Monday, June 23, 2003

PTA ushers SMS Compatibility

Pakistan had two GSM and two TDMA public cellular networks for quite some time now. SMS service was available to the users of these networks but it didn't work across the networks. The reason of the problem put forward was more absurd than the problem itself - incompatible networks. In the age of IP, where even a goat can speak to a cow, there should have been no reason why the users were limited to their own network for sending and receiving SMS.

It is good to see PTA asking all the four operators to ensure that their SMS services are available across all the other networks. Mobile phone subscribers in Pakistan can now send and receive SMS texts to any other mobile phone subscriber irrespective of the networks involved.

The 'mandatory' bad part of the news is that some of the network operators that did not charge for SMS exchanges are now charging Rs 1.5 per outgoing message - a price which the cartel has now set for the consumers' SMS requirements. Too bad that they don't understand that taking a smaller part of a bigger pie means having more than taking a bigger chunk of a much, much smaller pie.

Bandwidth Rates Dropped by PTCL

PTCL reduces bandwidth charges from US $6,000 per 2 MB to US $5,400 per 2 MB. PTCL has bought an additional STM-1 connectivity from British Telecom (BT) for US $ 54,000 which means an E1 (2 MB) costs PTCL roughly $700 which it is retailing at $5,400 or 800% of the cost! [PTCL charges Rs 55,000 separately for delivering any bandwidth beyond 256 kbps to the customers premises as the last mile charges]. Detailed tariff is available at PTCL's site.