PTCL Customer Woes And Coercion
In recent weeks, social media platforms, particularly Facebook groups, have been buzzing with claims and concerns about Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) allegedly threatening to disconnect landlines unless customers subscribe to their internet services. Users have reported instances where linemen installing/fixing landlines are forcing internet subscription as well, raising questions about customer’s choices and rights.
Numerous complaints have surfaced, revealing a pattern where customers seeking the installation of a traditional landline are being pressured to sign up for PTCL’s internet services, Fiber Flash. This has sparked a wave of frustration and confusion among consumers who feel cornered into making decisions that may not align with their preferences or needs.
In a perplexing turn of events, some customers have reported linemen arriving to switch their copper phone lines to fiber, only to find themselves pushed to opt for Fiber Flash internet services as a prerequisite. This dual approach, where both new installations and upgrades come bundled with internet services, has ignited concerns about transparency and customer choice. With the advent of mobile networks and OTT services, landlines are a thing of the past, yet some customers still do prefer to use them b/c of the “number”. The old number is known to their parents, friends and families and people are hesitant to let go of it and for business its matters more since few of their customers might contact them this way still. This connection to their number is what PTCL is exploiting by blackmailing residential and business customers to opt for PTCLs fiber internet services as well if their customers want to continue with their landline services, no matter how satisfied customers must be with their existing ISP provider. With no option of fixed number portability, the customers is coerced towards making a choice for PTCL.
The controversy has prompted discussions on the implications for healthy competition within the telecommunications industry. Critics argue that such practices may stifle consumer choice and create an unfair advantage in the market.
Several questions have emerged from the online discourse, prompting a closer look at the situation. Is PTCL, a state-owned enterprise, using its influence to monopolize the market by bundling landline services with internet subscriptions? Are these reported practices a violation of consumer rights and a breach of fair competition standards?
It is important for industry experts and regulatory authorities to swiftly intervene and investigate these alleged malpractices and ensure that consumers are not unduly coerced or limited in their choices. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) must be notified to conduct a thorough inquiry into this issue and take measures to maintain a fair and competitive landscape.
As the controversy unfolds, consumers are encouraged to be vigilant and aware of their rights when dealing with service providers. Additionally, industry watchdogs and regulatory bodies are urged to address these concerns promptly to maintain a level playing field and safeguard the interests of the telecommunications consumers in Pakistan. The outcome of these investigations could potentially shape the future landscape of the industry, influencing the balance between service providers and the rights of consumers in the digital age.