Mobilink, Telenor and Ufone, as per the announcements published on their websites, will charge 10 paisas plus tax extra for each and every call made by their prepaid customers from next week.
While we had anticipated a notable increase in tariffs, it is highly unusual that all three operators are introducing call setup charges during the same week.
Here are official statements published on respective websites:
Call setup charges of 10 paisa + tax will be deducted on every charged, free or bundle call from 30th December 2013.
Dear Customers: Effective from 25th December 2013, a tariff increase of 10paisa+tax per call will be applicable on all PrePaid and Uth Pack local, nationwide and international calls and voice packages, including the offers, discounted rates and bundled offers made available there in.
Dear Mobilink Customers: Effective 28th December, a call setup fee of 10 paisa + tax will be charged on all calls including discounted calls. The existing call setup fee of 15 paisa + tax on all local call base rates will be reduced to 10 paisa + tax as well.
After this new charging mechanism, each and every call on any package – including the voice bundles – will be charged extra with 10 paisas plus tax as call setup charges.
For example, if you have subscribed to voice bundle from Telenor that allows 300 minutes with validation of three days then each call made under this offer will be charged at 10 paisas plus tax per call.
Please note that call setup charges will be charged on per call basis (instead of per minute basis).
Zong and Warid are likely to impose similar charges as well.
All operators imposing same amount of call setup charges on each call hints that telecom operators are cartelizing to mint money from overly burdened telecom subscribers. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, as always, is likely to remain silent.