PTA bans all chat packages on cell phones, day or night
30 August, 2013
LAHORE: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has instructed all the cellular operators of the country to immediately stop all kinds of chat packages, including voice and SMS, at any time of the day.
According to directive No CPD-1(227) 13-PTA, dated August 29 2013 with subject 'Directive relating to packages offered by CMTOs contrary to moral values of society', issued by the authority, cellular operators continue voice and SMS package (bundle offers) with different names despite a ban imposed by the PTA.
A PTA official has confirmed that the notification has been issued in this regard.The PTA has banned all kinds of late night packages through directive no CPD-1(227) 12-PTA dated November 14, 2012. However, the cellular operators start selling these packages with different names and times.
Later, the PTA conducted a comprehensive survey through its zonal offices and services divisions to verify the implementation on its directive issued to the telecom industry. The survey revealed that the chat packages (voice and SMS) are still operational under different names in clear violation of the PTA directives.
"Keeping in view the foregoing, all cellular mobile operators are hereby once again directed to immediately stop all kinds of chat packages (voice and SMS) irrespective of time of the day and submit compliance by September 02, 2013," the directive stated.
Earlier, when the PTA had imposed a ban on night packages last year, all the cellular operators approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and later withdrew the petition when the PTA submitted some transcripts of mobile call recordings it had intercepted during late-night conversations of consumers with obscene contents. However, the cellular operators' consortium had approached the Supreme Court over it and proceedings on their petition are still pending there.
The telecom industry officials said the PTA this time without consulting the stakeholders again issued a directive on packages which generated a major share of the industry revenue. They said they will decide the future course of action after a meeting.
Some say the industry will again approach the courts and also request the government to save the industry from complete collapse by stopping such bans.A senior official of a leading cellular operator said the majority of business community was using their voice bundle package in day timing which reduces their costs. He said the directive to completely ban any voice or SMS package is an injustice to the largest revenue-contributing industry. "This is the last nail in the coffin of most vibrant telecom sector of the region," he lamented.