PTA conducted a media briefing on consumer protection initiatives by the authority and how it has helped Pakistan towards the road to digitalization. The senior management of PTA briefed on the different telecom initiatives and activities that were planned and successfully executed. The officials highlighted that PTA is working hard, analyzing and addressing the issues for continuous improvement of telecom services, keeping user satisfaction and engagement as their top priority.
In the span of ten years, the Pakistan Telecom Authority has come up with several initiatives. Starting from the complaint management system which was launched in 2010, and upgraded in 2020 facilitates telecom consumers with lodging complaints, processing and redressal of consumer grievances and etc. In the last three years, a total of 480,865 complaints were received and 238,656 were resolved. The application for CMS is also been uploaded on Play Stores for internal testing & is being finalized to launch.
PTA Conducts Media Briefing revealing the Telecom Initiatives
Other than this, the Consumer support center that was launched in 2020 is a toll-free number (0800-55055) used by consumers to register their complaints on different telecom issues.
In April 2021, PTA came up with an automated Lost and Stolen Device System (LSDS) for blocking lost, stolen, and snatched mobile phones, receiving around 9,963 blocking/unblocking requests. Furthermore, to take action against fraudulent communication, PTA launched an automated module of CMS in February 2021 through which a total of 85,472 IMEIs have been blocked, 22,225 warnings issued and 206 CNICs blacklisted.
One of the best initiatives was Pakistan Citizen Portal through which people lodge complaints. Out of 53,037 complaints, 96.7% of complaints have been addressed.
Moreover, the officials also revealed that PTA has initiated the process of auctioning additional spectrum for Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) considering the market demand. For this, PTA has also started hiring international consultants to design and manage the auction process on September 30th, 2020. An international consultancy firm, named Frontier Economics is assisting PTA in the entire auction process and the auction mechanism was designed based on best international practices and in accordance with the PPRA rules and regulations.
Last but not the least, one of the most futuristic initiatives was the launch of the Device Identification Registration & Blocking System (DIRBS), the world’s first open-sourced initiative which aimed to curtail counterfeit mobile phone usage and discourage mobile phone theft. Since the implementation of DIRBS, the import of mobile devices via legal channels increased by 62% with a revenue of PKR 46.27 Billion. In 2020, 38.14 million devices were imported with revenue of PKR 54 Billion, and in 2021, so far 20.91 million devices have been imported through legal channels.
Not just this, DIRBS has also given a vision of local mobile manufacturing. This process was further exacerbated with the introduction of a mobile manufacturing policy in June 2020 encouraging local manufacturing. Furthermore, PTA also issued Mobile Device Manufacturing (MDM) Regulations in 2021, a major milestone in the journey towards “Digital Pakistan”. Till now PTA has issued MDM authorization to 26 companies, including both foreign and local companies with brands like Samsung, Vivo, Oppo, Nokia, Alcatel, Techno, Infinix, etc.
No doubt, in the span of few years, many futuristic initiatives are planned and accomplished in line with the digital prime minister’s digital Pakistan vision. If the government keeps on launching such initiatives, the time is near that it will be able to end the digital gap between Pakistan and other developed countries.