Pakistan’s Telecom Industry: Is the Honeymoon Over?

Posted on May 9, 2008
Filed Under >Babar Bhatti, Economy & Development, Science and Technology
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Babar Bhatti

The telecom honeymoon in Pakistan which lasted about 5 years (2002-2007) allowed Pakistani consumers to leapfrog over older landline based infrastructure and get cheap and quick access to modern telecommunication technology. The investors, telecom businesses and Pakistani treasury – all made good money and it was a win-win situation. It seems that the golden period for Pakistan telecom is over. The spike in teledensity and corresponding load on the new infrastructure is causing a number of service issues. To add fuel to fire the telecom rates for calls to Pakistan and within Pakistan have started rising, causing a lot of concerns. Consider the following points from the last few months:

Deceptive advertisements by Mobile Companies
Rise in local call charges by PTCL
Calls to Pakistan made more expensive

PTCL forces Pakistan package on its customers
Customer service calls are not free any more
Telecom consumer protection laws still in draft
Other emerging cosumer gripes

Some people hold the view that given the tremendous progress made, complaining about telecom situation in Pakistan is not justified. Yes, there have been great advances made but if we do not fix the structural issues early on, we will lose much of that progress. Left unchecked we may even regress to a point where there’s plenty of competition but consumers end up without the services they deserve at a fair price. Broadband is an appropriate example. Pakistani public has been tormented with poor service and caps on the usage.

I believe that with the right regulatory measures, consumer protection laws and a code of ethics we can keep the telecom sector on the right track.

15 responses to “Pakistan’s Telecom Industry: Is the Honeymoon Over?”

  1. Arif Hussain Nomani says:

    I must say that the article was written by a myopic writer with little or no hindsight of the telecom industry. The last five years were of course the honey moon period for the PTA and the consumer that saw the rates plummet due to intense competituion within the five operators.
    However it was by no means the honeymoon for the parent companies because the massive investments in the infrastructures(Building/Fixtures), Networks across a geographically huge country, Human Resource acquistion in a talent scarce market, huge marketing budget costs & of course the license fees to PTA.

    I m sure that since now all the initial investments in to the infrastructure has been done and the massive CAPEX expenditure is out of the way the telecom companies honeymoon period will start now.

  2. Riaz Haq says:

    I hope that the wireless carriers will now work on finding ways to offer more services, particularly data and location services, to augment their ARPU. For example, new data services services could improve the Internet penetration in Pakistan using the most ubiquitous device, the cell phone.
    Pakistan could lead the way to mobile Internet. Farmers could benefit by accessing market prices and weather reports via SMS. Instead of just signing up more voice users, the carriers need to think more creatively by offering more, better service to improve their top and bottom lines. There are myriad ways to keep the telecom/information revolution going in Pakistan. We have only just begun.

  3. Sabir says:

    growth through new users is reaching its limits now it will ne more growth through new services and revenue centers.

  4. Sabir says:

    Next step will be that companies will merge and consolidate.

  5. Tariq Sayeed Khan says:

    Very surprising that a same headline was used in AURORA magazine’s Nov-Dec 2007 issue, to describe the Television industry. Althoiugh a very common line I am sure, but nonetheless the writer could have shown some originality instead of coping other people’s work.

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