PTA bars cellular networks from imposing additional charges
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) directs all cellular mobile operators (CMOs) to immediately stop charging a call set-up fee which they had recently imposed. These instructions were issued keeping in view the provisions of Telecom Re-organisation Act and Consumer Protection Regulations 2009.
According to PTA
The call set-up fee is against the interest of the consumers.
The regulatory body came to know of the newly introduced charges after it started receiving complaints from subscribers regarding the new fee which operators had imposed.
PTA then confirmed that mobile operators were charging call-setup charges of Rs0.10 exclusive of tax on each call for the past one week. These charges had been posted on the CMOs’ websites which were to come into effect from January 1, 2014.
The concept of the call set-up fee was the same as that of calling cards. Initial charges are deducted from each call before the remaining minutes are offered. These call setup charges apply to all answered calls even if they last for a mere second.
However, mobile operators argue that the new charges had been levied to meet the increasing operating expenses.
An official in a private cellular company said:
Each call made by a subscriber heavily costs the operators. The expenses of operating towers and administration charges have gone up because of several external factors, which has forced us to impose the new charge
This view was rejected by the PTA which maintained that the authority had considered all ground realities before directing the mobile operators to stop charging call set-up fee.