Woes with Telecom Sub-Contractors

mobile-towers-480x238Much has been written and said about the state of field engineers in telecom sector. In a country where labor rights are as absent as civil ethics, one must be a fool to expect good here too.

My recent experience comprises of seeing, and governing – to a large extent – two major radio swap projects by hands of two major telecom vendors of the world in the South of Pakistan.

A usual practice is to outsource field work to small (not even medium) enterprises that, in turn, hire telecom/electrical/computer/electronic engineers – in some cases even commerce freshers – to carry out telecom errands. The pay is infinitely low and the work load is sky high.

To the best of my knowledge, in those sub-contractors, engineers are not even paid for the over-time they invest. They sleep at sites, have to travel into the most threatening of sectors and carry out tasks which are as much of a backbone as any during a telecom swap project.

As a result of these given conditions, theft reports of vendor accessories, equipment and site fuel has risen to the highest threshold ever. Their work efficiency is also questionable which, I’d assert, is also understandable. Often sites are left with cross sectors, cross feeders, incorrect tilting and antenna VSWR issues, which severely affect network’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

What’s most disturbing was the recent revelation that major sub-contractors have spawned out of close-doors meetings between vendor’s/operator’s big guns. Well there’s nothing illegitimate there, but this rarely stands solid ground in the court of fair play. This is to say, those big guns, thus, conspire to secure hundred thousand of worth of projects for their secretively established sub-contractual firms, hire young engineers and exploit those job-starved souls.

Even this, one may argue, is not an evil act. It only becomes dirty when the wealth stay accumulated in few hands and does not flow down the ranks to engineers who, now a days, are at a risk of life.


  • FAHAD

    Struck by a job in a Telecom subcontractor for almost a whole year, I am more happy without job today than to work in a subconscious. Its really a night mare for me.

    • Jobless telecom engineer

      I am telecom engineer and jobless since 2011. Bhai apni job mjy day dain.

  • Furqan Saeed

    Work ethics are at its bottom in Pakistan job market and always
    expect worst when talking about sub contractors or third party contractors.

  • Ali

    Very true. The reality is that reprobates have entered the Operator ranks at quite senior positions. Groups are formed that then feed on sub-cons. The main source being fuel and site consumable such as lube oil, filters etc.
    I came to know that managed services contracts by some very reputable GSM Service Providers, have been awarded on ridiculously low prices. The result is massive fuel theft and extremely poor maintenance, thus leading to high outages. The operators have literally destroyed their own assets.
    The operators have to really very carefully plan their operations and have to get rid corrupts, otherwise fuel prices and maintenance cost will soon offset any of their profits.

  • AA

    Very disturbing side of Pakistani Telecom industry…. One of my friend had to go to Swat, Mingora just before the military operation of 2008 & during the floods… I remember the tales about how he survived the check posts of Taliban. During the floods, the hotel in which he was staying was completely flooded & destroyed; he had to swim to the nearest trees. Spent whole 3 days there without food, shelter & dry clothes & had to come back tens of Kilometers on foot or hitch hike. After all this, no compensation, no bonus, not even appreciation or anything rather had to report in the office the very next day. One of my junior had to work at PKR 3000/month for 6 months & had to go to snow cover peaks in the blood freezing months of december, january…

  • Nouman

    i have worked for a sub contractor for more than 2 years but growth was nothing .At the end i left job without having other one but still i am happy to be jobless coz atleast i have sometime to sleep and think for my future now.

  • diggs pakt

    guys this is not jus asia minority or middle east minority affecting only, this is also very common in all of africa and the neighbouring non first world countries wea the pay wages are not per hour rate or on contratual basis, this is so true for all engineers across the planet working for the numerous subcontractors.but as most of us av cum to know, sleep and contemplenting ones future are far better options.

  • Truth teller

    THIS MESSAGE IS FOR ENGINEERS WHO ARE STRUGGLING : Guys switch to other field like computer science, do courses like php, java or any language and stuck with it. You will earn more than you earn with these job at telecom or electronics engineering depart before it’s too late for you. Do it now or never it’s up to you.

    • saif hayat

      hello guys, i have completed my BSc telecom engineering from uet peshawar in june 2013 and still no job, even no internship without any reference, what should i do, please give me some advice.

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