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Pakistan Mobile Operators Lost Rs. 1.8 Billion for Remaining Offline During Ashura

Mobile Signals Telcos Lost Rs. 1.8 Billion in Revenues for Remaining Offline During Ashura

Cellular mobile operators had to bear a collective revenue loss of Rs. 1.8 billion for shutting down the services in over 80 cities on 9th and 10th of Moharram.

Initial estimates suggest that around 100 million customers were impacted with the network closure.

It maybe recalled that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had directed all operators to shut down cellular and wireless services in over 80 cities including all major cities in Punjab, KPK and Sindh. Balochistan, this time, remained online throughout the weekend.

Rawalpindi, and its over 10 million mobile phone users, remained offline for four consecutive days, the longest black-out in the history of the city.

Based on the market share of telecom companies, the individual revenue loss of operators is as following:

  • Mobilink: Rs. 570 Million
  • Telenor: Rs. 470 Million
  • Ufone: Rs. 360 Million
  • Zong: Rs. 220 Million
  • Warid: Rs. 180 Million

In addition to Rs. 1.8 billion loss to telecom companies, government itself had to bear around Rs. 610 million loss in taxes.

As per limited data provided by telecom companies, customers also had to incur an estimated airtime loss of Rs. 100 million under the head of line-rent, SMS, voice and internet bundles that they had purchased in advance but couldn’t utilize the services due to network closure.

Note: Data presented in this report is estimated and is based on ARPU levels and market share (in terms of subscribers) of mobile phone companies.



Zong no longer interested in Warid Telecom

China Mobile’s Pakistan unit Zong is no longer interested in buying rival Warid Telecom, Zong said on Thursday, leaving Pakistan Telecommunication Co (PTCL) as the sole declared bidder for the country’s No.5 mobile operator. “Initially, we were looking at Warid pretty seriously,” said a Zong spokesman, Pakistan’s fastest-growing operator, nearly doubling its customer base since 2010-11 to 20.2 million in May. But after going through the books and everything our consultants gave us the opinion that is was better for us to opt out because of the kind of investment we would have to put in.”
Pakistan’s mobile operators are dogged by low margins, strong competition and the fact that the government has yet to hold a long-stalled 3G licence auction.
These make the sector ripe for consolidation, despite promising long-term prospects, and Warid’s Abu Dhabi owners put the ailing company up for sale after it lost nearly a third of its subscribers from a 2008-9 peak of 17.9 million. A potential sale for Warid is seen raising about $1 billion. Zong, which announced its interest in Warid in September, will instead focus on preparing to launch 3G services, the spokesman said, saying this would be “a capital intensive investment”.
Pakistan’s sale of 3G licences and accompanying spectrum has been delayed for about three years, but operators are hopeful the auction will be completed by early 2014.
Just over two-thirds of Pakistanis have a mobile phone subscription, giving some room for customer numbers to increase, while 3G should provide a significant boost to revenue.
PTCL, a unit of the United Arab Emirates’ Etisalat, bid for Warid on Sept. 30. Should it be successful, PTCL’s mobile unit Ufone would become the second largest operator. Ufone had 23.9 million subscribers in May, according to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority.
Russia’s Vimpelcom, whose unit Mobilink is the market leader with 36.7 million subscribers, declined to comment when asked if it had bid for Warid. Vimpelcom had hired Citigroup Inc to advise on the potential acquisition of Warid, sources told Reuters in July.  Warid also declined to comment on questions relating to the company’s sale. Norway’s Telenor’s is the number two operator, with 31.7 million subscriber

Supreme Court over rules Lahore High Court’s ICH Suspension Decision

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has over ruled the Lahore High Court’s decision about ICH suspension, reported Geo TV.

Supreme court’s Lahore registry has now remanded back the ICH case to CPP (Competition Commission of Pakistan) by saying that Lahore High Court is not mandated to suspend ICH. SC said that ICH case should be heard in accordance with law and resolved in 15 days by Competition Commission of Pakistan.

As per ICH directive, all LDI operators, except PTCL, were asked to suspend their international circuits for international incoming traffic and hence all international incoming traffic was practically landing on PTCL’s network only. All – other than PTCL – LDI operators were promised a respective revenue share from international incoming traffic according to their current market share.

Lahore High Court had earlier suspending the ICH and had directed Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to implement court orders by asking operators to revert back to international incoming charges at pre-ICH level.

Today, LDI operators approached Supreme Court against LHC’s decision and requested to restore ICH. The Lahore registry of Supreme Court nullified LHC’s decision and reinstated ICH. Supreme Court — in its order — said that Lahore High Court is not mandated to suspended ICH. Instead the case should be heard by CCP, the order said.

The ICH over ruling means the LDI operators will continue to charge extortionate rates for Pakistan calls. It’s worth mentioning that the calls to Pakistan mobile and landline were around 1.25 cents per minute, Pre ICH. Since ICH was imposed, the LDI operators and PTCL are charging as high as 8.8 cents per minute. This is almost 7 times increase increase in call charges and one of the highest jump seen in telecom international market in recent years.

Pakistan Telecom Operators likely to lose Rs. 35 Billion / year due to Retailer Sales Ban

The Telecom operators in Pakistan are likely to lose Rs. 35 billion per year in revenue due to ban on sale of new SIMs through retailers network as government has allowed the sale of the new connections only through company-owned service centres and franchises, reported Dawn News.

Citing a source in Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the paper reported that new sales fell by 75 percent, which translated into Rs. 4 billion as loss in revenues for five cellular operators in last two months.

Additionally, the government earned 29 percent less revenues during the reported duration as compared to the same period last year. If this trend goes on, the five operators may lose Rs. 35 billion in 2013 or around 10 percent of their revenues, and the government will collect Rs. 10.5 billion lesser in taxes.

Telecom industry is fearing that revenue loss due to forced network outages may grow big in coming days as cellular services are silenced during all national and religious occasions, which are usually the busiest and best paying days for the telecom sector.


PTCL Blocking Skype Out Calls ?

Skype users in Pakistan have reported us that they are having issues in making SkypeOut calls. The problem occurs when users make calls from Skype to mobile phones or landline numbers on PTCL network. Skype to Skype calls have been working fine.

PTCL sources have denied any blocking of the Skype Services. Skype support has said that they have also got numerous reports from Pakistan during past one week, suggesting that users are facing issues in making Skype to phone calls. Skype said that its developers have investigated the problem and found out that issue is with ISPs in Pakistan that is causing disruption in connecting calls from Skype to mobiles phone and landlines numbers.

Skype representative has confirmed that Skype to Pakistan Mobile Calls and Pakistan Landline Calls are routed through regular telephone numbers, and hence voice datamust pass through the traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). It further said that networks in Pakistan are possibly blocking voice data at PSTN level and hence this is something which Skype can’t control. There are countless users in Pakistan who use Skype services – and their unlimited packages – for making International calls. Small to medium sized call centres and tele-coaching and training centres heavily rely on Skype for making calls to western countries.

VP Telenor, Aamer Izhar-ul-Haq resigns

Telenor Pakistan has also confirmed that Aamer Izhar, Vice President at Telenor Pakistan and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, has resigned today. Aamer has decided to move on for personal reasons and his last working day at Telenor will be Feb 28, 2013.

Telenor said that it will announce replacement for Ammer Izhar in coming weeks. Mr. Izhar was working with Telenor since 2004, before which he had worked for Mobilink for four years. Aamer was Vice President at Telenor since January 2011, during which he headed the corporate affairs.

Our sources tell that Aamer is moving to Canada for settling down there.

Telenor Pakistan is an international mobile carrier operating in Pakistan and offers packages to call Pakistan nationally at cheap rates.