Pakistan threatens booty calls with off-peak plan prohibition

Nov 22, 2012
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Pakistan threatens booty calls with off-peak plan prohibition

Cheap late night voice minutes are under threat in Pakistan, after regulators blamed low-cost tariffs for promoting "vulgarity" that are in opposition with the "values of the country." The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority demanded local carriers cease the contentious price "late night packages", the Times of India reports, after complaints around "the promotion of vulgarity" by pushing them through text message adverts.

"We have received a number of complaints from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Standing Committee of the parliament, (parliamentarians) and subscribers regarding the promotion of vulgarity through such advertisements and have therefore asked cellular mobile operators to immediately discontinue such packages and to present compliance reports," PTA chairman Farooq Awan said in a statement.

According to the PTA, carriers "unanimously admitted" that their advertising contravened unwritten guidelines in a meeting with regulatory representatives. The promotions were "not in line" with society's moral values, so the network execs supposedly agreed.

However, sources at cellphone companies speaking to the Daily Times claim that a joint petition has been submitted protesting the PTA demands, arguing that there is no official law that regulates content on telephony services. The plans - offering calls during off-peak times as cheaply as 1 Indian rupee ($0.02) per hour - are essential for low-income customers, the carriers point out, in addition to helping short up the networks' earnings by promoting use between midnight and 7am, times that would traditionally see fewer calls.

It's not the first move Pakistan regulators have made to censor mobile communications in the country. A year ago, a blocking system banning text messages containing "obscene" words was put into operation, while the government has also explored more wholesale limits on internet access.


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