Wednesday, March 3, 2010

PTCL 'package'

Editorial -- Express Tribune (coming out soon in the market)

What is one to make of PTCL’s new ‘one rupee one minute’ package which is being heavily advertised on television and newspapers these days? According to the new tariffs, calls can be made nationwide at the rate of a rupee a minute – and this is a good thing given that not too long ago calling Lahore from Karachi (and vice versa) would cost more than 10 times that. The deception – and PTCL seems to be an expert at that comes in the fine print and if one had read the advertisement closely they would have noticed that the one-rupee-per-minute rate applies to local calls as well. This basically means that PTCL has quietly more than doubled its local call charges – and local calls make up the bulk of its total calling traffic. Prior to this, a local call cost a little over two rupees for every five minutes and with the new ‘package’ a five minute call will cost five rupees, or more than double! In all this, one can only wonder what exactly is the industry regulator – the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority – doing given that one of its primary responsibilities is to protect the interests of telephone users. One example of what can only be called collusion between it and PTCL can be found on the latter’s website which has a link to the PTA website on it!

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