Govt Bigwig’s Son Backing Telecom Cartel

Son of a top person in government is allegedly hindering the way of multiple companies for deploying undersea cable, just to maintain the monopoly of existing operators, reported ‘The Nation’ today.

Nation, in its report alleged that existing three undersea fiber optic cable operators have joined hands with the said person to block the road for any upcoming operators.

Following is the excerpt of report produced by ‘The Nation’

Son of a top government functionary is reportedly backing the powerful telecommunication cartel that has the ownership of existing undersea fibre optic cables in Pakistan, TheNation has reliably learnt.

The aforesaid individual has reportedly joined hands with telecommunication giants to help them maintain their monopoly in order to block the way of other telecommunication companies from getting the optical fibre cables (OFCs) deployed undersea within the sea jurisdiction of Pakistan.

Presently, there are three undersea OFCs installed through submarines in Pakistan. The entire internet data trafficking to and from the country is carried out through these three cables, which belong to semi-private and private sectors. Of these OFCs, the two are part of the global inter-continental fibre optic network known as SEA-ME-WE (South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe), and these cables are called SEA-ME-WE III and SEA-ME-IV undersea cables respectively. The Government had issued a separate licence for the installation of each undersea OFC.

Sources in the telecom sector are of the view that the existing three OFCs do not fully cater for the growing demands of internet usage in Pakistan and there should be at least five OFCs installed undersea.

The issuance of more licences for the deployment of undersea OFCs would encourage competition that would reduce the bandwidth tariffs eventually leading to the abolishing of monopoly of the few. “In telecom sector, every penny makes quite a difference. If new undersea optical fibre cables are installed and more telecom companies step in, it would reduce the tariff rates manifolds that would certainly facilitate everyone,” sources mentioned.

The need for the deployment of more undersea OFCs in Pakistan was felt for the first time in 2005 when a ship-troller had damaged an undersea OFC resulting in the partial suspension of the internet services across the country. The then government had decided to install more OFCs considering rendency factor.

The deliberations between the telecommunication companies and the Government for the issuance of fourth undersea OFC licence have been underway lately but the alleged support of the aforementioned top government guru’s son for the telecommunication cartel has landed the matter in abeyance.

When contacted, an official concerned of Ministry of Information Technology, requesting anonymity, argued that the prevailing scenario pertaining to undersea OFCs in Pakistan did not portray a monopolistic picture.

“I don’t think there’s any monopoly. There are three companies, including private sector, which own the OFCs in Pakistan,” he said. The official refused to comment on the involvement of government functionary’s son in this matter.

He expressed ignorance about the reported deliberations that had lately taken place between the Government and telecom companies for the issuance of fourth licence for deployment of undersea OFCs.

  • Abdullah

    Both are equally guilty, the operator & the son of government person. the court should take a notice of it & cancel the license or penalize for this. Bribe is prohibited in all religions

  • Nabeel | Create Your First Website

    Great report uncovered by The Nation.

    We need to stop this monopoly. We badly need more competition.

    “When contacted, an official concerned of Ministry of Information Technology, requesting anonymity, argued that the prevailing scenario pertaining to undersea OFCs in Pakistan did not portray a monopolistic picture.

    “I don’t think there’s any monopoly. There are three companies, including private sector, which own the OFCs in Pakistan,” he said. ”

    Yeah right! Just look at the state of PTCL customers and what happened during the strike. These government officials are only busy in minting and making money (e.g. the government functionary’s son). The official of Ministry of Information Technology is denying the fact and also we have the worst corrupt officials that are in their respective offices in Pakistan.

    • It’s not a ‘monopoly,’ it’s a ‘cartel.’

  • Waqas Tariq

    Recalling memories of pre-Musharaf times…. these guys and this govt will take us back to the stone age!

  • Billabadmash

    Man its bad if it is true but what i see every time i see a report like this i feel like black mailing bcoz if you some who break this story have the evidence why not to go and report it to judiciary which is more than active now a days and hell lot of lawyer which are more than happy to go against govt and come shine on TV :) so i would love to see it followed but they are just the news posted just to make some KA BOOM in peoples mind so wasted news paper and totally FAZOOL govt with stupid news programs i wish it never happened to my beloved country.

  • F

    There are only two operators of Submarine cables in Pakistan 1. PTCL 2. Mobilink
    PTCL has its partnership in SMW-3, SMW-4, FLAG and IMEWEA*(*under activation). While Mobilink operates only a small portion of bandwidth through TWA (Transworld Associates).
    Therefore in general PTCL has the monopoly as it controls more than 95% of this business in Pakistan. I don’t believe PTCL is responsible for any of such activity claimed in the article.

  • Raheel

    This is retarded , they are stopping the growth of internet in pakistan again . Given that if we get 5 or more lines , hence less rates and more competition and better bandwidth.

    this is just killing the potential growth

  • Ashhar

    let us wait for ship-troller, who destroy these three OFC. Then we will think about 2 more OFC.
    Who cares about people ?
    we are fighting about the speed of 1MBPS ?
    World is tthinking what is beyond 1GBPS :(

  • Munna Pakistani

    I am disgusted at the level of information the reporter has about the licensing regime.

    All LDIs can invest and become part of the international cable consortium. It’s a pity that none of them has the muscle to invest.

    TWA was given a license during the monopoly days. Multinet also had landing rights as TM was a consortium member in SEA-ME-WE-4.

    With I-ME-WE undersea cable system activation from november more bandwidth and redundancy will be available and price war between PTCL and TWA is already delivering the bandwidth a reducing trend in prices.

    International bandwidth is not more than 20% of the total cost for the bigger operators but the cost of laying access network as well as a BTS (for wireles broadband providers) remains much higher to make our wild dreams come true.

    It is not the price of internet that is hindering growth of broadband as much as relevance of internet for an ordinary Pakistani who does not find the socio-economic worth of internet for various reasons including lack of computer literacy.

    • Peter

      This is the most realistic post out of all on this subject. The desire to see conspiracies at ever corner is a national past time and may actually become our national sport since we have lost credibility in the world of cricket. Lets assume that the case of cartel is true – if you look at the bandwidth cost reductions over the last 5 years they have decreased significantly year on year. The fact that we have two main providers and three cables indicates that there is competition in the market – but the small number of people with the ability to use the internet restricts the business opportunity to terminate and sell more bandwidth.

      The country needs a comprehensive broad band policy which is not a statement of intent but a comprehensive plan to facilitate growth through removing barriers in the import of PC, laptops, modems and other enablers. If the govt believes it can tax the industry heavily and yet expect them to invest in further infrastructure then they are fooling themselves. But, with a merger 1% broad band penetration in the country this small community was able to close – facebook, youtube and other sites because of sensitivities to content, then the question becomes more fundamental! Can Pakistan cope with reality of global content or is limited by its microcosm of ideologies that have kept the country on the back foot of development for so many years.

    • Ashhar

      You are 2 times right right and 2 times wrong wrong.

      Wrong= Why licensing fee is HIGH ? It should not beeeee…
      Wrong= Price is the major hurdle . Because
      if price is too high … lateracy will no longer useful
      if price is to low… latercy will automaticaly come because we the pakistani are learning animal. We just need direction

      • Munna Pakistani

        Dear Ashhar,

        There are about 14 LDI operators in addition to NTC, PTCL and TWA. The cost of licensing was dirt cheap at USD 500,000.

        Out of these LDIs the stronger ones are associated/subsidiaries of cellular subs who have capitalized on their domestice voice needs and do not find the international bandwidth business too complementary for their mobile business.

        Undersea cable is a very capital intensive project and despite opportunities to invest the LDIs have not been able to muster up funds or courage because of the inherrent flaws in LDI business which is a separate and lengthy discussion.

        It is a myth that price of broadband is a hinderance in growth as tariffs. The question is more of access netowrk reach and the cost of laying network that requires volumes that are not likely to be achieved in short run.

        FTTH is a very cost prohibitive proposition and Wimax suffers from frequency/CPE/infrastucture limitations. DSL becomes a cheaper option but PTCL’s network is old and requires huge investments in network upgradation and re-engineering.

        The subject as you may have realised is quite complicated and the journalist has shown a total lack of understanding while sensationalising a story for his naive readers

  • khan

    ohh, an other issue, I must pray that God bless us all.

  • Alam

    Hey Aamir,

    We should look into this seriously. If this is true. I would appreciate if you could find some more details on this.

    We need more bandwidth to open opportunities for the data center services in Pakistan.

  • StormPK

    As Peter right pointed out our hunger for conspiracies are blinding us in to believing every stupid rumor which turns in to news.

    There are three Submarine cables landing in Paksitan.

    1. SMW3 (owned by 84 countries)
    2. SMW4 (owned by 14 countries)
    3. TW1 (Privately owned by an OT of Egypt company)
    If you want to count obsolete cables there is also:
    4. SMC Submarine Copper cable

    SMW3 and SMW4 are both consortiium cables and operated by PTCL as consortium member and landing partner.

    just for the records up until TW1 cable was launched and started operations. PTCL was selling a155mb circuit for $120,000 this reduced by half when TW1 was launched and today thanks to tw1 the price of same 155Mb circuit is less than 30% of where it used to be. Basically TW1 broke the PTCL monopoly which was keeping the internet prices sky high.

    Also for the rumor mill’s consumption note that the 4th cable IMeWe originally planned for 2009, is set to launch soon adding more competition. As usual our press and news media who know nothing about telcoms have got thier foot in thier mouths and creating odd stories about “cartels” and “influential sons”. Some one should educate them on th edifferences between thier TV Antenna wires and Submarine cables! which take years to plan and deploy at 100s of millions of dollars of cost.

    i will request the owner of this site to also please validate these news items and thier sources before publishing for the sake of thier own repute.

    • nationalist

      80% of net user in Pakistan browse only porn sites. We are educating our people in what? in porn. i bet if porn sites are blocked the net user will become half or may be less. As a muslim we must also keep eye on dark sides of services.
      2nd if monopoly remains then in this case the money of pakistan people will go to GoP account not to any foreign company.
      we must be some what nationalist.The multinational companies earn money and when they earn they pack their business

  • Kathy

    These Arabs have destroyed PTCL after almost destroying Pakistan. The Pakistani corrupt officials prefer to deal with Arabs becasue Arabs give them bribe and zakat money. The country of Pakistan was very peaceful, with great institutions and a progressing society. Then Arab Jehadis came in droves in 1970/80/90. They brought petro-dollars and exploited the simple and hospitable people of Pakistan. They very cleverly used the tribal area’s poverty and lack of National laws to settle and brain wash simple and non-educated population. Today the whole country is reaping the results and suffering and people are dying. Now you find all Jehadi and crinimal Arabs in Pakistan – because they can not do thier things in their own countries. The Arabs have moved into cities, businesses, mosques, mohallas like a cancer. The only way to save Pakistan and save PTCL and many other places is to show these Arabs back to their countries.

    What has been done to PTCL, could never have been allowed in India. That nation and their Press are alive. In case of Pakistan, no one cares about the nation or the country. When it comes to PTCL fraud, including millions of dollars deposited in the bank account of then Minister of IT oWais Leghari, even the Supreme Court chasses to not act. The whole media has been silenced by Arab money. Look at the fact that only few people feel the pain and write in the ProPakistani. No one will come from havens to save Pakistan or PTCL, unless people and Press of Pakistan develop some “Ghaerat” and show that not by words but by real actions. Only they will have to act to save their country and their companies – no one will come from heavens.


    Walid Irshaid/PTCL President from ARAB Buddooss himself is a big cheater and Fraudi and having the services of Fraudis in PTCL like Mazhar, Nasrullah,Nehmatullah type 2 number staff. Syed Mukhtar another Fraudi who used to be EVP in PTCL and now in TWA is providing honey and other bribes to Walid Irshaid and Pakistani Fraudis in PTCL and in exchange getting bandwidth via SMW3/SMW4 on very very cheap rates. The staff who were hurdles in the Frauds of Syed Mukhtar and Walid Irshaid have been removed from PTCL- rather whole Intl’Comm Wing in PTCL has been abolished and instead more friendly staff have been posted in PTCL to assist Syed Mukhtar- a CHEATER & FRAUDI in TWA to get cheap BW rates from PTCL. TWA cable is point to point cable between Karachi & Fujairah(UAE) and has no significance in presence of SMW3/SMW4 consortium cable systems. These ARAB Buddooss shall run away once PTCL will be bankrupt- as looting the wealth of other is native profession of these ARAB Buddoss and Pakistan is fertile land for them.

    • nationalist

      yes you r right.
      PTCL top managment are only doing their jobs and they never think about PTCL. i think if they get chance in another company they will resign from pTCl

  • MISA

    This is true, these arabs are destroying PTCL, our national asset.I totaly agree that these will run away once PTCL becomes bankrupt. Actually these arabs were never interested in PTCL but they are interested in real estate.
    They are getting 3.5% in gross revenue. Could any one guess its value?. they are earning from PTCL in the name of Technical fee. imagine these arabs who know nothing are giving Ptcl technical support.

  • Shehryar Siddique


    nice work Saleh. Can i have your personal email address, need to have a word.


  • Shehryar Siddique

    email me at [email protected]