New telephone service to cover remote regions
PESHAWAR – The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is launching a state-of-the-art telephone service next year, a senior official told Dawn in Peshawar November 7.
The Wireless Local Loop (WLL) telephone service would be made available through 20 private companies in the country in the first quarter of the year, said Nisar Ahmad Awan, regional director of the PTA.
The facility would cover all far-flung areas, including the mountainous regions in the north, where the telephone network did not exist, the official said.
The private companies whom the PTA had given licences would start their operations in a few months, Mr Awan said.
The WLL telephone would function in a five-kilometre radius, enabling a subscriber to move about with his set like a cell phone within that boundary.
In the mountainous and other far-flung regions, the radius would extend to 25 kilometres, he added.
The price of WLL telephone set for city-dwellers was fixed at Rs3,500, while those living in far-flung areas would pay Rs3,900, he said, adding that the companies were in agreement over this issue with the authority.
With the WLL system, the tele-density of the population – ‘a yardstick for measuring growth in a country’ – would increase, he said.
“We hope that Pakistan will soon be at par in tele-density with developed countries,” he said.
The PTA official said that the telecom industry carried the potential of becoming a major contributor to the development of a country.
“Whenever markets open up to competition, phenomenal growth occurred in terms of investment, employment, productivity and a greater consumer choice. It helps in lowering prices, thus increasing affordability,” Mr Awan said.
He said that the WLL system would not only narrow rural and urban disparities in terms of access to telecommunication facilities, but would also help reduce poverty and raise the standard of living of the people.
Despite a huge investment made by the mobile and fixed line phone operators, it was expected that a further investment of about $1.5 billion would swamp the telecom sector in the next two to three years, Mr Awan said.