PTA issues clarification regarding SMS, voice bundle packages

Published September 2, 2013
Voice and SMS 'bundle' packages not to be banned, PTA clarifies. — Courtesy Photo
Voice and SMS 'bundle' packages not to be banned, PTA clarifies. — Courtesy Photo

Following a slew of reports in both the local and international press talking about the decision by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to ban voice and SMS packages on grounds of ‘morality’, the industry regulator has issued a clarification explaining its position in this regard.

In a letter issued by Khurram Mehran, Director Public Relations PTA, the regulator states that its latest directive was simply a continuation from an earlier letter dated 14th November 2012, in which it had asked telecom companies to stop offering ‘chat room’ services, where users could log on anonymously and converse with other people logged into the same room.

PTA claims that it had received several complaints about these services from the Supreme Court, standing committees of Parliament as well as lawmakers, who were worried about the deleterious effects these would have on social norms and values.

After frenetic meetings between PTA officials and representatives from telecom companies, it was decided that all such packages would be discontinued and consequently the regulator issued a letter confirming this directive.

In its clarification letter, PTA states that it has not banned SMS and voice ‘bundle’ packages; rather it has directed only these ‘chat rooms’ to be abolished. Furthermore, they claim to have been misquoted in the press.

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