Is it a coincidence that Telenor launched Mobile Banking Services (Easypaisa) just a day after Zong announced the very same services (M-Commerce) across the country?
There are some similarities and dissimilarities at the same time. Telenor’s announcement was followed by heavy print and TV campaign telling people how it works whereas Zong launched it quietly and made use of Telenor’s money to popularize theirs and instead continued with their regular campaign of Z20.
Telenor got upset on this early surprise move from Zong but credit goes to Telenor itself which started this campaign much earlier when they started asking people to guess what EP (EasyPaisa) was and gave them a chance to win iPod. I think the iPod cost more than they thought and Zong answered the question before time and won the gadget.
To compensate the loss and hide their inefficiency they haphazardly created a comparison with Zong’s services to satisfy the folks. We talked to Zong noted their version and put it side by side for our readers to better guess who says what? What Telenor did is shown below in first three columns and what Zong actually gives is mentioned in the last column.
From the comparison I can see that gradually Telenor is learning the way how to live in Pakistan. Instead of going through the facts, the PR knitted few things to defame their rivals, despite of the fact that Telenor takes Zong as a real small player in most of the comparison. According to their claim Zong’s service is limited to some 20 Customer Services Centers whereas Zong says; it is available on 24 CSC, 200+ franchises.
Telenor tried to misinform here as well that Zong is limited to collect the bills of limited utility service providers/partners, whereas Zong claims something different as mentioned in the table.
Making another claim Telenor says, Zong is not properly authorized to offer such services. Perhaps Telenor never knew that Innov8 is the company which is authorized by the State Bank of Pakistan and it already provides such services to Mobilink (Gene). So a lesser homework also reveals the real picture here as well.
While I am writing this Para, I can remember, apart from Mobilink when it started offering Gene services in past, Telenor was the second company to violate the law when it started Mobile TV without any permission from the authority which was also an illegal affair and later Telenor had to take care of it. Nevertheless, Mobile TV was a little premature product to launch and it never gained a targeted response.
Telenor further says in the self created comparison “There is no helpline available by Zong” but defendant tells it is not true.
One major thing which Telenor did not highlight in its campaign is the hidden charges termed as “services charges” which are minimum Rs. 10 and maximum Rs. 25 depending upon the billing amount that means consumer will have to pay more than the billing amount.
It is against the rules framed by Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) and the PTA as well. Zong and Ufone have already been warned by the commission for deceiving public through their ads for which both the companies submitted their undertaking.
According to Section 10 of the CCP Ordinance which deals with the deceptive marketing practices, regarding the definition and distinction between ‘false’ and ‘misleading’ information, it is held that, ‘false information’ can be said to include: oral or written statements or representations that are; (a) contrary to truth or fact and not in accordance with the reality or actuality; (b) usually implies either conscious wrong or culpable negligence, (c) has a stricter and stronger connotation, and (d) is not readily open to interpretation. Whereas ‘misleading information’ may essentially include oral or written statements or representations that are; (a) capable of giving wrong impression or idea, (b) likely to lead into error of conduct, thought, or judgment, (c) tends to misinform or misguide owing to vagueness or any omission, (d) may or may not be deliberate or conscious and (e) in contrast to false information, it has less onerous connotation and is somewhat open to interpretation as the circumstances and conduct of a party may be treated as relevant to a certain extent.
At this stage I do not have any clue as to how CCP and PTA will talk to Telenor on this thing but if they (CCP) go by policy then Telenor will have to rectify it before heading further.
Leaving everything aside, it is a revolutionary service and a sigh of relief for those who had to waste precious time standing in queues outside the banks for the sack of paying basic utility bills. Well, the service is not something very new as Mobilink is already doing this for quite some time but only Mobilink customers were able to enjoy it. Whereas now, anyone can go to nearby shop, authorized by Telenor or Zong and pay his/her utility bills.
Other than customer’s point of view, I think it was a much awaited service for operators as well. At least it will open new ways of revenue generation to some limited extent and future enhancements in the services can further multiply the results.
In the launching ceremony, CEO Telenor Jon Eddy Abdullah told that Telenor will soon introduce the electronic way of doing Mobile Commerce through the buttons of your mobile phones and it will be a breakthrough service with reference to Foreign Remittance