!logo.jpg (6328 bytes) . .



1_popup_home.gif (1391 bytes) announce.gif (6686 bytes)

Jan 31, 2000

TeleCard, a public listed company providing card payphone service, signed an agreement with the PTCL in May 1999 to provide payphone services in all parts of Pakistan through the revolutionary Wireless Local Loop (WLL) technology. This technology will help PTCL and TeleCard to jointly provide phone service especially in the sub-urban and rural areas of Pakistan, where PTCL finds it more expensive to deploy its traditional copper-wire telephone network.

The agreement with PTCL is to provide a total of 125,000 lines in the country in a combination of urban, sub-urban and rural areas. The total project is estimated to cost about US$ 150 million, which TeleCard plans to finance through a combination of debt and equity funds. TeleCard expects commencement of service in the third quarter of this year and full implementation of the project in a maximum of three years.

TeleCard is pleased to announce that it has signed several agreements in connection with the implementation of this project, which are briefly explained below.

The first of these agreements has been reached with Motorola Corporation of the United States which is one of the world's largest manufacturer of wireless telecommunications equipment. Motorola has an installed base of more than 41 million subscribers globally in more than 70 networks, with annual sales in excess of US$ 31 billion. Under the agreement, Motorola will provide to TeleCard CDMA wireless access equipment for the build out of TeleCard's network and supplier credits to finance the equipment. Motorola has been an investor in Pakistan since 1994, and this decision confirms Motorola's confidence in TeleCard and Pakistan.

TeleCard has also chosen NDC Limited (Network Design & Construction), a subsidiary of Telstra Corporation Limited—the largest telecommunication full services operator in Australia—as its Strategic Partner in the WLL project. In this capacity NDC will provide its expertise in the system design, construction, operations, maintenance and business aspects of TeleCard's network. In addition to operating more than 13 million telephone lines, Telstra also provides Cellular, Internet, Payphone, and other telecommunication services within and outside of Australia, has a market capitalization of more than US$ 100 billion. Telstra has also recently installed a Nationwide CDMA network for providing cellular services in Australia. NDC will bring its valuable operator experience in similar fields to TeleCard to ensure the most cost effective and profitable build-out and operation of the Wireless Payphone Service.

The project will provide much needed phone service, which is currently not available in most of the rural and sub-urban areas of the country. TeleCard will provide this service in all parts of Pakistan, covering all the major population bases. It is planned that the service will be made available in areas having a total population of almost 90 million people, as compared to the current PTCL network which presently provides service in areas with an estimated total population of 50 million. The availability of this service will bring tremendous benefits to the rural population of Pakistan, including easier communication, closer integration with the urban population, better information on markets and prices of agricultural produce, etc. The service will continue to be provided with prepaid cards, which will mean that people would not have to wait for their bills and then queue to make payments.

In order to provide this service, TeleCard will implement a WLL network using the CDMA technology. WLL, or Wireless-in-the-Local-Loop, is a more advanced alternative for providing phone service instead of the traditional system of laying copper wire in the ground which is more time consuming, costly, and unsuitable for rural areas. CDMA is the latest wireless technology in the world, more advanced than the AMPS and GSM systems being used by cellular operators in Pakistan. After careful evaluation TeleCard has determined CDMA to be the most suitable and cost effective choice for its network, which will provide ample room for future growth of subscribers and traffic on its network. CDMA technology has been the dominant choice for most of the new fixed wireless and cellular networks, especially in China, US, South Korea, Australia and Latin America.

This international interest and investment in TeleCard is a tremendous achievement by the company and the country considering the diffficult economic situation faced by Pakistan at present. These commitments not only indicate the attractiveness of the strategies being pursued by the management of TeleCard, but also reflects increasing optimism about the future economic conditions and an improved investor climate in the country.

Second National Human Resource Conference

The Pakistan Society for Training and Development will hold its second National Conference on "HR Development - Challenges for the year 2000 & Beyond," on February 23rd and 24th, 2000, at the Pearl Continental Hotel, Karachi.

The conference is aimed at identifying managerial competencies and the relevant professional values of human resource development in the corporate sector, and its increasingly important role in helping the country develop and face the challenges of the 21st century.

Renowned professionals from the corporate sector will present twelve papers on six related topics and provide much needed insight on various human resource development techniques and methodologies and their benefits towards national growth.

Over 300 professionals and academicians are expected to participate in this conference, and they will share their opinion and knowledge of human resource development field.

Commenting on the conference, Mr. Mian Ghani, founder of the Pakistan Society for Training and Development said, "This conference will be an excellent platform for high calibre professionals to exchange ideas and opinions on human resource development in Pakistan and the direction it will be taking in the coming years."

The Pakistan Society for Training and Development is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting superior quality human resource development in Pakistan by developing professionals in the fields of education, training, and organisation development.

New Mobile Pentium® III processors

Intel Corporation today introduced mobile Pentium(®)III processors featuring Intel(®) SpeedStep™ technology at 650 and 600 MHz. These CPUs will allow notebook computers to function at desktop-class speeds, while delivering great performance whether plugged in at the office or operating in battery mode while on the go. These new processors improve on Intel's industry-leading power management features and packaging technology, and allow notebook manufacturers to incorporate 650 MHz of performance into a range of notebook designs, including 'thin and light" as well as full-size mobile PCs.

Mobile Pentium III processors featuring Intel SpeedStep technology have the capability of operating in two different modes: Maximum Performance Mode and Battery Optimized Mode. The system by default automatically chooses which mode to run in, depending on whether the computer is running on batteries or is plugged into AC power.

UBL's Board of Directors met recently to announce expected profit of Rs. 1.2 bn for the year ending December 31, 1999. Picture shows (L-R) Syed Samsamul Haque, Zaffar A. Khan, Altaf M. Saleem, Zubyr Soomro, Iftikhar A. Allawala, Afzal H. Mufti & Abdul Ghafoor.

NBP AT THE FOREFRONT OF PROFITABILITY

The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) is expected to declare a record gross profit in the range of Rs. 6.0 billion, leading it to secure a position amongst the highest gross profits in the corporate sector of the country.

Mohammad Mian Soomro assumed office at NBP in 1996, at a time when the bank was experiencing loss of Rs 1.260 billion. Upon his coming to office, he pulled out NBP from losses to profits, resulting in a pre-tax profit of Rs 0.996 in 1997 to a three-fold increase in pre-tax profits of Rs 3.5 billion in 1999.

The bank has attained this position solely based on its own resources, without any new equity injection from the government, leading to a capital adequacy ratio of 11.3 percent. Furthermore, the growth in profitability is attributed towards strategically controlling costs, improving productivity, increasing revenues and recovering bad debts, along with higher fee based income.

As a result, the bank has both increased its profits and has also earned itself the E+ rating, by Moody's, in November 1999, which is highest amongst the ratings given to other large Pakistani banks. Moreover, the total non-performing loans, as percentage of total loans (including domestic and international), have also been reduced from around 30% in 1996 to around 15% (unaudited) in 1999.

The marked increase in NBP's profitability is also because of the internal changes that Mohammad Mian Soomro has brought about, such as a change in the marketing strategies and restructuring of personnel to emphasize on human resource development. This has in turn led to a change in the culture of the organization and its productivity.

In addition, the NBP has taken itself to the leading edge of information technology, by being the first major domestic bank to be Y2K compliant, for which the NBP received the Green Certification from the State Bank of Pakistan team. The bank has currently upgraded all its hardware at all NBP locations, improved banking applications and also improved other data sensitive equipment, thereby being among the first banks in Pakistan to possess state of the art technology.

On a national basis, the NBP has also been playing a socially responsible role, as it has set up micro finance services to help alleviate poverty, through various pilot projects such as the Orangi Pilot Project of the Late Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan and other pilot projects in Gujranwala and Jacobabad.

Incorporated on November 8, 1949, the National Bank of Pakistan performs sub-treasury functions on behalf of the State Bank of Pakistan and is also the largest commercial bank with over 1400 branches spread all over the country with 23 foreign branches and 5 representative offices in 16 countries in the world.

Commitment for Change

Continuous development and commitment for change in the total system at both individual and collective level results in improvement in quality education, said Prof. Dr. Abdul Raouf, Rector Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology while addressing the students of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST). Measures for performance includes involvement of all in decision-making process; Industry - University links/collaborations and quality control. He said, the universities produce experts in all fields while the industry takes them away to produce physical products. Dr. Raouf further emphasized that policies should be developed after studying and keeping in view the local culture and environment. He congratulated SZABIST for achieving excellence in education of the same level as GIK Institute, which have both been ranked No. 1 and 2 in Pakistan by Asiaweek. Dr. Javaid Leghari, Project Director SZABIST thanked the speaker and participants and presented a plaque to the speaker.