Govt says it can’t take action against dishonest telecoms

The government is helpless against telecommunication operators that impose surcharges on customers, as shutting them down even for just an hour could hamper communications in the country, a senior transport official said on Monday.

U Tha Oo, deputy minister of Transport and Communications, admitted that although mobile companies are charging users more than they should, no charges have been filed against them.

“We are not in a position to sue telecommunications service providers for wrongdoing,” he told the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Assembly of the Union) on Monday.

The deputy minister was responding to a query by U Hla Moe, MP for Aung Myay Tharzan, Mandalay Region, who said that without their knowledge, mobile phone users are being subjected to unreasonable charges or have been charged for more time than they use.

“Everybody in Myanmar is suffering. Charging more without letting customers know is theft. It is also abuse,” he said.

U Tha Oo said that there are laws and sanctions that can be slapped on the erring telecos.

According to the law, wrongful acts by operators can be punished with warnings, temporary suspension or revocation of licences.

However, the latter two are impossible to enforce, he said.

“We can’t shut them down even for one hour or 10 minutes. If we do, all users will be affected. All communications will be disconnected,” he said.

The ministry will study whether it is possible to sue these operators under section 66(c) of the Telecommunications Law, he said.

The four major telecommunications operators in the country have nearly 60 million mobile phone subscribers, U Tha Oo said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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