Thursday, March 4, 2021

PTA hints at making off-net calls cheaper

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The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) will be reviewing the Mobile Termination Rate (MTR) as it is considering making off-net calls even cheaper, official documents revealed. The MTR plays a critical role in protecting smaller players and automatically rationalizing retail tariffs, particularly for off-net calls.

The changing market structure of the cellular segment in Pakistan required a review of the current MTR at Re 0.90 per minute. PTA had determined and MTR of 90 paisa per minute in 2010 and no operator was allowed to charge less than it. The MTR is basically the amount that the receiving operator is obligated to charge when a call is made to another network.

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After extensive discussion, PTA reduced the MTR for all types of calls (local, long-distance, international incoming) terminated on mobile networks from other mobile networks or fixed networks from om 90 paisas to 80 paisas from 1 January 2019 and further reduced it to 70 paisas in 2020.

Due to the prevalent industry dynamics, the mobile operators had called for a reduction in the MTR. Therefore, PTA has asked all stakeholders for their input for a revision. The documents further revealed that the MTR would be assessed in line with international best practices. It is hoped that the revised MTR would help lower tariffs for the consumers.

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The official documents also revealed that PTA carries out a regular exercise to verify whether customers are being charged retail tariffs according to the advertised rates by the Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs).

PTA introduces measures to block spam, unwanted calls and messages

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has recently introduced measures which would allow the public to block unsolicited calls and messages. An official notification issued by PTA read that “unwanted calls and messages can be disruptive but there are steps people can take to minimize them.”

Those who are not interested in receiving telemarketing-related messages would need to register their number on PTA’s Do Not Call Register (DNCR). They just have to type ‘reg’ and send to 3627.

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The notification further stated that if the issue persists then the users can contact their respective service providers. Those who wish to receive the telemarketing messages again can type ‘unreg’ and send to 3267.

Those who want to block spam and unsolicited information can type the spammers number, give space, paste the received message and send it to 9000.

To block obnoxious and unwanted calls and messages, the user can *420# (for Jazz, Telenor, and Ufone subscribers), or 420 (for Zong subscribers)

PTA has also advised the consumers to not give out their personal information, such as account numbers, passwords or any other information in response to unknown calls and messages.

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