Recently, there came reports in media that Competition Commission of Pakistan has issued notices to as many as 24 top officials of cellular companies on charges of cartelization and price fixing.
These notices came after an inquiry which found that all five cellular firms were involved in collaborative imposition of balance inquiry charges and other price rated concerns
As a mobile user, you must be thinking if these notices will result in withdrawal of balance inquiry charges? Unfortunately, it is largely assumed by experts that this may not happen – despite, case hearings and then CCP’s order is yet to come.
This assumption is made upon CCP’s previous orders, which are still pending execution. One of such orders were for Mobilink to not to sell locked Blackberry Handsets, as CCP termed this anti-competitive practice. We all know Mobilink is still bluntly selling locked Blackberry Handsets.
We are not saying that cellular companies don’t take CCP very seriously, however, it is evident that cellular companies follow PTA much ahead of CCP in terms regulatory affairs.
When we spoke to senior officials of cellular companies, they said that it is un-comprehendible that two authorities are trying to regulate telecom industry. Most of them were of the view that CCP ordinance need amendments, and it must ask PTA for execution of its orders.
When we spoke to a legal expert, he said that Telecom Act of Pakistan and Mobile Cellular Policy have clear definition of PTA’s control over pricing issues. At the same time, whole of Pakistan comes under the jurisdiction of CCP, he added. When there are multiple regulations from different departments that apply to same industry, concerned regulator is responsible for carrying out regulatory affairs, he concluded.
Whatever the situation is, if ever announced, results of CCP’s current notices will benefit consumers by large. But when will this happen, remains a question mark!