The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has concluded the formulation of the ‘smartphone financing policy,’ set to be presented to stakeholders, including representatives from four telecom companies and fintech firms next week.
Caretaker IT minister Dr. Umer Saif, addressing the media on Thursday, revealed that four meetings have already taken place on this matter. He expressed optimism, stating, “People would hear good news regarding the availability of smartphones through easy installment plans.”
Once stakeholders reach an agreement on the draft smartphone financing policy, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority will officially notify it, with the process expected to wrap up in the next few days.
Dr. Saif highlighted the IT ministry’s support for the idea of allowing banks, investment companies, and telecom firms to provide smartphones through installment plans. While discussing consequences for defaulters, he mentioned the possibility of rendering their mobile phones unusable through blocking. However, the final decision is pending, and the cellular company supplying the mobile phone might have the right to block the defaulter’s SIM cards.
Sources within the ministry disclosed that two out of four telecom companies have opposed the idea of a centralized pool for blocking all SIM cards issued under the defaulter’s CNIC.
Despite the banking sector’s reluctance to invest in microloaning due to high management costs associated with mobile phone loans, microfinance banks, notably Mobilink Microfinance Bank, Telenor Microfinance Bank, and UBank, have expressed eagerness to offer phones through installment plans.