Tuesday, December 23, 2003

PTCL ISDN Services (Tele+)

1. Background

PTCL is aggressively marketing the new lot of ISDN lines it has created on the newly acquired Chinese switches in almost all the major exchanges of Karachi. The commercial name of the service is Tele+.

2. How to Get Your ISDN Connection

Customers can get an ISDN connection either afresh or get their existing analog line converted to an ISDN. New connections require spare cable pair to be available from the customer's nearest telephone exchange to the customers premise. The process of confirming this pair availability takes some time. For those who cannot wait, conversion of the old analog line is the fastest way because there is no need of confirming the availability of pair.

3. Application Form & Demand Note

Just fill the prescribed application form for ISDN available from Corporate Customer Center, PTCL Head Quarter, Hatim Alvi Road, Clifton (111-202020). Attach copy of property documents and copy of NIC of the same person in whose name the property is. In case the name is different, attach an NOC from the owner of the property for the person who wants and ISDN connection in his name. If you are a tenant, attach your own NIC copy and a copy of your tenancy agreement.

The requirement of all these papers are waived off in case you are converting an existing line to ISDN in which case only copy of NIC and copy of last paid telephone bill would be required.

Demand Note for the ISDN service is issued by the Corporate Customer Center. Demand note for a new ISDN line costs around Rs 2,500 while that of conversion costs Rs 768. The demand note must be paid in the UBL Rehman Building Branch, II Chundrigarh Road, Karachi.

Once the demand note is paid by the Corporate Customer Center, Hatim Alvi Road Clifton (111-202020), the customer can get the free Siemens NT2 box (which is a combined NT1 box + ISDN Terminal Adaptor) worth Rs 16,000 from PTCL as part of the rental plan by signing an affidavit of Rs 50 (available with the office staff of CCC, PTCL) that they agree to return the box when/if they terminate the contract with PTCL.

4. The Siemens ISDN Device

The Siemens box comes with two analog ports to which you can connect two ordinary telephone sets for normal use, one USB port which you can connect with your PC for ISDN internet access (if you have an ISDN account with your ISP). The device required direct AC power to terminate the ISDN connection and give two analog lines on its output. However, in case there is no AC power being supplied to the box, the first analog port keeps on working normally while the second one goes dead.

The ISDN connection on the Siemens box is made using a standard RJ-45 connector. Only pin number 4 and 5 are used which will connect to the two wires coming from the street pole.

5. Monthly Rentals & Bills

Monthly rental of ISDN is 1.5 times of regular telephone line which comes out to be Rs 300. Tariff is the normal telephone charges (which means that if you can an ISP, you won't be multi-metered but if you call a normal local number, you will be charged one call per 5 minutes or whatever is the prevalent PTCL tariff.

A word of caution for those who will use their new ISDN connection for ISDN internet access: ISDN calls take less than two seconds to mature. If you have got 64 kbps ISDN connectivity from your ISP but your PC or router is configured to use 128 kbps of connectivity, your second channel will be dropped by your ISP. Your PC or router can quickly make another attempt (thereby making another call) which will again be dropped by your ISP. If this circle goes on, due to the quick nature of ISDN calls, you can soon end up with thousands of calls made in a very small amount of time. Your monthly bill will inflate beyond your affordability.

6. Change in Telephone Number

The only down-point in the whole deal is that your phone number will change and you'll have to inform your contacts about the change.

7. A Slight bit of Rewiring

Previously, in the case of POTS, you can tap the wire coming from the street pole from anywhere and connect a telephone set and get going. However, in the case of ISDN, your street wire should connect on your ISDN Devices (the one that PTCL gives along) and your normal phone set connections will emerge from there. So in case your home has concealed telephone wirings that taps the street wire directly, you'll have to do some slight rewiring.

A more comprehensive ISDN dialup networking is available here. Happy Swift Surfing!