It started with something innocuous. Within a very short period of around a week all the mobile operators in Pakistan announced they would charge 10 Paise for balance inquiries. The Competition Commission of Pakistan naturally initiated an inquiry. The mobile operators said there was no price fixing and that this move was intended to reduce the overuse of this service.
But then someone turned up with copies of emails showing the existence of a CEO Forum and details on discussions of prices, not only for balance inquiries, but for other services as well. Having completed the preliminary inquiry the CCP has now issued formal show cause notices.
Wake up call to the region’s mobile operators. Competition is intense, we agree. But do not violate the law. Even if not all South and SE Asian countries have general competition law and agencies in place, many operator licenses include prohibitions against price fixing. What Pakistan is doing now, could well happen in other countries too.