PTA directs mobile operators to discontinue prize schemes

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) directed all mobile operators (MOs) on Wednesday to discontinue all prize schemes with immediate effect, sources said.


Currently, mobile operators are offering lucrative prize schemes to customers, including luxurious cars, cash prizes, etc., but the regulator considers such schemes as ‘misleading’ and has now asked mobile firms to stop giving such offers on immediate basis.


According to an official document sent by the PTA to all MOs, a copy of which is available with The News, as per Islamabad High Court’s order mobile operators are directed to stop all types of prize schemes with immediate effect and submit a compliance report in this regard today.


As per rough estimates, mobile companies have spent multimillion rupees on such prize schemes. After imposing restrictions on the sale of SIMs, the industry is facing constraints on its growth prospects, which is why they have endeavoured to catch customers’ attention through such schemes.

Sources in the mobile industry said that such schemes aimed at luring customers, but they cannot be termed misleading. However, they added that they would submit their viewpoint before the regulator in this regard.


Official documents show that a writ petition was filed by some MOs in Islamabad High Court on the issue of prize schemes against the directive of PTA dated April 9, 2012, and the court has now dismissed the petition in favour of the authority.


In its directive, the PTA said that it received various complaints on a regular basis against the prize schemes. Based on the schemes’ content, it is observed that they are prima facie contrary to law, PTA’s aforesaid direction and in violation of regulation 8 (4) 8 (5) (i) Telecom Consumer Protection Regulation 2009.


Keeping in view the increasing number of complaints on this issue, the PTA considers these prize schemes misleading and against the law. Therefore, all mobile operators are directed to stop all prize schemes with immediate effect for the interest of consumers.


Against this directive, mobile operators filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court, wherein the court dismissed their petition. Keeping in view the court’s order March 8, the PTA has directed all MOs to stop prize schemes with immediate effect and submit a compliance report till March 21, 2013.

Courtesy:  The News

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