Limited Time Offers by Cell Phone Companies

Posted on March 14, 2010
Filed Under >Babar Bhatti, Economy & Development, Science and Technology
Total Views: 37698

Arsalan Mir and Babar Bhatti

Every other day we hear about special offers from cellular operators introducing new packages and rates. Majority of these are limited time offers and it gets very hard to find out if a packages announced are still effective or not.

Consumers have time and again faced instances where the offers are taken back without proper and clear notification and consequently they have been hit with higher charges. Such actions deliberate or non-deliberate are violations of the consumer rights.

We conducted an open poll for consumers opinion on the limited time offers by telecom companies. An overwhelming majority of 92% responded with dissatisfaction over how companies handle these offers.


A word of advice to the mobile network operators is to pay heed to this and come up with a simple, easy to understand way to manage offers. We need a solution through which consumers feel comfortable trying out new offers without the worry of getting hit by hidden rates or unexpected rates once the offer expires. Any service which automatically jumps to a higher rate makes consumers uncomfortable.

They can also earn loyal customers by sending proper notifications of offer closure to all customer at least before a week. The notification may be in the form of SMS or recorded call notifying the last date of the offer. Doing such will increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

On the other hand the authority, PTA, has also responded well at this and have proposed changes to Consumer Protection Regulations 2009 to include service withdrawal. The announcement is shown below. The complete draft document can be found on PTA website.

Operators may withdraw the provision of any Service, limited time offer packages for value added services from Consumers, provided that such withdrawal is approved by the Authority, if required and thirty (30) days prior notice is given to Consumers:

Provided that the Operators shall inform Consumers through any of the following means:
(i) Short messaging service;
(ii) Website; and
(iii) Print media.

Kudos to PTA for taking this step. We hope this this draft will be adapted to the Consumer Protection Regulations at the earliest.

13 responses to “Limited Time Offers by Cell Phone Companies”

  1. Arsalan Mir says:

    Right, Telenor’s CEO too have recently urged for consolidation in market. Lets wait and watch.

  2. Andrew says:

    I think the real story here is that we will be seeing consolidation in the market soon and all these things are signs of that.

  3. Arsalan Mir says:

    @Asad: your observation about difficulties in retaining and expanding are right and yes again landing into aggressive marketing will lead no where.

    @Imtiaz: PTA can always be complained of such instances.

  4. ASAD says:

    Pakistani telecoms are facing some very serious problems, most importantly of retaining and expanding markets. That is leading them to these tactics and invariably I think they will get into deeper trouble with aggressive marketing.

  5. HaroON says:

    Everything in Pakistan these days is a “limited time offer”

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