PTCL leading a silent revolution : Naveed Saeed Interview with Profit Newspaper (November 28, 2011)
PTCL leading a silent revolution : Naveed Saeed SEVP (Commercial)
NAVEED Saeed. Senior Executive Vice President Commercial of Pakistan Telecommunication Company limited in an exclusive interview with our correspondent Amer Sial says the company is focused on deploying most modern telecom infrastructure In the country to enhance data connectivity for businesses to increase their productivity and bring prosperity in the country.
PT: What are PTCL’s achievements during the last 6 years after privatization?
NS: Before privatization PTCL was a basic telephony company providing plain old telephony services. With privatization there has been a phenomenal growth in the data connectivity and hundred of millions of dollars have been invested just for deploying latest telecom infrastructure in the country. We are providing backhaul to all the players for internet connectivity. We are also providing connectivity to big institutions like banks and other corporate entities for their services. Deployment of latest technologies have helped in significantly increasing efficiency of businesses and a seamless security has been provided in the deployment of IT enabled services by the corporate sector. On the domestic front, previously there was only dial-up internet available but now DSL has become replaced dial-up internet. Speed has been increased from 256KB to 1MB and 100MB at very affordable cost. Fiber to the home (FTTH) technology is fully deployed; corporate solutions are being provided with dedicated customer services. Without these services no economy can move forward. On the wireless side, we deployed the latest CDMA 1X technology in the country. This year we launched high data speed EVDO Red B, which was the first launch in the world. The last six years has witnessed an organizational transformation and pay for performance culture was introduced, new professionals were hired, trained and groomed, processes were reengineered and an aggressive sales and marketing strategy was adopted. We are not a monopoly company anymore we are now a profit driven company.
PT: Is there a decline In fixed line customers due to mobile phone?
PTCL has more than 95pc customer share out of the total 750,000 broadband users in the country. The customer base will be reaching the 1 million mark very soon
NS: Yes there was a shrink but it was not a massive one. As the voice business globally did transfer to wireless. However, we did not low business from the corporate and small and medium enterprises as we focused on them even though some migration was witnessed on the domestic consumer ride but it was minimal as compared to developed countries that lost in millions. We are not losing any more domestic customers as data connectivity b being provided on the fixed line. Our PSTN voice revenues are growing as we have made new offers at bundle level. The voice, broadband and IPTV services on fixed line have improved our revenues. We are growing at present as the majority of our new customers are broadband users. As the subscriber base will grow, there trill be more appetite for bandwidth. There are four dements to data connectivity, firstly the platform; it is becoming better with new investment. Secondly the connectivity pipe is steadily growing, thirdly the appetite for internet usage b growing and lastly the devices they are coming in huge numbers with growing storage and fast processing speeds. Even our phones have 32GB storage card. The appetite of consumers to digest and consume more is growing. The entire chain requires more investment and we are already on the move by investing more and more in telecom infrastructure. Our objective is to keep enhancing the data pipe as more usage of applications trill benefits us.
PT: How do you compare Pakistan with other regional countries?
NS: If we look at similar economics like Sri Lanka. Iran and Bangladesh we are far ahead but as compared to developed world we still require more penetration and growth to catch up quickly. DSL was launched in Pakistan three years back and it has recorded a fast growth as bandwidth prices have become more affordable. We have complete network and ability to energize the copper lines with the right pricing mix. At present Pakistan b among the top five countries worldwide in broadband growth. PTCL has more than 95 percent customer share out of the total 750,000 broadband users in the country. The customer base will be reaching the 1 million mark very soon. It will include customers using broadband over wireless and fixed line. We have made good progress but still there is a lot of room for enhancing penetration. According to international projections, machine-to-machine connectivity growth trill be greater than the people connectivity in the next five years.
PT: Any plan to acquire telecom companies?
NS: Yes we are interested in acquisitions. We are looking at other entities for more acquisitions. We have already acquired and merged Max Corp which was providing DNOBS services. We have made more investment than any other telecom company in Pakistan and hundreds of our new cell sites are coming up that will further increase connectivity. We are also investing in another undersea cable that will further increase the availability of bandwidth. Furthermore we have started cache services and search engine giant Google Pakistan is hosted on our servers. Pakistanis happen to be one of the top gigabit users in the world; you will be surprised to know that We are not a monopoly company anymore, we are now a profit driven company. Our per month usage is four times that of European users. Our KVDO service is 3C compliant even though no operator in the country offers 3G services. We have plans for 4G and have already tested LTE. That will give us a better network and PTCL will be the one of the most advanced operator in the world.
PT: Are you satisfied with the regulatory atmosphere?
NS: Yes we are satisfied with the regulator. Pakistani regulator is acknowledged worldwide for its role in the promotion of the telecom sector in the country. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has been advising and sharing experiences of other South Asian states with us. We are satisfied with PTA as they are becoming better by the day.
PT: People term customer care a grey area after privatization. What is your response?
NS: No the impression is not correct. We value all our customers and customer care is one of our top priorities. We deployed an automated complaint management system to address consumer complaints within 24 hours after registering of the complaint.
The system is fully automated and monitored regularly with update information on the progress of all the complaints.
However, there are some gaps, for example there is lot of development activity in Lahore, people of one department without informing us in advance dig up the road sides and cut under ground cables, this causes some delay.
With our automated system, the customers can fix all their complaints by simply making a call. We are also working to further improve the system.
PT: What are your personal views on technology reshaping our lifestyle?
NS: I think in this age and stage it is a duty on us all to do more for our country and for the prosperity of our people. Pakistan has all the ingredients to be a very successful country. We have a very good basic infrastructure in all the sectors, we have good institutions and human resource all we need is devising some processes for enhancing productivity that will lead to prosperity. We can achieve this by improving visibility to let people know what is happening and where the opportunities are.
This will create a culture of accountability as people in authority will know which department was not performing its duties satisfactorily. The steps to curb inefficiency will lead to greater productivity and that will lead to prosperity of the people and the country.
At PTCL we are focused on increasing our visibility by making investment in enhancing infrastructure, our data pipes are going everywhere: this will provide more connectivity, leading to more business opportunities and accountability and productivity.
We are therefore leading a silent revolution in Pakistan.