The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has announced the issuance of the International Mobile Roaming Service Guidelines 2024. These guidelines are aimed at regulating the provision of International Mobile Roaming (IMR) Services by cellular mobile operators (CMOs) across Pakistan, including all four provinces, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Under the new guidelines, CMOs are required to activate IMR services only upon receiving a request from consumers through various channels such as email, SMS, mobile applications, USSD, or helpline. The activation process should be swift, with IMR services activated within four hours for domestic requests and within 24 hours for international requests, following due verification.

Upon activation, operators must provide consumers with a confirmation message containing the request number and details of applicable international tariffs and charges. Additionally, operators are mandated to furnish consumers with a list of precautions to avoid unexpected bill shocks while using IMR services.

Furthermore, the guidelines emphasize the importance of consumer choice and transparency. Consumers have the right to request immediate deactivation of IMR services, and operators must provide a dedicated deactivation webpage for this purpose. Clear and concise communication of tariffs is also mandated, with operators required to send personalized automatic messages to consumers upon entering a visited country.

To ensure cost-effectiveness for consumers, operators are instructed to latch consumers onto networks of foreign carriers with lower tariffs whenever multiple international roaming partners are available at the same destination. Moreover, consumers can inquire about IMR service tariffs through a universal toll-free USSD, and round-the-clock toll-free support is available on social media platforms for addressing consumer complaints.

For postpaid consumers, operators are obligated to communicate the minimum security deposit required for IMR service activation. Usage alerts will be issued at 50%, 80%, 90%, and 100% usage thresholds, with IMR service automatically blocked upon reaching 100% usage.

The PTA has made the guidelines available on its website and has invited feedback from the general public and experts. The consultation period will last for two weeks, allowing stakeholders to provide input on the new regulations before they come into effect.

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