Pakistan Telecommunication Company privatisation bound to meet disaster: Internet Service Providers Association -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pakistan Telecommunication Company privatisation bound to meet disaster: Internet Service Providers Association

KARACHI- Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is determined to protect the interests of PTCL rather than safeguarding the rights of its consumers.

This was stated by the Secretary ISPAK, V. A. Abdi, during a briefing on BSN of Net2phone and other problems of internet service providers on November 15, 2002.

He asserted that the proposed privatisation of the PTCL is bound to bring more miseries to the department (PTCL) as it is not only an over-ambitious plan but also does not provide the required momentum for the desired growth of telecommunication sector in the country, the very vehicle of information technology. The promotion of the IT sector requires more competitive, economical and service-oriented market which is only possible through the liberalisation of the telecommunication sector. Privatisation cannot be the best substitute for liberalisation and it is bound to meet the ultimate disaster, he mentioned.

He said that the acquisition of mere 12% shares of the PTCL envisages an investment of US $ 275 million, which will bring such an hefty amount here, specially in the prevailing uncertain and non-conducive investment climate of the country.

Annoyed by the PTA’s recent decision to impose ban over the Internet voice chat, he said that Internet Service Provider Association of Karachi (ISPAK) is against any web on any media that is the STM-1 or the International Private Leased Line. The contention of PTA that the PTCL has the exclusive right over basic Telephony has been defined in the Telecom Act’s Section 2 (b) as ‘”any two-way live digital or non-digital voice communication over public fixed or mobile switched network”. But as basically Internet is a connectionless network, it does not come under the definition given in Telecom Act, he added.

Abdi informed that PTA had called a joint meeting of PTCL and ISPAK on the November 1 to hear the view point of both the parties, however, in the meeting data provided by the PTCL about the fall of their international calls due to internet telephony was found inconclusive and they were asked to provide complete data before November 8 to enable PTA give its decision. But the said data was not provided by PTCL as yet and PTA did not give any decision till to date, he said. Referring to different news items published from time to time in various renowned newspapers of the country, he stated that it is evident that the PTCL revenues for international communication has significantly increased in the past two years, so the argument of revenue loss is baseless.

The Chairman ISPAK, Ansar-ul-Haq, also criticised the PTA and PTCL for their monopolistic designs on this occasion and called for liberalisation of the telecom sector for the promotion of IT sector in the country.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:11/16/2002