PTA Amends Telecom Regulations to Further Safeguard Consumer Rights and Interests

by Jawad Ali

Telecom operators to inform PTA about promotional schemes.

Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has amended “Telecommunication Consumer Protection Regulations, 2009”in order to protect consumer interests as mandated under the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act 1996.

The amended regulations now provide a mechanism with regard to launch of commercial practices and telecommunication promotional schemes by the operators.

According to the amended regulations, prior information is required to be given to the PTA for the launch of commercial practices including any telecom service promotional schemes. Such schemes are also required to be devised in the manner prescribed by the PTA from time to time. All commercial activities, contrary to law, cannot be launched by operators and operator is required to give at least ten working days prior notice to the PTA before the launch of any promotional scheme.

As per amendments in regulations, operators can offer permissible incentives while undertaking any commercial practices. The permissible incentives shall comprise of telecom service related benefit, including, free or additional telecom services, its features, and/or services offered on concessional rates excluding lottery. PTA may alter, restrict, suspend or impose of any commercial activity or telecommunication service promotional schemes if deemed necessary and operator will be responsible to provide title and key features of such activities to the PTA.

Similarly, the operator will be responsible to provide a complete list to PTA of the number, type of the incentives allocated to be distributed to the qualifying consumers, parameters/benchmarks for determining winners and details of mechanism, place and date for selection of qualifying consumers.

Furthermore, under the new regulations, an undertaking regarding inclusion of key features of the offered telecom promotional schemes in print media which shall be published in at least one national and local-language newspaper each as well as on the licensee’s, website in a clear, transparent and nondiscriminatory manner.

It is expected after the amendments that telecom consumers now can approach telecom operators for protection from unwanted and fraudulent communication while the operators are required to facilitate these consumers under the amended law.

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