Are Mobile Companies Using Deceptive Marketing In Pakistan?

Posted on January 17, 2008
Filed Under >Babar Bhatti, Economy & Development, Science and Technology
19 Comments
Total Views: 45276

Babar Bhatti

I have been observing a trend of aggressive marketing and advertisement by the mobile operators in Pakistan. 50 paisa, 3 paisa, 1 paisa. Trying to one-up other competitors, the advertisements emphasise the lowest possible rate to grab attention.

In reality the low rates being advertised come with many conditions. To figure it out one has to read the fine print carefully. I think this is unfair to the consumers and we need to criticize this trend which some may characterize as deceptive marketing. Have a look at these sample advertisements given with this post. Click on the photos for their enlarged image and good luck with the fine print.

Over the years mobile service packages have become difficult to understand. It used to be pre-pay & postpay and in-network & out-of-network. Now there is the option of lower price for pre-defined numbers (usually in-network) such as family and friends. Then there is the billing duration which used to be 1 minute in good old days. Not anymore. The rates advertised are usually based on lowest billing duration (say 30 seconds) and may only be valid during certain times (e.g. Paktel’s Power Hours are 7 pm – 10 pm). The billing duration for the same package can vary for in-network and out of network calls!

Given all of the complexity, it is difficult for a common person to easily understand and compare these plans. I mean who has time to analyze all of this (except your truly)? My guess is that most of the time people get upset but carry on with their busy lives. Wouldn’t it be fair if all the operators advertisements included the rate for 1 minute call clearly? How about being more up-front and making the fine print a bit less fine?

I think this problem is common to all operators, therefore all of them should share the responsibility to create a baseline standard. Better to fix this now before the regulator (PTA) is asked to step in.

See earlier ATP Post on ‘Dangerous Advertising’.

19 responses to “Are Mobile Companies Using Deceptive Marketing In Pakistan?”

  1. nice information
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  2. heloz i want to get some ads for my website.

  3. Qaiser Janjua says:

    Well, what is happening in the telecom sector is a classic example of when the POD are converted into POP and low value-low involvements products become commodities. Price wars begin and customers get ever bewildering packages where they fail to distinguish two products based on percevied quality.

    On the FCB grid, the advertising model becomes do-learn-feel i.e not much thinking and not much emotional element and therefore the ads are upbeat and fun types trying to say that ‘we are also here’!

    Well, companies cannot fight too long on lower prices and that means some will have to go – may be through a leveraged buy-out. The question is who’s turn is it go?

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