobile SIM cards in the process of issuing smartphones through installments. During a meeting presided over by the caretaker IT minister, the PTA asserted the need for a policy directive to block the mobile phones of mobile defaulters.
Some stakeholders have suggested that in addition to mobile phone blocking, SIM cards and identity cards of defaulters should also be blocked under this policy. The Ministry of IT officials have indicated that mobile phones of defaulters will be blocked, and if necessary, SIM cards may also be blocked. The policy may also include provisions for blocking ID cards of defaulters.
In this context, the potential blocking of mobile phones of defaulters and Google services is being considered. The Ministry of IT is considering examples like GSMA and Qast Pay, which have launched smartphones, to guide the implementation of the new policy.