Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is working on making amendments in Telecom Consumer Protection Regulation, 2009. PTA said that these amendments are being pushed to make sure that consumers rights are protected in a dynamic market.
Highlights of amendments start with the definition of term “Lottery” as following:
Definition of “Lottery”
Means the offer or undertaking to offer any prize, reward, or other similar consideration against the payment for chance to win, used as an inducement, encouragement or telecommunication service promotional scheme for the services provided, whereby the prizes/rewards are drawn at random for the class of subscribers
Some other definitions are as following:
Definition of “Incentive”
Means motivation or reward being offered by an Operator for the provision and subscription of a telecommunication service promotional scheme and includes lottery
Definition of ” Telecommunication service promotion scheme”
Means any telecom service, category of telecom service and/or package offered by an Operator, having rates along with terms and conditions, and/may include an incentive or reward for subscription of such telecom service”
With these definitions, the amended regulations will allow all operators to offer its customers any incentives excluding lottery.
According to amended consumer regulation:
All Operators are free to offer incentives while undertaking any commercial practices including the offer of any telecommunication service promotional schemes.
The permissible incentives shall comprise of telecommunication service related benefit, including, free or additional telecommunication services, its features, and/or services offered on concessional rates and exclude lottery
It maybe recalled that Supreme Court of Pakistan had banned Inaami Schemes, however, operators had been interpreting that Inaami Schemes are banned while promotion schemes are not. PTA, with these new definitions and clear regulations, has solved the confusion.
It must be noted that, according to amended regulations, any commercial activities including telecommunication service promotional schemes contrary to law will not be launched/undertaken by an Operator.
Moreover, all operators are bound to share information about any proposed commercial practice to PTA at least ten working days in advance. Also, according to new proposed regulations, authority is set free to amend, change or add any feature in the proposed commercial activity of operators.
According to regulations, all operators are bound to advertise following information about any promotional scheme or commercial activity:
- Title and Key features of the Commercial Activity or telecommunication promotional scheme;
- Nature of the offer and method of conducting the above;
- Duration which shall include the start and the end date;
- Tariff and complete details of all other charges applicable for subscription;
- A complete list of the number and type of the incentives allocated to be distributed to the qualifying consumers and the parameters/benchmarks for determining winners;
- Details of Mechanism, place and date for selection of qualifying consumers
After new regulations, operators are also barred to send unsolicited SMS/IVR broadcast to its subscribers of any new offering unless explicitly requested/consented by subscribers.
Clearly telcos won’t be happy with the rule of submitting information about proposed promotions to PTA prior to the launch. Currently, at times, new promotions are planned and launched with-in couple of days and hence taking PTA’s approval ten days in advance isn’t going to help them at all.
Telecom companies are in process of running through new proposed regulations and will submit their feedback after which PTA will regularize the bill with the name of Telecom Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations, 2015.
You can download the copy of proposed amendments in Telecom Consumer Protection Regulation from here (Word Document, 30KB).