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[January 21, 2013]
Background: Ban on call packages result of domino effect
(Express Tribune (Pakistan) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The restrictions on late night calling packages can be traced back to February 2010 when the Punjab Assembly passed a resolution to ban these packages in the province. A month later, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly also passed a resolution for immediate ban on late night calling packages; they even demanded a ban on text messages bundles.
These packages, however, continued until November 2012 when a Senate Standing Committee on IT and Telecom asked PTA to stop all kinds of late night packages and chat room services. The telecom regulator immediately issued a directive to all mobile operators requiring them to comply with the order.
In what highlights the importance of these packages for the industry, all five operators lobbied against PTA’s directive immediately after the ban was imposed. Within a couple of days, they challenged the ban in Islamabad’s High Court.
In the meantime, PTA intercepted conversations that had obscene contents from one of the chat room services and presented its transcript to the high court. The industry, therefore, had to withdraw their petition in about a week’s time.
The court, however, asked the mobile operators [petitioners] to file an appeal if they felt aggrieved from any of PTA’s directives. The service providers have not taken any legal step against the ban since withdrawing their petition from the Islamabad High Court. The industry, however, has not given up on this and may go for an appeal against the ban, a telecom source said.
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