PTCL NEW TARIFF POLICY
By Mustafa Kamal Pasha
Aug 14 - 20, 2000
The new PTCL tariff structure and policy has been announced on July 25th, 2000 and is in place since August 1, 2000. There is a large hue and cry, not against the policy but a part of new tariff structure. Local call charges has been enhanced by 10 per cent i.e. from Rs. 2.10 to Rs. 2.31 and line rent charges increased by about 20 per cent i.e. from Rs. 235 per month to Rs. 282 per month. The PTCL, in the same policy has announced the reduction in the Nation wide call charges on 13 major routes. The new tariff policy also has declared significant reduction in International Direct Dialing (IDD) on 13 major routes. That reduction in tariff is also in place since August 1, 2000. The new tariff structure and policy has not been announced in isolation, but a comprehensive review of the Telecom tariff structure and policy was undertaken by the PTCL, along the other experts of global repute. The emerging international trends of competition, liberalization and opening of the sector in Pakistan after the year 2002 was also taken into consideration. While reviewing the going tariff structure and policy the need for the continuous updating of existing infrastructure was also taken into consideration. In line with the emerging needs telecom service tariff in Pakistan is required to be continuously rationalized under a phased programme. Tariff rationalization initiatives taken since 1997, has proved helpful in meeting customers expectations for decline in NWD rates, rapid expansion of telephone and its services, modernization of network and introduction of new value added services. Teledensity has been enhanced from 1.5 to about 2.5 pc. Some development projects including over 90 per cent of digitalization of services, enhancement of infrastructure support from 10,000 in 1997 to over 30,000 mobile customers, expansion of internet and information technology (about 20,000 customers with network strength of equal new internet customers), completion of cross nation optic fiber ring, expansion of gate way exchanges optic ring, extended infrastructure from about 10,000 in 1997 to about 35000 payphones in 2000, introduction of value added service like CLI, VMS digital features (call diversion, follow etc), Around 800 million IDD calls and over a billion NWD calls per annum are being managed on the existing PTCL system. The next phase of the tariff rationalization process has also been formulated after national policy review including Government of Pakistan and regulatory approvals fresh initiatives, in furtherance of the measures already taken, shall mean further reduction in NWD and IDD call rates, continuing expansion of the network and quality of service.
There is no doubt in saying that information technology and telecom infrastructures are engines for socio-economic growth and Pakistan is no exception to it. If Pakistan wants to live as Independent growing country then it has to cope with infrastructure needs of national economy. In line with the international trends to achieve fast development of IT and into communication needs, PTCL prepared and presented two tariff policies to the government of Pakistan and the regulatory authority (PTA). PTA approved one of the said options, which is in place since August 1, 2000.
The writer of this article is media consultant of PTCL.