Competition In Market Benefitting Telecom Users

Competition in market benefitting telecom users

ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 12th Nov, 2016 ) : The healthy competition in telecom sector has consolidated market where shares of different operators changed significantly and helped record reduction in mobile phone call charges, ultimately benefitting the subscribers. As mandated under the Act, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is playing active role to maintain healthy competition in different segments of telecom sector while safeguarding interests of consumers and investors.

The market consolidation has now moved towards mergers and aquisitions where only competitive operators will be able to survive in future. A latest report of regulator on Saturday revealed that due to Mobile Number Portability (MNP), customers can easily switch from one operator to other according to their best suitable tariffs and packages. These developments in market have resulted into reasonable market shares of individual Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs).

The report said the effective price of cellular mobile calls has witnessed a substantial reduction to Rs. 0.60 per minute in Pakistan during 2015 which about Rs 1.68 per minute five years back. The price per minute of cellular mobile call in the country is now almost one third of the price in 2010-11. Cellular Mobile Operators are offering one of the lowest mobile call charges in the world and the affordability of services has contributed to phenomenal growth in mobile adoption.

All CMOs are involved in aggressive marketing campaigns and promotions. Therefore, the cellular mobile segment needs a thorough review so that financial viability and health of the segment can be assured. The CMOs are offering two to five standard prepaid packages with pulse durations of one second, 20 second, 30 seconds and 60 seconds. The operators are offering aggressive promotions which include unlimited on-net calls as well as free calls to off-net mobile and fixed-line networks.

As per details, Telenor is offering lowest tariff for on-net and off-net calls i.e. Rs.1.50 per minute to its prepaid customers. zong is offering 20 seconds pulse duration and is charging Rs. 1.65 per minute. Ufone and warid Telecom are charging Rs. 1.70 per minute whereas Pakistan Mobile Communications Limited (PMCL) (mobilink) is charging Rs. 1.80 for on-net and off-net calls. Warid is the only operator which is also offering "Friends and Family" tariff for five numbers at Rs.

0.98 per minute (on-net) and Rs. 1.50 per minute (off-net). SMS tariff offered by CMOs are in the range of Rs. 1.20 (PMCL) and Rs. 1.48 (Ufone). Some of the operators are charging Rs. 5 per day for unlimited on-net calls and Rs. 1.00 per minute for off-net calls. In case of postpaid, CMOs are offering four to seven postpaid packages with pulse duration of 30 seconds and 60 seconds respectively. The report said monthly subscription charges/line rent offered by CMOs are in range of Rs.

49 to Rs. 4,000 charged by Ufone and Warid Telecom respectively. On-net tariff is in range of Rs. 1.00 to Rs. 1.30 per minute whereas offnet tariff is in the range of Rs. 1.25 to Rs. 1.60 per minute. With regard to PTA's efforts, the report said regulator is actively working on implementation of the Telecom Policy 2015 and several related tasks are underway. PTA has provided a comprehensive input to Ministry of IT to frame Competition Rules and the Authority is of the view that under these Rules, pricing in all defined markets shall be cost based, with minimum/reasonable rate of return and must be assessed regularly for their appropriateness and adequacy keeping in view affordability of the end-users.

Furthermore, operators shall not be allowed to carry out agreements/arrangements that prevent or lessen competition substantially and all kinds/types of anti-competitive behaviors and conduct or practices that may result in the lessening of competition shall not be allowed. It merits mentioned here that cellular mobile segment is the most vibrant and competitive part of telecom sector. Currently, five CMOs are in market which are offering 3g and 4G/LTE services.