Suspension of mobile phone services: Cellular operators lose millions of rupees
By: Muhammad Yasir
KARACHI: Cellular phone companies have incurred millions of rupees losses due to suspension of their services for 10 to 12 hours from Chand Raat till after Eidul Fitr’s namaz — a high traffic event for calls and SMS when Muslims greet their dear ones.
Officials of different mobile phone operators said that millions of minutes and SMS could not exchange in the 10 to 12 hours service blockade in major cities of the country on the directives of Adviser to the Prime Minister Rehman Malik. The temporary suspension of cellular phone services spells into losses of millions of rupees to the telecom sector and national exchequer in terms of taxes because Eidul Fitr is the peak season for consumption of multiple mobile companies’ services.
Major traffic of calls and SMS is recorded every year after sighting of the moon of Eidul Fit till the other day’s evening but it became thin this year as the services were cut off completely in four cities of the country constituting 30-40 percent share of the overall subscriber’s base of 120 million.
The mobile phone users are said to be highly potential consumers of different services including SMS, MMS, calls and emails. If one to 10 SMS per hour are exchanged on mobile phone network in normal days, the figure increases by five times on a special occasion like Eid, an official of a cellular phone company said. Similarly, if one call is made in an hour in routine, it goes up three times on Eid.
Lots of mobile phone users make international calls but the unavailability of services either forced them to use alternative services—internet or landline—or they did not make any this year, an official added on condition of anonymity. In these hours, a big section of people has been reported to go online for using social networking sites mainly to wish their relatives and friends living in the country and abroad. Besides, landline phones were used alternatively for Eid greetings.
Customers to exchange calls and SMSes in later of the Eid but the traffic was not significant as reported by companies.
Another official of the cellular phone operator said the breakdown in cellular phone services has caused millions of rupees losses after scores of domestic calls and SMS could not be exchanged in the peak business hours of the major cities. Mobile phone users whether shopkeepers or buyers use mobile phone services heavily during shopping hours from the eve of Eid but scores of SMS and minutes of calls were not exchanged due to services suspensions.
It is observed that cellular phone operators suspend their routine voice and data packages to maintain network’s capacity on Eid days in the high traffic hours of SMS and calls. The companies were seen taking the same action this year but it did not work for them as overall network was not operational for consumers.
Cellular officials said the government should evolve a different mechanism to stop terrorist attacks rather than blocking services of mobile phone companies, which causes millions of customers to suffer.