PTA is Set to Regularize Telecom Tariffs

In a bid to keep a control on telecom tariffs and service charges, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is set to legislate “Telecommunication Services Retail Tariff Regulations, 2015”.

A deliberated draft of the regulation suggests that PTA will be able to make sure that tariffs of telecom services (mainly the cellular and broadband) are inline with consumers’ affordability and are not creating a cartel in the market.

Moreover, the regulation is also aimed at bringing more transparency in telecom tariffs to ensure that telecom operators clearly communicate any discounts, validity, allowed quota and end dates of a particular promotion.

Not to be mention, at the time of imposition of 10 paisas call setup charges in 2013 PTA had asked operators to withdraw these charges. However, operators didn’t listen to PTA and kept charging call setup charges of 10 paisas for each prepaid call by saying that PTA has no mandate to regulate pricing of the telecom sector.

This is going to change now.

According to the new regulation, PTA will have this authority to make operators reverse any charges imposed if they are deemed anti-competitive or burdensome on consumers.

According to the this proposed regulation, SMP (Significant Market Player) will have to get PTA’s approval before implementing a tariff change, for which SMP has to communicate clear details to regulator 30 days ahead of actual implementation.

According to the new proposed regulation, PTA can reverse any charges imposed if they are deemed anti-competitive or burdensome on consumers

Similarly, customers are supposed to be clearly communicated by the SMP for any tariff change.

Regulation said that PTA will have this authority to disapprove any tariff proposal from SMP if deemed anti-competitive too expensive for the consumers to bear.

Non-SMP, however, would be free to revise tariffs but they must communicate any tariff proposals to PTA 20 days ahead of actual implementation. Not to mention, customers should be notified about any tariff change 7 days ahead of actual implementation.

Moreover, PTA will also be given a authority to set tariff ceiling and tariff floor for both SMP and non-SMP telecom operators for their services.

Telecom industry, which is about to get hold of draft regulation to study it in detail, told ProPakistani that 30 or even 20 days intimation to PTA for any tariff revision is realistically very long.

Industry high-ups were of the opinion that a dynamic market like Pakistan demands quick decisions. “Things are calculated on hourly basis and this is where PTA needs to understand that 30 day window is an impossible proposition”, said the official.

After input from various stakeholders, this draft is likely to become a regulation with-in couple of months.

Here are few other noteworthy elements from the regulation:

  • All telecom service providers will have to offer free of cost emergency services.
  • Operators will ensure that all Tariff information is complete, clear and simple to understand.
  • No part of the advertisement, publication, brochure etc. particularly those related to service offerings and the tariffs shall be in micro fonts. Other than heading for which the font can be as big as licensee want , all the remaining text shall be in one uniform text.
  • Operators can not describe a package as being ‘unlimited’ if there is a limit to the number of calls, minutes, data volume etc being used.
  • Operators can not describe a package as being ‘free’ if there are any charges attached to that package.\The
  • Operators should not activate automatic renewal of subscription based packages upon the expiry of that package, without soliciting explicit consent of the subscriber/consumer.
  • The Licensees shall inform Consumers when they are approaching 80% of their credit balance or credit limit of a package.

You can download the copy of draft regulation by clicking this link (PDF File – 198KB).

Tech and telecom reporter with over 15 years of experience, he works as founder of ProPakistani.PK

  • Sab se pehle to Ufone walon ki aqal thikaane lagani chaiye.Har package me bolta he UNLIMITED.Aur deta kachra he.

  • Great step indeed, the biggest cheater is Telenor the favorite company of ProPakistani team!

  • Because regulation of prices has worked so well in other sectors. Regulated prices have given us sugar, wheat, cng, gas, electricity and petrol shortage. It has given us inflated prices for international calls. Just see the story about ICH and how telcos made a killing. Still they don’t learn their lesson and now want to ruin the telecommunications industry with more regulation.

    Regulation of prices leads to either higher prices, shortages or bankrupt businesses. It never works because government bureaucrats don’t understand the market. Only businessmen and consumers understand it because they participate in the market.

    • Yes, I 100% agree. Subsidies and regulations of this kind (by government) are bad bad bad ideas. Anyone who has studied economics should know this (isn’t there a single person like that in Ministry or PTA???)

    • Great! I ask you a question:

      Ap ka ek beta hy ar ap apny bety ko regularise nahi krty ar khuli chutti dy dety hain… to kya ap qusorwar hain ya apka beta?? Agar koi b company hamen loot rahi hy to kia hm economics ko favor kren ar apny rights bhol jaen??

      Apky ghar gaye to hogi? Usay bandh ky rakhny ki kya zrorat hy??? Ap usy khula chor dain regularise krny ki kia zrorat???

      • Sorry, man. PTA regularizing telecom industry is NOT AT ALL like your scenario.

        It is more like PTA regularizing all colleges and universities to wear dress uniform and offering same courses and offering same fees. Such a bad idea when better universities should be able to charge more for better equipment, professors etc..

        And remember, if one company suddenly starts charging Rs 1/SMS, everyone will leave it. If ALL companies start charging Rs 1/SMS, that is collusion and price fixing and already controlled by CCP which has the right to look into such behaviour and fine companies. Only problem is N government and PPP government have tried to cut down CCP’s authority.

        • “already controlled by CCP”?? yeah right.

          Have you forgot all the price increases and new charges implemented by all operators in near-lockstep? Balance inquiry charge, helpline call charge, call center agent conversation charge, call setup charge, 5% prepaid load charge etc etc.

          With such blatant and obvious price-fixing, the CCP should burn itself down.

          • That’s the problem, government is not letting CCP do its job properly. Ever since Shaukat Aziz government left, CCP has been useless.

  • kabi kehtay ho PTA ki suni kisi nay nahi phir sath he likh dia PTA has authority.
    kia baat kertay ho panday ji, wo consumer rights protection walay hain aik jinki apne ghar main koi nhi sunta baqi to dur or uper say wo koi 2 ya 3 saal baad jagtay kisi issue pay.

  • Very good decision to enforce such regulations where majority of the population even educated people can’t decipher the packages and their related costs. However as far as I remember, there isn’t any SMP in Cellular operators since last many years.

  • Operator can’t describe a package unlimited if there is a limit, free if they are charging and terms and conditions won’t be in micro fonts and tariff information will be complete and easy to understand…… RIP PTCL aap bhot yaad aao gaye ;'(

  • Practically PTA has no control overs Operators. I can quote many example to proof that PTA is helpless in front of operators. Let see this time

  • PTA should first regulate the deceptive advertising first. The word “UNLIMITED” should be banned from advertisements.

  • iska burden b awam pr aye ga. ullu k pathay hn ye sb. this govt no, actually every govt is a failure for pakistan. #KryKoiBhryKoi chalta he is mulk me.

  • I hope that puts an end to PTCL’s arbitrary speed ‘upgrades’ every few months which they do on their own but then start charging extra after a while. If they upgrade on their own then they should revert on their own too- finally put an end to those shrewd extortionary tactics.
    Also we’d like to be rid of those phony meaningless “unlimited” labels.

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