PTA in a meeting with representatives of cellular companies, authority did not object over the withdrawal of SMS packages during Eid by leading operators, and said that value-added services offered by mobile operators such as SMS are un-regulated services in terms of pricing and validity.
Official statement issued by PTA said that bundled packages are optional services offered by the operators which require consumers to opt-in and agreeing to the terms and conditions offered by the operators.
“Since SMS bundle packages are not mandatory packages, PTA is only regulating quality of services whereby the operators are required to conform to the quality parameters as per the license terms and conditions.”
Operators were asked to ensure inclusion of adequate information in media campaign with regard to validity period of the SMS bundle package offer along with operator’s discretion to withdraw the said offer.
PTA’s press release.
It is interesting that PTA has separated value added services from the core telecom services, however, it is not mentioned anywhere in Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996 and Pakistan Telecommunication Rules, 2000 that Value added services are not part of regulation. Instead, there are special clauses available for VAS services, which defiantly come under regulation in terms of pricing and any alteration during the validity.
Besides this, PTA is contradicting its own verdict when it asked telecom companies to notify customers 30 days in advance of imposition of charges on balance inquiries.
We know that this is second time cellular companies have withdrawn SMS packages, still PTA is making them learn to ensure inclusion of adequate information in media campaign with regard to validity period of the SMS bundle package offer instead of charging them.
We do understand that cellular companies may not bear the Eid traffic, and it’s necessary to block the services. These services are totally dependent on operator’s policy and they can withdraw it any moment they want to. However, its customers’ right to know about any such change in tariff, package or service – and PTA was supposed to protect customers’ right, which it couldn’t even for the second time.
Just for the study and information, you can here download Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996 and Pakistan Telecommunication Rules, 2000