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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has directed the Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) to send mandatory confirmation messages to their consumers to get explicit consent for opting in or activation of value-added services.

The CMOs have further been directed to submit compliance report within three weeks from issuance of the order.

The PTA was in receipt of consumers’ complaints that value-added services, including third party content/games, are sometimes activated by mobile operators without prior consent of the consumers.

The PTA has taken serious notice of such complaints as activation of any value-added services without explicit consent of consumers is a violation of Clause 9(3)(vii) of “Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2009”.

This step is expected to provide great relief to mobile consumers.

The PTA is committed to protect the interests of users of telecommunication services in Pakistan.

A senior official told Business Recorder that with growing concerns on the quality of service parameters, including call drop, call quality, and data throughput, the PTA has also decided to amend the cellular mobile network quality of service (QoS) regulations. The proposed regulations would be called “cellular mobile network quality of service (QoS) regulations 2021.”

The QoS refers to the ability of a network or service to satisfy the end-user and is primarily linked with the aspects of services that are directly experienced by the consumers.

With the increase of the subscriber base, customer dissatisfaction is increasing, and complaints against the network are also increasing.

Growing concerns on various QoS parameters, especially call drop, call quality and data throughput, had been observed recently, the PTA official added.

To ensure a level-playing field, along with a competitive environment and subscriber satisfaction, performance measurement with a common standard regarding QoS is a must.

The QoS parameters can be measured both from network monitoring terminals and field surveys through drive tests.

With the adaptation of 3G and 4G technologies, it is about time to set some benchmarks/thresholds for CMOs, which they must comply with to ensure consumers’ satisfaction.

The PTA has stated that the QoS regulations 2011 and subsequent amendment in 2012 have a scope and applicability to all cellular mobile communication service to identify the minimum quality of service standards and associated measurement.

However, with the award of Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) licensees, the regulations need to be amended per NGMS licenses and keeping in view the international best practices and ensuring the provision of best service quality to consumers of mobile services.

The existing regulations provide Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and measurement procedures, which are primarily concerned with voice service and short messaging service.

The regulations have not defined any KPI for NGMS or mobile broadband service.

The QoS KPIs in cellular mobile network QoS regulations 2011, of voice and SMS services amendments, are suggested in the existing QoS KPIs regarding its measurement procedure and threshold values, etc.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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