PTA delays survey on cellphone operators
LAHORE, Sept 17: No quality of service survey and inspection of the mobile phone operators have been carried out by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority during the last one year or so.
In the absence of any such survey findings, the authority is not in a position to penalise a cellular company for not improving its service. It is unclear as why to the authority has delayed the survey and whether it has purchased equipment required for the purpose.
While the PTA sleeps, cell phone users are paying the price in the shape of disconnection of calls and difficulty in connectivity and failure of SMS messages, especially on weekends. Besides, different operators have introduced packages charging nominal rates for using the network after midnight that often results in overburdening it (network).
A cell phone company official said that some cell companies had reduced their call and SMS rates without calculating the outcome and upgradation of their systems accordingly. “The cellular phone connections are given against landline and the ratio between the former and the latter should be 10 to one. Ironically, the cellular phone companies have given 15 to 20 connections against each landline,” he regretted.
According to a PTA annual report for 2006, of total complaints, 15 per cent were received against the cellular companies during 2005-06. Forty five per cent were against Mobilink, 23 per cent against Ufone, 14 per cent against Warid, eight per cent each against Telenor and Paktel, and two per cent against Instaphone.
The report said: “When compared with 2005, the percentage changes in the complaints against all operators have increased with exception of Mobilink whose complaints decreased from 61 per cent to 45 per cent.” It said that most of the complaints were registered for connectivity issues, poor quality of service, distortions and delayed response of the help line services and excessive billing.
By the end of June last the number of cell phone users in the country has crossed the figure of 63 million – Mobilink 26.4 million subscribers, Ufone 14 million, Telenor 10.7 million, Warid 10.6 million, Paktel 1.03 million and Instaphone 333,081.
A PTA spokesman in Islamabad did not respond to a questionnaire emailed to him over the issue more than a week ago.