ISPs see hard times ahead: PTCL launches new Internet service
By Romail Kenneth
KARACHI: Internet service providers (ISPs) would have another competitor in the market as Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has launched its new service called ‘Phone n Net’.
Whereas the local ISPs are taking it as a threat to their businesses, convener Internet Services Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK), Wahaj-us-Siraj told Daily Times on Thursday.
PTCL, Pakistan’s largest Internet protocol (IP) network, has introduced its new product as ‘the most convenient landline Internet solution that converts your phone into a basic Internet connection’. This service is currently available on all landlines in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and soon this service would be available in other cities of Pakistan.
Mr Siraj said that after the launch of this product, it would become difficult for local ISP’s to survive, as most of their consumers would prefer sticking to their landline operator. For the last couple of years local ISP’s are already in a crisis and are finding it difficult to make both ends meets.
“After Eid holidays we would take this matter to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to solve this issue otherwise we would be left with only one option and that is closing down our business,” he said. Phone’n’ Net is a PTCL’s newest dialup Internet service and its number is 13177777. This facility is pre-activated on all PTCL telephone numbers and the customers just have to dial 13177777 to get connected to the Internet. The user-name and password for the service are ‘ptcl’ and only one call will be charged as per PTCL rules for the 131-number. The customers will get a of speed 56.6 kbps. This service will be charged at the rate of six rupees per hour and it will be charged on per minute basis. The charges will be billed into a user’s normal telephone bill. While ISPs expect worst times ahead for their businesses, cable-net operators and Internet cafe, when contacted to seek their views on this development, didn’t see the service as a threat to their livelihoods. The newly launched service is CLI-based, although users can connect to this service from any number but this usage will be charged to that number.