ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has claimed significant decline of around 92 percent in grey traffic, after deployment of Web Management Solution (WMS) - which blocks voice calls coming through unauthorised grey channels.

Documents available with Business Recorder revealed that in 2019, the average monthly Long Distance and International (LDI) traffic was around 630 million minutes per month.

After the deployment of WMS in March 2020, the international incoming voice traffic through legal channels has increased to around 757 million minutes per month during January 2020 to July 2021.

Huge decline of about 92 percent in grey SIMs identification has been witnessed from January 2020-July 2021. The documents further revealed that a total of 515 raids have been conducted since 2008.

Over 504,563 SIMs have been blocked for their involvement in grey telephony.

Grey traffic is essentially concealment of incoming international telephone calls (traffic), which are terminated on fixed and mobile networks by using illegal channels and other means for the purpose of avoiding taxes/levies adding that biometric verification is related to the proper issuance of SIMs and is not a direct measure to control grey traffic. Furthermore, grey traffic is terminated through mobile connections as well as other fixed line termination channels.

Sources revealed that grey trafficking, which has been reduced significantly but could not be ruled out completely despite, biometric verification and posing serious security threat.

Official said that grey SIMs are either issued by defrauding people through various means by getting their finger impressions in real-time or by misuse of their captured finger impressions on silicon sheets in offline mode.

To curb the menace of grey traffic, the PTA has adopted a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach.

Some details are as below: (i) strengthening of BVS to minimise misuse - these include introduction of Live Finger Detect (LFD)-based BVS machines, broadcasting of SIM count to each subscriber, etc; (ii) action against violating sale channels by CMOs - including imposition of fines, suspension and termination of sale channels; (iii) action against Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) by the PTA. Show cause notices were served to some mobile operators for involvement of their sale channels in issuance of grey SIMs; (iv) the cases of issuance of grey SIMs are regularly being shared with FIA.