Paying Telephone Bills by Phone

Posted on October 18, 2006
Filed Under >Bilal Zuberi, Economy & Development, Science and Technology
10 Comments
Total Views: 24347

Bilal Zuberi

If you are like me, you might be quite used to standing in long lines outside the Bank and the post-office to pay phone and electricity/gas bills every month. Now that I am no longer at home for most of the year, my brothers have to deal with the hassle. I have noticed over time that the lines are getting longer as more people have access to telephones, and the bank staff seems to have become less efficient and polite.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing it for yourself, trust me that standing outside in the sun for more than 2 hours in the summer heat is no joke, especially when it is just to pay a lousy phone bill. We managed by eating gola-ganda (flavored ice) or drinking gannay kaa juice (sugar-cane juice, see a related ATP post here and here).

Well, all that is expected to change now. PTCL has announced another method of bill payment. This time PTCL calling cards can be used to pay PTCL phone bills from the convenience of one’s home (or office). These cards are available in market in denominations of Rs. 300, 500, 700, 1,000 and 2,000. According to a report in the Daily Times:

For greater convenience of customers, PTCL has made arrangements for payment of three bills through their own telephone during a billing cycle.

For further information, the customers can contact PTCL calling card help line (0800 80808), which is functional round the clock.

To access this service, a customer needs to dial 1010 and then press 88# to enter UBP flow.

From the menu, the customer is asked to dial 11# to pay for the bill and other options for related services. System recorded instructions guide customer to accomplish his required tasks.

This is not the only innovation introduced by the PTCL in bill payment. It appears that electronic bill payment using ATM cards and Online banking is also available via MCB Bank and Askari Commercial Bank.

I have not used these services as yet but would like to hear if you have and what your experience was like. I routinely pay my bills in the US using online banking and it saves me a ton of time. If there are no glitches in the system, the ability to pay bills from the comfort and convenience of home would be a major step forward. I know it would make my brothers happy customers. Kudos to the administration!

10 responses to “Paying Telephone Bills by Phone”

  1. Babar Bhatti says:

    The mobile commerce wave has not hit Pakistan yet but it is on its way. This service by PTCL will make many lives easy. I hope it works well because system glitches will hurt consumer trust. Good job PTCL.

  2. Kashif says:

    I pay my phone bill through online banking system (ABN Amro)

  3. Samdani says:

    Mohtaram Janab iFaqeer sahab, as an occasional visitor to your blog I am surprised by the anger there. Why does this blog inspire succh anger in people, I wonder?

    Farrukh sahab may respond to you himself, but baqol shair:

    woh baat saaray fasanay main jis ka zikr na tha
    woh baat un ko buhat nagawar guzri hai

    I sympathize with your stomach when you say that “I am sick to my stomach of people saying that Pakistan’s urban population is a small group and somehow not worthy of paying attention to.” But did anyone actually say that our urban population is small or not worthy of attention? Where?

    You are right that only 30% of us are urban (I am). I wish the other 70% were also given as much attention as we are (I am sure you can tell us how many countries that 70% is more than. But being urban, I am with you and will not mind getting even more attention than we now get.

    On this phone bill business, unfortunately you numebrs are done all wrong. First, the total population is not the place to start anyone since my 3 year nephew really does not pay phone bills, nor do the VAST MAJORITY of Paistanis. The TOTAL number of landlines (which is what PTCL bills are for) is between 5.5 to 6 million in all. Now you can start from there and apply whatever percentages you want. You will agree that if you start the math from 6million ratehr than 150 you get very different answers.

    But, overall, I should say I agree with you and the post. Its a good step, even if not as sweeping as you suggest.

  4. iFaqeer says:

    small percentage…say, what? 5%? 10%? You have to remember that fully 30% of Pakistan is urban. And people not in the major Urban centers also have access to computers and the like, to some extent. But let’s convert the percentages to hard numbers shall we? What is the population of Pakistan? Let’s use 150 Million? (It’s officially a little lower; but let’s round up and/or be real.) Here are the numbers:

    5%: 7.5 Million People
    10%: 15 Million People
    30%: 50 Million People

    Here’s a list of countries by population:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_ population

    Our lowest figure above is more than the population of:

    Norway
    New Zealand
    Ireland
    Singapore
    the UAE
    Lebanon

    Would you say that a service whose target market is the whole population of New Zealand is not worth implementing, either from an economic point of view or in terms of being a service that helps people?

    Now let’s go down the above list. I am sick to my stomach of people saying that Pakistan’s urban population is a small group and somehow not worthy of paying attention to. I am not saying our urban folk are all there is to Pakistan; this blog is ample proof that it is not. But it is a population that dwarfs all but 37 of the 230 entities on the above list. Including countries like Argentina, South Korea, Spain, and many more. It is almost double the population of Canada!

  5. Farrukh says:

    It is a convenience but pobably for a very small percentage of the people… extremely small. Plus, do we know if they are charging a premium for this service. Given the earlier post on ATP about PTCL not being willing to pass on the price reduction to the consumers, I remain apprehensive.

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