Pakistan Telecom Authority sketches out new regulations against spam calls and messages

The decision was taken after LHC (Lahore High Court) notified against the transmission of scam messages about housing societies. 

 

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Spam calls and messages have always been a major source of annoyance and inconvenience for people. However, now, the issue has again caught the attention of the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) as well, who are working to deal with it via effective strategies.

Such interaction cannot be entirely controlled or eliminated. But regulation is necessary as it helps bring it down. PTA has promulgated  ‘Protection from Spam, Unsolicited, Fraudulent and Obnoxious Communication Regulations, 2009’ and ‘Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2009’  previously as a protection mechanism against such fraudulent activities.

For it to be more effective or result-oriented, the authority now plans to make changes in the above laws and is welcoming recommendations from various stakeholders. The decision was taken after LHC (Lahore High Court) notified against the transmission of scam messages about housing societies.

The authority has now issued a consultation paper proposing some amendments in the regulations, asking for input from customers as well as operators.

PTA suggested the following actions:

  • Cellular companies will not allow sending bulk messages and will charge it on per text basis. With that, uniform SMS charges/tariffs to be introduced across the industry.
  • The number of messages (maximum) to be restricted to 500 per day per subscription.
  • Action on fraudulent content will be initiated as soon as the customer reports it as stated above.
  • The complainant can forward the content of SMS that he received on short-code 9000 for verification or blocking.
  • In case of fraudulent or spam content, phone number or IMEI of the caller will be blocked following CDR verification without any prior warning.
  • All (Long Distance Internationals) LDIs will be required to establish large accounts with international operators subject to provision of the following information to the Authority:
  • Sender ID of large account
  • Content of SMS such as one-time password, transaction acknowledgment from a Bank, etc.
  • All CMOS and CVAS registration holders to establish large accounts with each other subject to the following conditions:
  • Sender ID should be set to PTA’s approved shortcode or PTA’s approved alphanumeric ID against approved shortcode.
  • Content should be PTA approved.
  • Instead of Do Not Call Register (DNCR), Do Call/SMS Register will be developed and introduced so the consumer receives the desired communication only. However, DNCR may continue until a Do SMS register is developed.
  • LDI operators will also develop software to block any incoming international call/SMS from a foreign operator with calling party number with Pakistan Code like +92-000000.
  • As a preventive measure, LDI operators will develop software to block such calling party numbers at their network.
  • Awareness campaign needs to be launched on a large scale through SMS, national and local newspapers, social media accounts of PTA and FM radio. However, awareness should be in simple and plain language (English, Urdu and if possible primary local languages) so that it would be understandable.

You can also read more details on the new PTA regulations HERE.

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