PTCL Gets Notice for Revising Tariff without Permission

The Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) increased its local call charges by 50 per cent from February 2010 without obtaining the mandatory permission from the telecoms regulator, claimed Dawn Newspaper.

Dawn alleges PTCL for not properly informing its subscribers about the unilateral decision to revise its tariff as they came to know of the increase when they received the bills for the month of February.

This was the third time when the PTCL arbitrarily revised its local call charges without getting mandatory permission from the telecoms watchdog, the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA).

PTCL opted not to inform the telecoms regulator for this change in tariff, which is otherwise mandatory as landline giant is Significant Market Player. Hence, when the PTA came to know about change in tariff, it issued a show-cause notice to the PTCL, they added.

A PTA official, in response to Dawn’s query said that the PTCL had launched the new tariff without getting the required approval from the PTA and a show-cause notice had been issued to the PTCL for non-compliance of the rules.

He said that further action would be taken on the basis of the company’s response and hearing.

Responding to Dawn queries, PTCL spokesperson Farah Hussain only said that more than half of the PTCL calls were of a shorter duration. The new tariff — Rs. 1 per minute — was intended to encourage those PTCL subscribers who under the earlier tariff perceived the cost of even a one-minute call at Rs2 to be too high and felt discouraged to initiate a local call.

She, however, did not respond to various queries relating to the tariff change, if the mandatory PTA permission had been obtained, if the mandatory public hearing had been organized on the issue, if the public had been informed about the dates from which the change would be effective, etc.