Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

WLL operators move to shutdown operations

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

The Daily Times reports that Etisalat aren’t the only ones disgruntled with Pakistan’s telecom sector. DVCOM along with other wireless local loop operators have moved a petition before the Lahore High Court demanding PTA return their license fees due to breach of contract.
“As per the defined regulation in the policy, at least 25-kilometre area should be provided to the WLL operators, but due to pressure from cellular operators, the PTA is not allowing this range,” said the source. He said DVCOM and other companies had challenged this strategy of the PTA and pleaded if the authority did not review its policy, the amount deposited by operators as license fee should be paid back.

Earlier this year the International 450 Association warned PTA about the repercussions of changing the terms of contract.
“The IA 450 believes that the current determination by the PTA severely limits the introduction of advanced wireless technology and is not in the long-term interest of country, by impacting the economic growth in rural areas where the objective of increasing teledensity will be restricted,” said the letter.

It said no inter-cell handovers and roaming on other networks would be allowed. The handover, which is restricted under the policy, is an event in radio network in which the control of a call in progress is transferred from one cell to another cell of one frequency to another frequency.

But the operators and international organizations fear the PTA policy may force small operators to wrap up their operations and this will hit the image of the country’s growing telecom sector.

“WLL operators restricted to offering only fixed wireless access with no mobility are at a significant competitive disadvantage due to limited availability of affordable terminals and inability to offer attractive communications solutions competitive with those offerings from current fixed and mobile operators,” said the IA 450.

Firms Plan Landmark India-Pakistan Business Deal

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

The Washington Post reports, India’s biggest software exporter plans to open a training center in Pakistan this fall, venturing across a heavily guarded border to launch the first formal joint venture between major companies from the rival nations.

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., part of India’s Tata conglomerate, seeks to team up with Pakistan-based Techlogix Inc. to offer software engineering courses for technology workers in Lahore. Tata officials say that they hope to eventually create a software development facility in Pakistan and that the training center will help ease the company into the market.

Read the rest at the website.

Utility Payment Kiosks

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

NADRA has started allowing consumers to pay their bills electronically with the aid of computerized kiosk’s. the Jang reports.

The KIOSK machines installation process would be completed by the end of August 2005. Nadra, in initial phase, is considering installing around 25-40 KIOSK machines in Karachi only.

That’s where the problem lies. They have moved the entire nation to these computerized NIC’s and have them registered to their systems, and they expect to handle a city of 15 million people with just 40 kiosk’s? And let me guess, they’re built on a pirated windows platform as well. The article proudle boasts that the machines can handle over 300 users in a 24 hour period.

No user will ever be paying their bills at 2 in the morning. I can still see the four hour queues of users trying to pay their utility bills on time. Why don’t we have an online payment system yet since everything is all computerized now?

The kicker: Will there be separate ladies kiosk’s?

Computerized salary payment introduced

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

The office of accountant-general Azad Kashmir, will be making salary payments to government employees through a computerized (direct debit) payment system, reports dawn. These employees will further recieve a pay increase starting July. Pensioners will also recieve enhanced pensions, through this system.

Electronic money transfer may not be very welcome in a financial climate like Paksitan where tax evasion, word-of-mouth credit and cash are king; where people and businesses would prefer to keep everything off the books and out of the government/public eye. Salaried employees, however, would have much to gain and nothing to lose from this.

P@SHA Job Fair 2005 - Careers in Pakistan - In Partnership with

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) has teamed up with Pakistan’s leading job site,, to organize a job fair of proportions never before seen in Pakistan. The job fair will feature company booths, exposure to high quality professionals and workshops that will give you the edge you want.

Over 500 companies have been invited. This is a once in a life time opportunity to test your career’s marketability. This fair will be advertised to more than 80,000 job seekers. Companies can find the best available talent from a huge pool of mid-level and high-level employees.

The P@SHA Job Fair 2005 is scheduled for August 16, 2005 at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore. The job fair will feature company booths, workshops, and counseling sessions. The P@SHA Job Fair 2005 will be advertised to over 80,000 professionals and executives in Pakistan.

The workshops are aimed at improving local human resource skills such as resume writing, interviewing and professional development. These workshops will provide valuable practical insights to help enhance Pakistan’s talent pool.

Please follow the link (P@SHA Job Fair - In Partnership with ) for more details.

Ed: We covered PASHA’s previous June 2005 job fair here. It was disappointing in terms of turnout due to lack of advertising, looks like this time it will be better.

Compensation demanded for internet losses

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

Dawn reports that the ISPs, Long Distance and International (LDIs) call centres are seeking compensation of $43 million for the 10 day internet outage, while PTCL claims that legally they are not obliged to pay anything at all. The LDIs which bring on average 10 million minutes of international traffic per month claimed losses of $7.35 million, ISPs claimed $7 million and the IT industry $3.6 million (although these figures don’t add up to $43 million).

The enraged also claimed that PTCL, instead of spending $10 million on satellite backup every year could have simply invested $20 million in an alternative fibre-optic cable.

Sucks to be a call centre in Pakistan.

Damage from internet outage

Monday, July 4th, 2005

A story running on NewKerala estimates some figures on the impact of the internet outage in the range of 40-60 million dollars (revised to 1.5 million dollars). There are 40 call centres with 3000-3500 people in their employ. One of the call centres claimed they had complete outage for 3 days and 10% bandwidth on the fourth day. The best bit:

The paper quoted Wahaj-us-Siraj, an IT and Telecom expert, as saying: “It has been a criminal negligence on part of the PTCL as well as the government. They knew about the likelihood of such a fault in the cable that was the sole provider for the entire country’s linkage to the outside world.”

A class action lawsuit seems to be in order here.

The current status is that the repair work has started. The repair is being performed by a Etisalat which won the PTCL bid (overbid actually by more than $1 billion, coming out ~80% on top of next highest bidder) for a 26% profit sharing stake and 58% voting rights just 9 days before the outage. Wierd coincidence. Could Etisalat have something to gain from this outage? Doesn’t a bid topping the competitor by more than 1 billion dollars seem conspicuous?

Update (5 Jul, 2005): Dawn reports that the actual repairs have not yet started. Currently the repair crew aboard Niva are still trying to localize the faults (initially localized to a 5 kilometre using sonic testing and electroding). India, Djibouti, Oman and the United Arab Emirates will be affected by the repairs and have agreed to a 2 hour downtime during repairs.

Job Security

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

I came across an interesting entry at a blog which refers to issues dealing with IP losses and job insecurity in Pakistan. The author talks about how people are quickly employed at new start-ups, they work hard, and when the time comes for a pay cheque, they are fired and their intellectual property consumed by the “saab’s” that run the business, essentially, for free. The author then leaves us with the dillemma of a) leaving the country and working elsewhere causing the country braindrain, or b) being patriotic, and staying in the country and finding menial work elsewhere.

His arguments for what is and isn’t patriotic are also worth reading.

What are the legal ramifications for the case that he mentions? Is there any avenue of escape for the hard worker who simply wants his paycheque at the end of the day?

IBM shifts 14,000 jobs to india

Friday, June 24th, 2005

The New York Times reports:

Even as it proceeds with layoffs of up to 13,000 workers in Europe and the United States, I.B.M. plans to increase its payroll in India this year by more than 14,000 workers, according to an internal company document.

…An experienced software programmer in the United States earning $75,000 a year can often be replaced by an Indian programmer who earns $15,000 or so.

Countries like India and to a lesser extent Pakistan redefine the landscape. Simply put, the workers in these countries work harder and cheaper. Many work on contracts, making them easily dispensable without any repercussions. They have lesser health costs and don’t file whimsical lawsuits.

As the software development methodologies and business processes evolve, this trend will only escalate. If and when can we expect to see a software development assembly line where individual intellectual capital has diminishing value?

Indian call centre sells customer information

Friday, June 24th, 2005

BBC reports that The Sun newspaper was able to purchase customers’ personal information from call center in India. This impacts not only on the reputation of Indian call centres but also Pakistan and adds to the risks of offshoring.

Credit card theft is already a very prominent problem which is getting increasingly harder to mitigate. As global boundaries diminish, identity theft may become a problem half way across the world; get medical treatement on someone else’s health plan and by the time the foriegn company or person gets the bill, it’ll be too late. The problem will only escelate.

Corruption is quite high in these parts of the world at the lower echelons of society. Are information workers in these regions more ethically challenged than the west?