PTCL has quietly enabled a voice mail service on high revenue land line customers without seeking their consent. It is a clear bid to make revenue on unsuccessful (due to no answer or busy state) calls. This has widely been reported across the press and in the local telecom blogosphere. The process of disabling the answering service has also been published at various forums.
But this is all we already know. However, as we recover from the long Eid and 18th October tragedy and business gets back in full swing, the annoyance is now starting to show its real spread.
Most businesses get a telephone bill more than Rs 1,400 a month – the minimum amount arbitrarily set by PTCL to have the answering service enabled. Most of the business phone lines are often busy and have lots of customers call to these places all the time. With the ‘annoyance’ in place, each time someone calls the number, he hears a useless voice mail prompt (which, interestingly, is useless in a multi-user environment – voice mail services are always personal services) and gets charged for.
With millions of ‘engaged calls’ now turning into ‘matured calls’ (for the purpose of billing), this is proving to be a unique/ugliest idea (depending on which side of the fence you are) that plays on the muscles of PTCL’s might and the helplessness of the consumers.