Google play store services to stop working in Pakistan from next month?

Reports claiming that Android users in Pakistan would be unable to access Google Play Store services after December 1, 2022, are untrue and deceptive.   

However, Android users in Pakistan will be unable to purchase paid apps or use in-apps paid services via mobile carrier billing a method for mobile users to pay for apps using their mobile credits- because the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) halted a $34 million payment to global tech companies. This was done to thwart the outflow of funds from the country. 

According to the details, the SBP suspended Direct Carrier Billing (DCB). Therefore, the payment of $34 million to overseas service providers like Google, Amazon, and Meta, has been frozen.

However, it is important to mention that Pakistani Android users can buy apps or use paid services on the Google play store through credit/Debit cards. 

In this regard, the MoITT, the PTA, and four cellular mobile operators (CMOs) unanimously wrote a letter to the SBP requesting that it reverse the decision to revoke the DCB mechanism for payment of dollar fees in light of the country’s liquidity crisis.

Google Play Store: IT Minister’s response

Amin-ul-Haq, Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications has taken note of the situation and written to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, requesting that the central bank resume payments.

In light of the aforementioned issue, he also stated that in the future, when making IT-related decisions, the government and SBP must consult with the IT Ministry.

Furthermore, he emphasized the problems and challenges the telecom sector is already facing, and that the SBP’s decision is further amplifying these problems. 

He also confirmed that free app services on Google Play would remain available, adding that blocking payments to international organizations will bring the country’s name into disrepute, while Android users who operate paid apps or use in-app paid services will face significant difficulties as a result of this decision.

Following this official intervention, SBP is likely to allow the payment of the outstanding $34 million. Then users may once again purchase apps from the Google Play Store using direct carrier billing.

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