PTA Calls for final Feedback over “Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2008”,

TA has issued an initial draft called “Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2008”, to populate regulations for protecting consumers rights. PTA says that these regulations were first made public in March 2008 for industry’s comments; and now it has revised the draft upon the feedback it got.

PTA has been seeking for further input from Telecom companies, consumers and telecom analysts to finalize these regulations to ensure that telecom consumer’s rights are well protected.

It is very good to see that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has come up with much awaited regulations to introduce code of commercial and business activities for telecom companies. I have written before on how telecom companies had been looting consumers for either misguiding or not properly educating them about their products and services.

You can download the draft Here. (Right Click and save target as; PDF File Size: 106K)

And if you find anything that is not appropriate or you want to add any thing in this draft, send your feedback at: [email protected]

I have selected only couple of points from the draft, my comments are in red font

4. Service Interruption:

In case of planned network system enhancements, updates or upgrades, the Consumer shall be given thirty (30) days prior service interruption notice by the Operator. Thirty day notice is too early to notify for any service interruptions, specifically for ISPs and even for cellular companies. We should not make any such thing a law that we can’t implement

Operators shall take all reasonable and necessary measures in providing Consumers adequate arrangements/concession in case of lengthy outages or service interruptions for which due notice is not served to Consumers. I think in such a case, operator should decide the concession or consumers should be allowed to measure their loss and negotiate with operators to claim them. But defiantly, we need a clear work plan for this point.

5. Withdrawal of Service:

(1) Operators may withdraw the provision of any service to Consumers, provided such withdrawal is approved by the Authority and thirty (30) days prior notice is given to Consumers. Again a thirty day notice is too long to terminate someone’s services. This period should vary for difference cases, for example you can allow thirty day time for non-payments, but if a consumer is involved in obnoxious communication (voice + data + SMS) then he must not be given this much time as a notice.

13. Confidentiality of Information:

(1) All Operators or employees of Operators shall maintain confidentiality of information about Consumers and shall ensure that no information about Consumers is made available to any third person other than what is printed and published in services directories or required by any applicable law or agreed by the Consumer itself.

(2) Operators shall take necessary measure to ensure that information about Consumer’s use of the network or service, or the content thereof will not be available to any third person except duly authorized by Consumer or required by an applicable law. But we want to know what this duly authorize person would be? I defiantly don’t want anyone to intercept my voice or data communication. I know so many cases where people are getting print outs of call records of those whom they victimized. This should be strictly regulated and severe penalties should be announced for those who are found involved.

Bottom Line: PTA did a good job in finalizing this draft, hope it will soon be enforced in Pakistan. But again, just introducing regulation can be no good unless if its not implemented. Furthermore, as soon as its implemented, we may find many telcos already voilating these rules. So they must be given some time in order to get ready and start obeying these laws. For exmaple, lets review following point

3. Service Provisioning:

(1) Operators shall provide telecom services to Consumers as per the rollout obligations prescribed by the Authority under their respective licenses. So it comes under consumer protection law if WLL companies overrule single mobility? These WLL companies are severally violating this rule. and in fact this violation of single mobility has made them able to compete ceullular companies.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK