By Muhammad Luqman
The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has issued a Show Cause Notice to Telenor Pakistan for deceptively marketing the price and geographical availability of its 4G services.
ZONG Pakistan sent a formal complaint against Telenor to the CCP saying that its 4G marketing campaign was wrongly claiming that “Telenor 4G services absolutely free” and that “4G services available across Pakistan.” Zong said that Telenor was not only misleading consumers but also harming the business interest of its competitors.
CCP’s enquiry found that against the claim of providing “Telenor 4G services absolutely free”, Telenor was only offering the first 100 MBs of data free of cost. Customers paid for any additional usage after that limit.
As for Telenor’s claim of “Nationwide Availability/Across Pakistan,” the enquiry report said that this was giving a general impression, albeit wrongly, that 4G services were available across Pakistan. Moreover, the list of seven cities given in the disclaimer, i.e., “Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan, Faisalabad,” where 4G services were available was also misleading as 4G service was only available at select points in these cities.
The enquiry report concluded that the Telenor’s marketing campaign for the above products and services was deceptive and prima facie violated Section 10 of the Competition Act. Furthermore, the illegible disclaimers at the end of advertisements were insufficient and could hardly clarify the above-stated claim to consumers.
A Show Cause Notice has been served on Telenor Pakistan as recommended in the enquiry report.
CCP is mandated under the Competition Act to ensure free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity, to enhance economic efficiency and to protect consumers from anti-competitive practices including deceptive marketing practices.