July / August  2006




August/September Contents 

Sufis - wisdom against

 Sufi poet saints

 50 years of mountain

 Interviews with:
 Ajaz Anwar
Iqbal Hussain
Kamil Mumtaz

 Heritage cities:
 Taxila Dharmrajika
 Bhera - Part I
Bhera - Part II


Cotton - the fibre of

Cotton textiles of
 South Asia

 Handlooms & Dyes

 Hiran Minar


 Lahore Gymkhana

 B2B - Part I

B2B - Part II

Optical Networks I
Optical Networks II

Role of Internet in
 S Asian development

Technology and
 investment in US
 stock markets

Security & Trust in
 Internet banking

 Telecom & software
 - trends & future in
 South Asia

China & India - major
 players by 2025

Pakistan - IT Markets
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV









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Pakistan – Markets in Telecomm Convergent Technologies

Part IV


 the Special report undertaken for The abstracts will be published in parts over the next year. The complete unabridged report is available to interested readers for U.S. $300.00


Salman Minhas


First published in October 2003





The first part of this report [ about 20 pages ] is a complete detailed look at the state of Telecommunications in Pakistan. It covers all aspects including Broadband, [ fixed line fiber , long-distance , wireless, ] , Wireless [ fixed & mobile ] , Voice & Data Networks , payphones, Hybrid-Fiber Coax cable TV, Multi-Media ,Satellite, Internet , ISP’s, etc . There are extracts from the PTCL and PTA websites giving official telecom data. .The PTCL Privatization & deregulation policy of July 2003 is also given.. Portions of this report have appeared in [ April2003 , May-June – 2003, September2003 ] .

The second part of this report consists of a Pre- Feasibility study with a SWOT [ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats ]analysis of the Pakistan Convergent Telecom Market . It is aimed for potential investors / companies interested in venturing into the future Convergent Telecomm market where about 25% of PTCL will be privatized and the Pakistan Telecomm market will be made open to at most 2 more operators in the Voice area [ which up to now is a monopoly of PTCL] .

The thesis of this report is that in Pakistan, the Telecoms sector is extremely underdeveloped with a Teledensity of 2.4 % . By 2010 the Government’s vision is to increase this country overall density to between 10 % and 15% . This means adding about 18 million more phones from the present numbers of 2.4 million mobiles and about 4 million fixed line telephones. The potential payback for any one new/carrier operator is based on a share of adding a minimum of 6 million phones land or fixed wireless including mobile wireless. This also means a potential new telecom entrant carrier in the Pakistan Telecomm market needs to have a about 1 billion US $ for Capital, Operating & License Costs over the next 5 years. The potential Revenues are about $ 0.9 billion a year and Payback periods for this telecomm infrastructure build out and operation will be about 3 to 5 years . PTCL’s current Telecom customer base consists of about 3 million land Phone lines on which its Revenues are about US $ one billion in 2002 .

This report is available for US $ 300 by writing to


Final Part 

6.4 Next Generation Wireless Networks

Pakistan’s first CDMA fixed wireless network was launched by Telecard - a local private telecommunication company - heralding the era of 3G network in this part of the world. The network brings Wireless Local Loop technology to Pakistan, which has proven as a break through in achieving high ‘teledensity’ targets in developing and under developed countries. The service was launched in Karachi this year and has been extended in Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Larkana.

Ufone, the sister cellular concern of the state-owned telecom upgraded its existing GSM network to GPRS in December. GPRS is a 2.5G technology, which enables mobile subscribers to remain connected to the internet all the time. GPRS enabled mobile devices and phones can enjoy a theoretical throughput of 20 kbps, which is sufficient for most of the text based Internet applications such as email and chat.

Satellite Telephony services were offered by Thuraya, an International Satellite Telephony operator in a joint venture with PTCL at affordable local tariffs. Acting as a perfect complement to the cellular service, the satellite telephony service expands the coverage of telephony services to every nook and corner of the country.

6.5  IT & Education

Pakistan Educational Network (PEN) was inaugurated during this year. PEN intends to connect national universities with a high speed optical fiber network. Under the project 56 public and private universities will be interconnected with each other through a fiber network. The approved capital cost of the project is Rs 298 million. National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) is implementing the project in collaboration with Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation (PTCL).
Virtual University is a major project of the Ministry of Science & Technology in the execution of its IT plans. A degree awarding setup, VU utilizes Television and Internet as the basic means of delivering the required Information Technology education and training to its

7.0 Satellite Communications

Paksat-1, its first geostationary satellite, has begun commercial services in March 2003 after being moved to its new orbital slot at 38° East Longitude.

Pakistan made the announcement jointly with Hughes Global Services, Inc. (HGS), builder of Paksat-1. The satellite, which was launched in 1996 as the Indonesian Palapa C1, was renamed Anatolia–1 and now Paksat 1 after Pakistan took it over. HGS will also assist Pakistan fully develop the potential of their orbital slot. The contract is worth close to US$30 million over its five-year term.

With over 30 C-Band and Ku-Band transponders, Paksat-1 will provide commercial services including Internet backbone services, remote Internet access, business communications, video, audio and data services and thin route telephony. According to HGS, Pakistan is getting a very capable satellite to initiate its commercial communications business, and that HGS was very pleased to be able to partner them in this endeavor.

HGS provides one-stop shopping for satellite communications solutions in niche and underserved markets. It has provided services in over 70 countries worldwide to over 130 customers. HGS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hughes Electronics Corporation, a provider of digital television entertainment, broadband services, and global video and data broadcasting. Hughes is a unit of General Motors Corporation.

Pakistan’s first geo-stationary satellite PAKSAT-1 became operational in the orbit on 23rd December.. The satellite, despite some operational problems with its hardware, can be used for education. There have been large advertisements in the newspapers for the marketing of Satellite time recently.

7.1 Satellite – Thuraya

Thuraya offers satellite, cellular (GSM) service and location determination system (GPS) in a single dual mode handset that is lightweight, elegant and easy to use. The dynamic handset offers voice, data, fax and short messaging services. Thuraya was founded in the UAE in 1997 by a consortium of leading national telecommunications operators and international investment houses. The turnkey project was built by US satellite manufacturer Boeing Satellite Systems formerly Hughes. The Thuraya-1 satellite was successfully launched on board a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket from the equator in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on 21st October 2000.The launch was a record success, as it was the first satellite initiated from the Middle East and also the satellite was the heaviest to be launched ever.

Thuraya Satellite Phones. appointed a dealer and agent in Pakistan, based in Islamabad. The service is very cheap, and they have a variety of phones available, including dual mode satellite/GSM models. Pak Telecom info is listed below. The costs look pretty good. Handheld phones are the size of a large cellular phone, and base models are also available. The data option should definitely be purchased as well. Phones are said to cost in the $700-$1000 range. Operating cost varies by country a little, and the world is divided into five "regions". Calling inside your local region to a landline phone will be about $1/min. Calling to neighboring regions, maybe 1500-3000 miles away should be about $1.20/min, and calling halfway around the world will be about $1.35/min. Calls from one Thuraya phone to another are only $0.50/min each, anywhere that the satellite can see. The satellite signal certainly covers Afghanistan well. The phones have a built in GPS receiver which also provides precise navigation data. You can also contact Thuraya directly in Dubai if you are going through there on the way out. The phones are now available in Dubai Duty Free at the airport. Pak Telecom, Thuraya’s service provider in Pakistan, will offer Thuraya mobile satellite services, including handsets and SIM cards.

Pak Telecom is the national operator, offering services such as Domestic & International ISDN Service, Internet/e-mail Service, Digital Leased Lines Services, Home Metering, Wireless Local Loop Payphone Services, Prepaid Card Service (International/Domestic), GMPCS Services, Trunk services, Audiotex service, Voice mail Service, Caller Line Identification (CLI), Universal Access Number (UAN) Universal Internet Number (UIN), only for ISP's, 0800 (Toll Free Number/Advance Freephone Service).

Pak Telecom G-8/4 Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92 51 2282987 ,Fax: +92 51 2282936
Mr Nooruddin Baqai Mobile: 0300 8545111

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