Non-compliance with regulations -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Non-compliance with regulations

PTA launches action against cellular firms

KARACHI: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has launched a crackdown against franchises of cellular companies selling new connections without meeting regulatory requirements, which may lead to complete sealing of their business.

An official said the telecom watchdog had informed the cellular service providers through a communique regarding its campaign, which allowed the PTA team to raid the franchise of any company and check its record of sales with monitoring of its daily activity.

“The PTA during its campaign may also involve the companies’ representatives to keep the process transparent,” said the official. “The campaign has been launched in all the five zones of the PTA, which include Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Multan, and franchises in all these areas have been going through surprise checks.”

He said the PTA had already asked all the six cellular companies to get their data streamlined by August 31. The companies were due to provide complete data of their subscriber base to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for verification purposes, he added.

The country has witnessed a phenomenal jump in cellular subscriber base during the last three years, on increased competition and declining tariff. With more than 60 million subscribers across the country, verified data of each subscriber has become a serious challenge for both the telecom operators and the authorities.

A rough estimate suggests more than three million subscribers have submitted fake personal details to their respective service providers at the time of acquiring connection, which is seen as a serious security threat.

“The PTA in June 2007 took an initiative to streamline the subscribers data and directed all the cellular mobile operators to ensure that their franchisees adopt proper procedure before issuing new mobile connections to the customers,” said the official.

He said the authority had also asked the cellular companies to sell new connections only through authorised franchisees and they assured outlets within their operational areas also adhered to the laid down procedure.

“The formal procedure to sell a SIM (subscriber identity module) suggests acquiring a copy of the computerised national identity card of the customer endorsing the issued mobile telephone number on the said CNIC copy would be ensured at the sale point,” he added.

“The customer wishing to purchase a SIM would also be required to fill the customer agreement form that has been made simple for the convenience of the general public. Under these directives, the franchisees would also be required to ensure that their sale points display the proof of their registration from respective operator at their premises for the benefit of the customers.”

He said the PTA campaign would monitor such activity at different sale points and authorised franchises of the companies and take an action against those, which were not complying with the authority’s instructions.

Cellular subscriber base crossed 63 million by the end of June 2007 and experts see the service continues adding higher numbers subscribers during current financial year. Among total 63.15 million Mobilink enjoyed 26.46 million subscribers followed by Ufone 14.01 millions.

Telenor had a subscriber base of 10.70 million subscribers with Warid serving to 10.62 million users across the country. By the fiscal end Paktel and Instaphone had share of 1.02 million and 333,081 customers in total subscriber base across the country.
Source: The News