ISLAMABAD – The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has issued a show-cause notice to Telenor Pakistan for prima facie violating Section 10 of the Competition Act 2010 by deceptively marketing the price and geographical availability of its 4G services.
The action was taken after ZONG Pakistan sent a formal complaint against Telenor to the CCP stating that the 4G marketing campaign of Telenor was falsely claiming that “Telenor 4G services were absolutely free” and that “4G services available across Pakistan.”
In its complaint, Zong pleaded that Telenor was not only misleading consumers but also harming the business interest of its competitors.
After having received the complaint, CCP launched an inquiry and 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 and customers were charged for any additional usage after that limit.
As for Telenor’s claim of “Nationwide Availability/Across Pakistan,” the inquiry report found 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 specific points in these cities.
The inquiry report concluded that the Telenor’s marketing campaign for the above products and services was deceptive and in contradiction with 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.
Following the inquiry, a Show Cause Notice has been served on Telenor Pakistan seeking explanation in two weeks.
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.