By By Faryal Najeeb
KARACHI: Telecommunication companies in Pakistan made billions during the three days of Eid-ul-Fitr while choked service lines caused trouble to people with their calls and SMS, leading to deduction in balances without satisfactory communications.
As Muslims in the country wished each other through phone calls and SMS for the arrival of the month of Shawwal, many around the nation complained that they faced troubles such as repeated disconnection of phone calls, disruption in line or failure to send messages successfully.
The subscribers of various local cellular service providers and landline packages said that they had their balances deducted from their phones despite failing to make a connection with the required destination. The worst hit ones were those who tried to make international calls and had their balances subtracted without succeeding and those who had sent bulk messages and failed to receive the delivered report to even one sent message.
Shahzad Anwer, a subscriber of Warid, said that he does not subscribe to any free SMS package and had loaded a Rs200 card just to send messages. However, he was shocked to find out that none of his friends had received a message from him and he had lost all his balance.
Aliya Matloob, another subscriber of Mobilink said that she had tried calling her parents who live in Dubai to wish them but faced repeated disconnections which made her lose several hundred rupees.
Similarly, Nadeem Akhtar, who arrived in Karachi from the UK, faced trouble in contacting his brothers on the first day of Eid when he waited at the airport for them to receive him and could not get through. He also had his balance deducted from his account.
On the other hand, Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) made millions of rupees by fleecing subscribers off their money during the three-day Eid-ul-Fitr holiday as they stopped their facility of free phone calls from September 30, and failed to inform their subscribers.
This resulted in subscribers making several calls during the stipulated ‘free call’ time between 11pm to 6am, unaware that the facility had been withdrawn, which is likely to lead towards higher telephone bills for the current month.
Upon contacting PTCL, the company spokesman Ali Kader Gilani informed The News that PTCL had informed the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority of their reversal of the facility through a written notification and also sent out advertisements to various leading newspapers of the country.
He added that a release had also been issued in this regard which clearly stated that the free local call promotion was being discontinued to be replaced with another alternative package. He stressed that PTCL had not cheated its subscribers and had in fact introduced a new weekend package which would come into effect on October 5, and would be offering them further improved and reduced rates.