Pakistan Telecom Leads Declines After U.S. Commission Order

Pakistan Telecommunication Co. fell as much as 5 percent in Karachi trading, leading declines among the country’s long-distance phone service providers after a U.S. commission order.

Pakistan Telecommunications dropped 4.6 percent to 20.80 rupees as of 2:32 p.m., poised for its lowest since Feb. 14. Wateen Telecom Ltd. declined 6.6 percent to 2.98 rupees, headed for its lowest since Feb. 4. Worldcall Telecom Ltd. fell 6.8 percent to 3.02 rupees, poised for lowest since Feb. 19.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has asked all U.S. phone carriers to not pay more than 2 cents per minute as settlement or termination rates to Pakistani long-distance carriers, according to the March 5 order posted on its website. Pakistan’s 14 long-distance carriers increased call rates to 8.8 cents a minute from previous levels of about 2 cents a minute after forming a single gateway for incoming calls in August called International Clearing House.

“There is a risk about the future profitability of the business considering the risk of similar decisions from other countries,” Zeeshan Afzal, an analyst at Topline Securities Pakistan Ltd., wrote in a note to clients today. “The U.S. contributes as much as 30 percent of the total incoming international traffic.”

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