Pakistani telcos want to provide phones on installments with their SIM cards

Cellular companies in Pakistan are interested to offer mobile phones on installments with their own SIM cards (where no other company’s SIM card can be used on the device) to people, revealed Chairman PTA Maj. Gen. (Retd) Amir Azeem Bajwa.

While briefing the Senate Standing committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, he informed that the telecom companies are mulling over providing handsets to users with SIMs but are hesitant over the fear of facing a multitude of challenges in recovering the money.

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The concept of providing a smartphone with the company’s SIM card is not a new one as telcos around the world offer this service after signing a contract with the user which will bound the two together for a certain period of time (the contract can last for more than one year).

In Pakistan, with the registration of all SIM cards and mandatory registration of all mobile phones (whether commercially imported or via baggage), there is an element of traceability which was previously absent from the market. But at the same time, recovering the money could be a hassle for the telecom firms and there is a huge risk of default on payments and fraud.

Currently, some banks and online store offer the option of buying a smartphone on easy installments but neither of them bound a person to use a service of a particular telecom company.

The Senate Standing Committee welcomed the idea of providing phones on installments with SIM cards and observed that this move will help reduce smuggling of mobile devices in the country.

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