PTCL Stuck in its Own Bout

There may be handsome number of dial-up users at the moment, but still broadband takes the lead, not in numbers maybe but for sure when it comes to influence.

Ever wondered how long have you been using broadband connection in Pakistan at cheap rates? Let me help you, not earlier than PTCL started offering the services, some four years ago.

Well there had been other companies in the market way before PTCL plunged into this war and then what? it was all about the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited.

Huge infrastructure, nationwide telephone network, exchanges available in every nook and corner, above all, the huge backup in terms of international bandwidth and financial support, what else could a company require to introduce broadband at affordable rates? PTCL utilized these resources and infact it did well.

It was four years from now when people started hearing about cheap broadband for home based users.

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With the launch of cheap broadband packages for home users, PTCL gave tough time to it’s competitors leaving them with no choice but to reduce their prices and at time they had to double their speeds. This really went into customer’s favor after all.

These bandwidth upgrades (usually doubling every 6 or 12 months) resulted in more attraction for consumers as they continued to enjoy high speed internet.

Launching with 256 Kbps as the lowest now you cannot find any broadband package by PTCL below 1 Mbps and all this is the result of constant upgrades for the past 2 or 3 years.

But what happens now? I mean have you heard you are going to get upgrades to the connection this year?  Seems like PTCL has been stuck in the middle of something, called poor infrastructure, keeping in view the ever increasing demands of the technology and industry.

Even with the launch of 6Mbps, 8Mbps and 10Mbps, PTCL still isn’t able to offer these advertised plans to all the consumers because of fiber optic cable issues, copper cables and then there is another one, distance from the exchange.

As we see the journey from 256 Kbps to 4 Mbps, PTCL worked well (those once used 256 Kbps now enjoy 4 MB), but after that PTCL seems to be reluctant enough to think about continuing the practice?

Comparing with the trends of world, where consumers are now enjoying 1.5 Gbps connections at home, our broadband industry really needs to think where it stands and what preliminary measures are required.

One may opine that it’s not just PTCL who is to blame but the other ISP’s as well who are in the list. But it was because of PTCL when other ISP’s forcefully reduced the prices as it was mandatory for them to survive in the market, and once again now it’s PTCL holding them as well to move forward – leaving customers with no more double speeds or higher bandwidths.


  • Faizan

    So your beef is that because PTCL introduced competition & because of that others ISPs had to adjust their pricing?

    I understand that on the existing copper/fibre infrastructure it will be not feasible to deploy any more upgrades but then again the general public still wants to pay less & is pretty happy with the speeds(1-4Mb).
    How many times here in the comments we have seen people wanting to pay less & get a connections that is LESS than 1 Mb.
    Same can be said why telcos dont want to invest in 3G, the mass majority just want to have low sms rates and may be some decent gprs rates & people seem to be pretty happy with both as of right now.So why invest in 3G deployment. As it doesn’t make business sense.Same goes fro ptcl.

    • admin

      I live in a good area, in a major city of Pakistan. Distance from my home to exchange is some 3.5 KM – which confines me to avail not more than 1.5 Mbps speed over copper wire.

      I am contented with my current speed, all my domestic and professional needs are fulfilled, but I am worried about my future of broadband experience… when there will be apps and features requiring higher speeds than what i am getting now.

      Even if PTCL offers 50 Mbps, which they are testing these days, it’s of no good for me.

      • #propakistanitips

        may be you should relocate next to the PTCL exchange!

        • ali

          well said….hahahhahah

      • They have released 50Mbit and 20Mbit

        Installation Cost 1 time: Rs.10,000

        20Mbit= Rs.15,000 per month
        50Mbit= Rs.20,000 per month

        their,s no demo available to see it in action.
        it would be great if you guys could get us some review about it. :)

        Oh and my first every comment on your blog :D :p

        • We are in a process to get one with 50Mbps, but no ETA at the moment, stay tuned for the updates.

          Also they are only available within 1KM radius of the exchange at the moment, that’s what we are told.

          • ali

            hahahs…that is all

        • admin

          welcome on-board, look forward to see more of insight from you

      • same here :)

    • Asad

      Except that a user only uses internet for text based services/application such as email, facebook etc.

      More than 50% users use internet as multimedia tool, pictures, videos, streaming games/movies, online data storage and downloads.

      these all applications require higher bandwidths,
      the higher the speed the better the multimedia experience + lots of time saved.

      PTCL has moved the market a lot and it is good but said part is PTCL doesnt have the capacity to change the market again. The worst part is there is still no true competitor to PTCL so you cant blame even PTCL.

      I have also used Worldcall. For me it beats ptcl out, It is the CHEAPEST broadband in PAKISTAN. Best customer support (installation 1 phone call, monthly bill collection from your doorstep, disconnection from your doorstep, never visited their office in 6 months). but its coverage is limited to few cities.

  • MaafKaro

    The problem is not in the last mile. PTCL can fix its copper if it wants to. Other ISPs can provide upto 24megabits because all of them have ADSL2plus. Problem is that Internet bandwidth from Landing station operators TW1 and PTCL is the highest in region… In China rate is below half, and even Iran wholesale bandwidth prices are 30% less thank Pakistan. In fact, Bandwidth in Pak is so expensive that Afghanistan is buying transit bandwidth from Central Asian states and not using Pakistan. govt needs to step in!

    Also, English is not my mother tongue, but please someone explain what ‘stucked’ means… “PTCL has been stucked in the middle of something, called poor infrastructure,”

    • Thanks, corrected.

      • MaafKaro

        You are welcome

  • bilal

    before ptcl launched its broadband a middle class person could not use internet because all the other internet connections which i remember were cybernet and so on were very expensive and when ptcl came with its low cost and high speed
    everyone enjoyed the fast speed of internet, ptcl also covered alot of areas these small internet providing companies did not do that; they were confined within big cities even here in bara khau
    they did not provide internet and still dont
    the only company that provides net here apart from ptcl is wi tribe which also used to be very expensive but now has reduced its costs dramtically due to low costs provided by ptcl
    another very good thing that ptcl has been doing
    is constantly upgrading the speed with very low cost. i remember 4mb speed used to cost around 10,000 rupees or something like that when it came first which reduced to 4000 and then now to only 2000 which is very low cost. ptcl broadband is giving high speed internet facility at low rates as compared to wi-tribe and other companies and hence many people prefer ptcl broadband. even in less developed areas ptcl is continuing to offer services at cheap rates.

    • Waqar

      very well said bilal.

      • Hedgefundbaby

        not very well said. one must understand the facts.
        read below.

        BB penetration could be 5x it is today and at lower rates if it wasnt for PTCL I’m sorry.

    • ali

      bu;shit…dont forget this change has vome over in the whole world…PTCL or no PTCL…their service is worse if you enter their OSS you feel you have entered a war struck area….in these times…the etisalat management is investing in their own packages not in the company infrastructure…all they are interested in property..I wonder why

  • mansoor

    ptcl offers unlimited download which most of the companies dont and if they do they charge alot of extra money for that but ptcl doesnt. ptcl broadband is definitely providing service at low rate and high speed, i think ptcl internet speed of 2 mb , 8 mb are good enough for downloading stuff. if ptcl had not come we would have not gotten such high speeds nor at low costs and such wide availibilty of net.

  • anon

    broadband of ptcl has an ability to connect anywhere via its good quality signals power..thats why i prefer ptcl dsl

    • Waqar

      lol good quality signals power? hahahaha dude ptcl uses fiber optic and coper wire what does that have to do with signals? please elaborate :/

      • bilal

        PTCL EVO is also a part of Broadband… using wireless technology…

        • ali

          ptcl evo sucks…i and lot of friends got disxonnected…..evo is a mental torture so is wifi cloud…another flopped product….

  • Omar

    Given the circumstances and the available infrastructure, I think PTCL has done a good job. I wonder why we have to be so pessimistic about everything and why don’t we appreciate others so that they may continue their efforts.
    As mentioned in the article, the broadband industry of Pakistan was there before PTCL entered the industry but it was much expensive and only a few elites of the country could afford it. Today, thanks to PTCL, the broadband packages are much affordable and this has been the primary reason for the transition from the dial-up connections to broadband. Isn’t this an achievement from the customer’s point of view? The PTCL broadband is not only available and affordable in the major cities of the country but is also available in the remote areas of the country as well. Had PTCL not entered the industry, the situation would have been much different and we might have been stuck in those annoying dial-up connections.
    As far as the further expansion of the industry is concerned, I’m sure PTCL must be investing in some new projects as well. Our job is to encourage them and let them improve on their infrastructure. For the time being, we -as customers- are quite content with what PTCL has to offer to us.

    • A for Apple

      I concur!

      • Hedgefundbaby

        I don’t agree with this.

        DSL Broadband has done well despite PTCL not because of it. Other operators were much better such as Maxcom and Micronet and offered good rates and were willing to reduce prices without affecting quality. Micronet still has the best service here in Islamabad and is competing with PTCL.

        But all these DSL operators were DRIVEN out of business by PTCL. PTCL controlled the exchanges and made it difficult and expensive for these operators to maintain DSL set up. They charges heavily for electricity, internet bandwidth – which DSL operators could not buy even from TW1.
        They also forced some operators to buy bandwidth between exchange to exchange. Then they restricted the operators from expanding their set ups – saying that they don’t have enough space for these operators. Then they restricted the operators from commissioning customers on the onu set up thus creating natural monopoly.

        In contrast, for its own setup PTCL faced no hurdles in getting unlimited colo space, low charges for power, and heavily subsidized rates for internet bandwidth and no charges for exchange to exchange bandwidth.

        All this happened while everyone just watched. Maxcom was the only smart one that sold out and now the rest such as micronet cyber linkdotnet have almost been completely driven out of business.

        If things had worked out penetration of broadband would have been 5 times what it is today. What is it, 1mn customers today? in a country of 180mn peoples? that is less than 1% Countries like in Europe have upwards of 85% penetration for bb.

        Thank god other companies such as wi-tribe augere have come and you can see they are taking away the pie from PTCL. I wish them very good luck.

        • Shahid Saleem

          All very true. Again PTA just do nothing.

  • omer

    i came to know few days back that wimax is capable of providing 70-76 mbps. and what we are getting here 256kb ,512kb, 1mbps .

    we cant blam ptcl only. why wimax operators dont offer speed above 1mbps?

    • Shahid Saleem

      I don’t think anyone in Pakistan offers IEEE_802.16m yet. 802.16e peak max (which cannot always be achieved) is about 70 Mbit/sec, which is 8.75 Mbyte/sec. Giving 70 Mbit/sec to few hundred users is…difficult.

      • omer

        i dont say that we currently need 70mbps. and right now i cant even afford its price. but atleast wimax operators can introduce 2, 4, 6mb packages

        • Shahid Saleem

          I talked to someone who used to work for Wateen last month. He said situation is so bad that now they offer unlimited wimax packages and still no one wants to buy.

          Offering more than 1 Mbit makes little sense in this situation especially when you consider how many people want to pay LESS than 1200 for broadband even if they get only 512 or 256.

          • admin

            Wateen isn’t getting customers not coz of technology or in-availability of customers, instead they got their own issues – relating to management and plenty of other things.

  • Mudassir

    The best about PTCL is its availability in remote areas… other companies just provide links in developed areas keeping in view the maximum profit only.

    • Hedgefundbaby

      Not true. First of all the PTCL network was built with the money of the people of Pakistan and as such should have been open to multiple operators to provide wholesale.

      Secondly please study facts. Every operator pays a share of their revenue for Universal Services Fund which is meant to be used for extending connectivity to remote areas. The fund size is now 40 Billion plus and the government has not used it wisely to build connectivity to remote areas. It has only given PTCL subsidy on services in remote areas and not allowed to use this money to develop broadband there. PTCL has used the money to reduce prices in these areas where as its profit margins is the same.

      So its not that other companies are only in for maximum profit sir. It is about PTCL getting government subsidy from USF fund which all operators contribute to. PTCL had head start because of infrastructure built from the money of the people of Pakistan and so was able to get this subsidy.

      I wish people please go deeper into study the facts.

      • admin

        It’s not that USF doesn’t want to give subsidy to other operators, but they are don’t apply for it.

        Recently i asked Mustafa Piracha that they don’t they bid for USF projects, and he was like – we will, but we didn’t so far

      • admin

        One more thing, PTCL isn’t getting any further projects – coz they have reached threshold limit of 50 percent of all projects.

        Now other companies will have to win, in order to decrease PTCL’s share, and to make PTCL illegible to bid again.

    • admin

      On it’s website, PTCL claims that it has reached 1000 cities – but it never reveals that it reached 250 cities out of 1000 on shoulders of USF.

  • admin

    Here’s a question to all the readers: Do you think that this copper will survive another 5 years? If no, do we have any backup plan?

    • Russell

      LTE or other wireless will take over.
      Copper will survive if PTCL just spends time to maintain it…
      Optical solution is also possible but very costly and most density outside some metros is not there. Ideal is wireless as you can see success of technologies such as Wimax and EVDO over copper and optical (nayatel has fraction customer on its BPON network)

    • Shahid Saleem

      Of course it has to survive — how else will they offer voice service? I don’t think they can replace with fibre everywhere but even if they did then that is better for broadband no?

      • admin

        Don’t you see the negative growth in landline subscribers? Those who are left are of three categories:

        – Offices
        – Those with DSL connections
        – A little chunk of housewives

        I don’t see a future of landline, until LTE or other wireless technologies replaces it.

        Till DSL subscribers share over 50 percent of broadband market share, but look at remaining 50 percent, they are relying on wireless. This wireless share will increase with time – in 4 to 5 years this may go as high as 90 percent, in my opinion.

  • Awais

    1.5gbps is hardly common abroad. That statement is misleading. Its availability is extremily limited.

    • It’s all about the limit and availability, didn’t mention density.

    • Sumair

      yeah 1 gbps connections are currently available in Hong Kong, Japan and Portugal for residential use!

  • ammar

    u beautifully ignored the fact that the high speed internet you get in western countries is capped. usually its around 30GB. 1GBPS would have an even stricter cap IMO.
    So i’m perfectly fine with my TRUE unlimited 4mbps connection

  • Urdu Tips By Zobia

    There is no future of landline, As landline is survived by the line men only. If there is no line men then there will be no line and Line men requires monthly.

    My DSL Bill As follows

    Student Package + TAXES + Line Man = 1250/Month

  • PTCL is Biggest name in Broadband industry so we hope they can solve there problem after some time according to need of time and demand.

  • irfan

    i am sick of ptcl.given they are advancing technologically at a competent pace BUT their “quality of service” or “customer support” is the worst imaginable ever.i wonder if our government is into some covert genetic research to produce intelligent goats which are being deployed into ptcl’s management.wat a scene!!

  • ali

    true…….PTCL MANAGEMENT and HR sucks….old ahe benefit employees sitting in marcom and no valuable experience wat u expect….commercial head is thanedar and President is with rich tastes..

    [Comment Edited]

  • Ahmed

    I live in North-Nazimabad, Karachi… DSL (2MB) is down (limited browsing speed) since last two months or so. Always get “Some work is going on” response from the exchange people… pathetic!

  • Zain Ahmed

    Yea, the north nazimabad ex has idiots working there and their dsl connection is always breaking.

  • Umar Hayat

    A.O.A

    I am from Islamabad. My Phone No.051-2843912 is dead or alive, no dial tune, when light come then some time dial tune come, after 10 to 15 Mins. dial tune out and my Primary & Secondary DNS Server IP is static, although i do not have check the static Primary & Secondary DNS Server. from 06-08-2012 with complaint # 1-4506925615 & 85 & 65 & 64 …… I have so many times complaint 1218 but no response from PTCL.

    Any one Help me.

    Muhammad Umar Hayat
    DEO,
    Supreme Court of Pakistan,
    Islamabad
    051-9082324