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Pakistan bans SMS, voice chat rooms to safeguard 'moral values'

The regulator orders telcos to stop offering voice and SMS chat rooms where subscribers can chat anonymously with each other, as they go against the moral values of society.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has ordered telcos to discontinue all forms of chat rooms where customers can communicate anonymously with other subscribers over moral reasons.

The regulator issued a directive on Friday that all forms voice and SMS "chat packages" at all times throughout the day offered by local telcos must be stopped by September 2, 2013, as they are in contrast "to moral values of the society", ProPakistani reported.

However, the PTA clarified on Saturday the "chat packages" mentioned in the letter only include voice and SMS "chat rooms" offered by mobile phone operators where customers can chat anonymously with other subscribers, but the usual SMS and voice bundles will remain intact, a separate ProPakistani report noted.

The term "chat packages" had reportedly confused telecom sectors and the media, as they originally assumed all voice and SMS bundles were to be banned. Telco officials have confirmed with ProPakistani they have received verbal communication from the PTA over the issue and it is likely the regulator will issue a follow-up directive or a clarification.

Last November, the PTA also ordered mobile phone service providers to immediately discontinue service packages offering cheap calls made late at night, after receiving complaints about late-night call advertisements sent to customers, which went against the country's social norms and values.

An original directive from PTA to ban "chat packages" offered by telcos (Source: ProPakistani)


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