THE PAKISTAN Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has recently ordered all local cellular phone companies to immediately shut all night call packages and chat room services citing these services are not suitable for social norms and considered immoral in our Islamic society. As far as the argument of the telecom watchdog is concerned, it looks very sane and just as majority of the youth is witnessed engaged in talking with their friends and other cross-sex persons on cell phones the whole night. This practice is increasingly giving strength to the immoral and anti-social attitudes. Though the cellular phone companies have jointly submitted a writ petition in the court pleading that there is no provision in the telecom laws that regulates contents on telephony services and a court notice has been served on PTA for explanation, yet the negative effects of these night call packages are unjustified. The companies argue that they have offered many packages to their customers, which could not be abandoned as many of them are useful to customers as against the cited reasons of morality concerns. The argument that the night call packages are lucrative for the companies as they have managed to keep busy their, otherwise idle network, from midnight to 7am, carries some weight. Similarly, these packages do generate quantum revenue as it is the best avenue for earning revenues in the cut-throat competitive cellular phone market, hence, any ban on the night call packages will hurt the earnings of cellular phone companies. During the past couple of years, the liberalisation and cutting-through competition in the cellular mobile telephony market had encouraged the operators to introduce various packages for consumers to provide them with better quality of services at affordable prices. However, it has been noticed with great concern that certain unholy market practices or packages against the norms of social structure and moral values of the society are being introduced by all mobile phone operators. While on the other hand, the argument of the cellular phone companies that there is no such law in the country that imposes censorship on the conversation of two individuals or callers is something that one cannot let it go unnoticed. Even there exists no law in any state prohibits two individuals from engaging in debate or involving in talks on the subject of their choice. The countrys telecom sector since the last about two years has been receiving very little foreign investments which is discouraging the progress on many development projects. The shutting of night call packages would further down the revenue graph of these service providers. Even then the night call packages are not good, but the telecom watchdog needs to explore more other vistas to ensure sustainable growth of the telecom sector.

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