PTA rejects PTCL's astounding tariff hike -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PTA rejects PTCL’s astounding tariff hike

KARACHI: The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has rejected Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited’s (PTCL) an astounding 3,000 per cent tariff surge on co-location services and has forthwith stopped implementing its order.

The PTA reached the decision on Saturday in Islamabad after hearing complaints from numerous PTCL customers, mostly the Internet service providers, sources close to the authority said.

An official in the PTA while confirming the decision said that the PTCL could not take any unilateral decision without duly informing the regulator.

“The PTCL about three months back increased co-location tariff by almost 3,000 per cent. The ISPs and other PTCL customers approached the authority against such decision and today (Saturday) the PTA rejected the PTCL decision and asked the company to charge according to the old rate,” said a source who attended the hearing.

He said the PTA called the PTCL high ups, ISPs representatives and other stakeholders to deliberate on the issue.

Conclusively, it was decided that the 3000 per cent increase in tariff is totally unjustified and must be stopped, he added.

“According to the Pakistan Telecommunications Act 1996 the telecom company could not pass any order even for cut in charges of any service without informing us (PTA),” said the official and added: “It is an abject violation of rules by the PTCL.”

This was the second rejection by the PTA on the PTCL decision since November 2002, when the telecom regulator termed the ban over Internet telephony illegal and asked the company to remove it.

However, instead of heeding to the PTA decision the PTCL moved the court and took a stay on the authority’s decision.

The telecom regulator, in February last year put a stop to Internet telephony by imposing a ban on 17 websites which facilitated calls to North America bypassing the PTCL.

PTCL officials argue that under the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Act 1996, basic telephone services are the prerogative of the phone utility.

The Act declares: “Basic telephone services mean the provision of any telecommunications service, which consists of two-way live voice telephone service in digital form or otherwise over any fixed switched network or between base stations or switches or modes of any public mobile switched network; real-time transmission or reception of facsimile images over a public fixed switched network; international telephony service; and the lease of circuits for the provisions of the services specified.”

Meanwhile, while defining the co-location tariff, the PTA official said that PTCL customers, while attaining bandwidth services install requisite equipment at the company’s exchange.

On such installation, the PTCL charge tariffs at the rate of per square feet being used by the customer, he added.

According to the increased tariff, the ISPs and other PTCL customers would have to pay Rs198 per square feet as co-location charges, against the previous rate of Rs2 per square feet.
Source: The News
Date:9/28/2003