Telenor Mobile TV

Telenor announced a GPRS/EDGE based valued added which they are calling Mobile TV (look here for content roundup by Farhan of OurE61). This is different than the chip-based, 470 to 862 MHz analog TV reception on cell phone that can potentially be realized by technologies like FLO from Qualcomm. As rightly pointed out by this in-depth review of Telenor Mobile TV by Osama at Green & White, the service is expensive and sports pretty high procedural entry barriers.

The stunt might not have a lot of takers in the local Pakistani market but this, along with the Telenor Akhbar service (reviewed here), should send a few chills down the spine for the operators who are still basking in just the volumes of voice. With rates approaching the 50 paisa boundary and tele-density at 33%, contents will become the ARPU enhancer maintainer.

MNP Needs Marketing

When MNP was introduced a few weeks ago, everyone had their own idea of the elephant they were feeling in a dark night.

Some said the stuff is not picking up, later to be corrected later by PTA that the number is running in thousands in the first month of the service introduction. Cellular-News say:

Speaking at a conference last week, the Chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Maj. Gen (R) Shahzada Alam Malik said that since the introduction of mobile number portability in the country, more than 10 thousand subscribers have availed the MNP facility while 20 thousand have already posted their requests for shifting their cellphone numbers along with the code from one operator to another. ..

Yet, MNP remains a technical jargon for most of the cell users in Pakistan. Ask the average joe teefa on the street and he’d draw a blank on this possibility. MNP needs neutral marketing from PTA – jargon free, crisp and right in the local lingo.

True, everyone (Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone, Warid, Paktel, Instaphone) is flashing the MNP badge on their websites but this is not the right marketing MNP needs right now.

The mission of MNP – forcing operators to deliver better service to keep the MNP-enabled churn low – is best served if PTA or Pakistan MNP Database – the co-funded company at the center of portability service – advertises the MNP possibilities to the general public. Am I am not talking about ‘instruction sounding’ announcements that most of the target audience will overlook thinking it relates to a technical domain. I am talking about taking the publicity of MNP to the level of engaging a media partner, making the information and the message get across in the masses.

I am sure the sponsors of PMD , especially the bigger ones, would not like the idea. Even the small ones who at first would like to see MNP helping them will appear supportive might not want to let the chaos loose. So the best entity for MNP promotion might be PTA. I am not sure if the USF could be used for such an activity (which does not come specifically under rural telecommunication infrastructure enhancement) but if financing this campaign is an issue, the money could be put to good use.

With right marketing and awareness, the PMD could soon be in need for more hardware and a license upgrade for the Telecordia MNP solution.

Dear PKNIC

Dear PKNIC,

Can we have a telephone number we can call you when there is an urgent need to do so? Yesterday, a fellow ISP had a problem in their domain record that apparently occurred at PKNIC’s end. The NS glue records were changed. The site disappeared. The emails were not going through. It was a sorry sight to see him ask around everyone about a PKNIC support telephone number they might know about. Of course he was short on luck.

We all know PKNIC doesn’t believe in having a public number to serve its paying customers.

In this era of voice over IP, unified communications, Instant Messaging and cheap (for North American businesses) BPO services, it is hard to believe that one of the core digital era services of an entire country like Pakistan would not have anything besides an email address to serve thousands of customers who are charged a fee for the service.

I am not debating how small or big the PKNIC fee structure is. I know PKNIC serves government and military domains for free (by the way, showing respect for the powerful used to be a shame in the past). I know PKNIC tries to remain democratic in its process development. I know PKNIC pays a lot to its DNS hosting company. We’d ben on these issue before too.

I am just asking one question: Can we have a number to call PKNIC in times of distress?

Last we checked, for business outfits, customers used to be the king. Or did I miss the news about PKNIC changing its status to a charity during the recent past?

PKNIC has been a great service to Pakistan. It was there when not a lot of people knew how essential a service it is for Pakistan and its digital future. Please make a phone number available for your paying customers.

I promise I wont be calling just to say ‘hi’.

An Otherwise Satisfied PKNIC Customer

MTC Interested in Warid?

Warid-MTC-News-Urdu A news appearing in Urdu, attributed to Associated Press of Pakistan says (translated for the primarily English readership here):

Islamabad (APP): Telecom service group of Kuwait, MTC has offered to buy Warid Telecom cellular services in Pakistan for $805 million. There have been two rounds of talks for the deal between the two groups in Dubai during the last two weeks. Warid sources have said that the MTC group is very actively looking to get engaged in the cellular business in Pakistan and is talking to Warid for such a possible acquisition. Sources have said that the two managements met in Dubai recently and MTC offered $805 million for acquiring Warid. Warid Telecom has not yet conveyed acceptance or otherwise of the offer back to MTC.

No other sources of the news could be tracked so the readers can take the newsbite with a pinch of salt.

Worldcall Trials RedMax

Worldcall is currently doing trials with Redline CommunicationsRedMax platform for its Wimax (802.16d) services in Karachi Sukkar. As the company nears its launch of CDMA voice services in Karachi with 83 cell cites and a launch date (of CDMA voice services) of 6th May 2007, the same real-estate and infrastructure would be put to use for its Wimax services for which the 3.5 GHz frequency is already in the kitty.

Speechless!

Who said a blogger cannot be short on words. I am.

Wateen Telecom has a news on its website.

Qtel & Burraq Deal

This half cooked news in The News (that probably evaded editorial quality review) was a mystery as the headline and the contents did not make any obvious co-relation.

However, a better done story later emerged here on The News (thanks to Mustafa @ BBPak).

Qtel is said to be buying Burraq Telecom for $30 million. Burraq Telecom was among several companies, which acquired LDI (long distance and international) and WLL (wireless local loop) licenses in 2004.

Apart from the regular LDI voice business, Burraq has been actively pursuing a Wimax strategy with Redline CommunicationsRedMax platform. A lot of new names that acquired the WLL license from PTA in 2004 never intended to go for basic telephony services as has been the case with Telecard, VPTCL and Worldcall’s CDMA based voice services. The strategy had been to acquire licensed frequency band in the 3.5 GHz range and offer data and Internet services in an under-served data market.