ISLAMABAD ( NADEEM REPORT )
The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has issued show cause notices to Cellular Mobile Telecom Operators, namely Mobilink, Ufone, Telenor, Zong and Warid (CMTOs) for alleged violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010.
The CCP took notice of the imposition of additional charges by the CMTOs at the time of reload of balance for prepaid connections. These additional charges were introduced for the first time in July 2011 under various titles, such as operational charge, maintenance fee, administrative fee etc. and ranged from 1.0% to 1.5%. Later on, the percentage of these additional charges was revised and increased by the CMTOs in 2012, and again in 2013. Currently these additional charges range from 3% to 5%.
The Enquiry Report concludes that the deduction of additional charges at the time of every reload of balance apparently does not relate to any specific service being rendered to consumers. Furthermore, these additional charges may constitute ‘hidden’ costs of acquiring cellular telecommunication services, giving the impression that the prices of such services are lower than they actually are in reality, thereby constituting a deceptive marketing practice in violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010.
Based on the recommendations of the Enquiry Report, and in order to safeguard the interests of the subscribers in accordance with law, show cause notices were issued to Mobilink, Ufone, Telenor, Zong and Warid.