ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) today announced amendments in consumer protection regulations.

According to the amended regulations, Telecom operators will have to inform PTA before launching commercial practices including any telecom service promotional schemes. The operators will be further required to devise their campaigns in the manner prescribed by PTA, from time to time.

Under the amended law, all commercial activities, contrary to law, cannot be launched by operators and operator is required to give at least ten working days notice to PTA before the launch of any promotional scheme.

As per amendments, operators can offer permissible incentives while undertaking any commercial practices. The permissible incentives shall comprise of telecom service related benefit, including, free or additional telecom services, its features, and/or services offered on concessional rates excluding lottery.

PTA may alter, restrict, suspend or impose of any commercial activity or telecommunication service promotional schemes if deemed necessary and operator will be responsible to provide title and key features of such activities to PTA.

Operator will be responsible to provide an undertaking that the commercial practice and telecom promotional schemes are in compliance with the Act, Rules, Regulations and all other laws of Pakistan.

Operator will also be responsible to provide a complete list to PTA of the number, type of the incentives allocated to be distributed to the qualifying consumers, parameters/benchmarks for determining winners and details of mechanism, place and date for selection of qualifying consumers.

Furthermore, under the new regulation, an undertaking regarding inclusion of key features of the offered telecom promotional schemes in print media which shall be published in at least one national and local-language newspaper each as well as on the licensee's, website in a clear, transparent and non-discriminatory manner.

According to the authority the amended provisions of "Telecommunication Consumer Protection Regulations, 2009" are aimed to protect the consumer interests as mandated under the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act 1996.

The regulations now provide a mechanism with regard to launch of commercial practices and telecommunication promotional schemes by the operators.

The amended version of the regulations are aimed to further safeguard the consumer rights and interests. After the amendments in the regulation it is expected that, now telecom consumers can approach telecom operators for protection from unwanted and fraudulent communication and operators are required to facilitate these consumers under these regulations, PTA said in a handout.