PTA Schools Illegal Satphone Users
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) is concerned about the rise in illegal satellite-phone usage in that country, and it has asked legitimate satellite service providers like Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company and Inmarsat to block calls being made by these devices. Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), which has a deal with Thuraya to sell its satellite phone service, handsets and SIM cards in Pakistan, has seen its business erode since Thuraya recently contracted with another company that is offering service on the cheap. According to PTCL, it is the only government-approved provider of satellite communications, and anyone else operating in Pakistan is doing it illegally.
There is some speculation that phones are being purchased in the Middle East and then used in Pakistan, but no one is coming out and saying by whom. The PTA, while acknowledging there are rogue companies in country, says it will come up with a new plan that would allow other operators besides PTCL to transmit satellite conversations from Pakistan.