Archive for the ‘Telecom’ Category

40pc import duty on telecom equipment goes

Thursday, February 2nd, 2006

Daily Times reports that the Central Board of Revenue has widthdrawn the 40 percent import duty imposed on telecom equipment.

In its latest Customs General Order 22/2006, the CBR had announced the removal of two telecom equipment from the list of other products that could be imported without paying a penny as duty, industry sources said.

Before this order only imports from China were considered duty free by CBR. Here are some interesting sections from the article that point to why only Chinese imports might have been allowed duty-free imports previously:

“It appeared that the government privileged the Chinese products on grounds that some of the Chinese companies are manufacturing telecom components locally and duty-free import would not hurt the local industry’s business scope.”

“Before the fresh order, only China’s ZTE remained the main beneficiary of the duty concession, which has been operating as vendor for the PTCL (Pakistan Telecommunication Company) for the past two years and fulfilling its almost all telecom equipment supply orders.”

“The PTCL has hired a Chinese firm to computerise its billing and customer care operations at a cost of Rs 1.8 billion almost a year ago,” said the source. “Under that contract, ZTE will be responsible to automate the whole system within 18 months and complete the task in accordance with international telecom standards.”

PTCL to close telegraph system

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

MULTAN: The Pakistan Telecommunication Company’s General Managers Conference held in Lahore on November 21 and 22 recommended to close centuries old telegraph system, which is running in loss. Similarly, telex and trunk calls, which are also running in loss, will be closed, sources said.

Being a member of the International Telegraph Union (ITU), Pakistan cannot close telegram service without the ITU’s permission. PTCL will have to inform the armed forces, courts, banks, national and international institutions before closing telegram service because these agencies still use the system for calling soldiers or approval/ rejection of clemency appeals, court orders etc.

The conference recommended closing telegram services, instead of improving and modernising the system to meet the requirements of the 21st century. Telegrams to rural areas or small towns are being delivered by post that takes three to four days and several Teleprinter circuits had been closed permanently in Sialkot, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Faisalabad, Rahimyar Khan, Sahiwal, Okara, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Larkana, Bunnu, Kohat, Sargodha, Mianwali, Attock, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Chakwal, Mandi Bahauddin, Nawab Shah, Bhakkar, Dera Ismail Khan, Loara Lai, Kalat and others. staff report

Edited to add by Mod: No source given by anon poster for this article

Illegal international call termination points

Monday, November 28th, 2005

Ever noticed a local mobile number show up on your caller id when recieving calls from abroad? If that happens the call is probably being routed through an illegal call termination point within Pakistan. The PTA and FIA raided a house in Lahore’s DHA district that had equipment used to terminate international calls. They arrested one person and registering a case against two others.

The raiding team found an operational illegal gateway exchange bypassing legal gateways, at the said premises. It included VoIP gateways, GSM gateways, WLL phones, SIMs of mobile operators and other related equipment. The setup was capable of terminating illegal traffic from abroad by bypassing PTCL gateways and distributing it using WLL and mobile numbers.

Undersea cable lands at Karachi

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

After becoming the laughing stock of the world (along with economic losses going into Millions of dollars) when losing internet connectivity to the entire country and not having a backup line, we finally recieve a new undersea optic fibre cable. Hopefully this solves the peoples problems of bandwidth along with affordability.

The Jang reports,

Transworld Associates (TWA), Pakistan’s first private undersea optic fibre cable operator, announced today that its undersea optic fibre cable system, TWA-1, has landed at its cable landing station in Karachi.

With direct cable landings in Karachi , Fujairah (UAE) and Al Seeb (Oman), the TWA-1 undersea optic fibre network would offer end-to-end, direct broadband, high-speed connectivity to Pakistan’s growing number of telecom operators, internet service providers, and corporate customers, a press release said.

Speaking on the occasion, Kamran Malik, Chief Operating Officer TWA, said, “This is a proud moment for Pakistan considering that we are the first Pakistani-owned submarine cable system.”

Read the rest of the article at Jang.

Cellphone subscriber base crosses 18 million mark

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

Around May the alleged figure was 10.5 million cellphone subscribers which was possibly misleading. 6 Months later, the number of subscribers is now claimed to stand at 18 million. That is phenomenal growth (or imaginative accounting). If the trend continues, land lines will soon be outmoded–a welcome change. It can’t be good news for PTCL.

PTCL-Etisalat deal collapses

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

UAE’s Etisalat has failed to make the final payment for the takeover bid of PTCL. The deadline had been extended 2 months from August to October. Etisalat’s bid was $1.96 per share while it’s nearest competitor China Mobile bid $1.066 per share–almost half. Surely Etisalat management must have felt like a bunch of idiots and their knee-jerk response was to demand various concessions (deferred payments, tax exemptions, permission to trade stock in the UAE market) to make up for their grave miscalculation. What action should be taken next?

Paknet offers free DSL installation and subscription(?)

Monday, August 15th, 2005

Things are starting to heat up in the broadband space. This has to be a first: Business Recorder reports that PakNet, as of 14th Aug is offering free DSL installation on their ‘Rage’ plan — For a Rs 899/month scratch-card they are offering a 256kbps, 1-Gb/month volume capped pipe. All most all broadband companies such as Cybernet and Multinet charge as much as Rs5,000-Rs15,000 for installation and purchase of the dsl modem upfront. This offer looks quite attractive for someone who wants to get up and running without having to worry about too much inital investment.

Still no relief for ISPs and LDIs from PTC

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

Dawn reports two meetings between PTCL, Ministry of IT and industry ISPs have ended without resolution. ISPs and LDIs are demanding $43m compensation for the outages in the form of free internet bandwidth for 40 days. PTCL is only settling on 10 days.

The outage itself was much longer than 10 days. Second, a single days outage simply cannot be compensated by a single day’s worth of free bandwidth since losses from a one-day outage are more far reaching than just the lost bandwidth.

PTCL is still sticking to its guns, saying they are not under any obligation to compensate for the outage. The ISPs, however, may still be liable to their customers who deserve compensation for the outage. The ISPs claim they should recieve 4 days for every free day given to customers since the bandwidth ~25% of the operating costs (others being salaries, rental, collocation, marketing etc).

Is your ISP compensating you? Should ISPs be compensated or should this simply be considered the cost of doing business in Pakistan and taken away from their profit margins as an operating expense?

Fixed line to mobile phone charges to be reduced

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

The Daily Times reports that PTCL has announced a 25% reduction on fixed-to-mobile line tariffs from August 1st 2005. This reduces per call charges from Rs2.8 to Rs2.12 per call. PTA (the Daily Times site has this wrong) Chairman Shahzada Alam also revealed future PTCL directions: fixed to mobile charges might be further reduced by 25% next year and PTCL has been issued directives to change the existing system from per minute billing to per second billing.

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.