PTCL to cut long distance call charges -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PTCL to cut long distance call charges

KARACHI: The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd. (PTCL) has decided to further reduce long distance and international call charges in near future, Nasim S. Mirza, the Chairman of PTCL informed the business community on Monday.

Speaking at a meeting of Karachi Chamber of commerce and Industry (KCCI), he claimed that PTCL local call charges were the lowest in the world and refused to reduce the local call charges.

He said that PTCL was making profits only on foreign calls which earned a substantial amount for the company. Local call charges made no profit, he added

The Chairman said that PTCL was the only company which had reduced its long distance call charges as well foreign call charges from Pakistan to USA had been reduced from 2 dollars per minute to 1 dollar per minute and now it was planned to further reduce to 45 cents in next three years.

He said that long distances charges in India were much higher than Pakistan but did not mention local phone charges in India.

He agreed that the excise duty on telephone bills was on the higher side and added that it should not be more than 10 percent.

He said that capital investment of PTCL was around Rs 51 billion, but the company was not able to pay dividend of more than 18 percent.

The PTCL chairman said that there were only 28,000 pending demands for new telephone connections in Karachi out of which 50 percent would be provided connections by the end of June 1999.

Replying to a question, he said that 100 percent analogue system would be eliminated in the. next few years. At present PTCL was providing analogue connections on request at fixed charges of Rs 625 per month.

He admitted that PTCL’s Internet connection was slow. There is only 8000 connection facilities and the company on the recommendations of very high-ups provided over 12000 connections. The PTCL will increase Internet connection facility by 15,000 by June this year. “The company will not increase its Internet charges until our services improve,” the Chairman said.

Replying to yet another question, he said that the telephone connection charges did not include the telephone apparatus charges and added that the subscribers were free to purchase telephone sets from the market.

To a question regarding recently imposed late payment surcharge, he said “I am not happy with the bill delivery system.” However, he did not agree to eliminate late payment surcharge.

He said that PTCL was introducing a new system for corporate bill payment under which clients should just phone the bank and they would deduct the amount and adjust the same against PTCL bills.

He said that Union Bank had already agreed and negotiations with HBL, UBL etc. were under way to adopt this new system.

Responding to a question about Callers Line Identification (CLI), the chairman admitted that getting CU facility was very difficult as people in PTCL were no more different from the people working in other departments. The department had activated 28,000 CLI connections in last two to three months. In the next six months PTCL would start voice messages, he added

Replying to a question about privatisation of PTCL, the chairman said that the deadline that was determined in this connection was June 1999. However, was not sure whether this deadline could be met or not.

About Moldova calls, he said that it was a scam by certain people to be fool the public. The matter was investigated and no phone call now could be made unauthorized from a phone number as there were bearing codes.

Welcoming the guests, Abdullah Ismail, the President of KCCI said prices charged by PTCL had helped the company to be among the most profitable rate companies in Pakistan, but PTCL the should charge on a cost plus basis, rather than make excessive profits.

Source: Business Recorder

Date:3/23/1999