I have just come across a post on Yahoo Groups by Wahaj-Us-Siraj, CEO Micronet (Pioneer DSL ISP of Pakistan) and CEO Nayatel (Pioneer FTTH service provider in south Asia). This post describes a new decision made by PTA (Pakistan Telecom Authority). According to the decision there will be no scratch cards for dial-up internet connections in Pakistan. The user will dial a dial-up number of any ISP of his choice and he will get connected to the internet! The post is quoted below.
"As you’d probably aware that PTCL about a month back, launched free dialup Internet service for all its telephone customers. The decision was proving to be a final nail in coffin of ailing ISP industry which in past has witnessed many onslaughts, predatory pricings anti-competitive moves from the state owned incumbent (now partially privately owned), PTCL.
The ISP industry approached the regulator, PTA and hearings were held wherein PTA desired to formulate a long term model for betterment of all stakeholders, PTCL, ISPs and the Internet users. After detailed discussions and deliberations, a new model for dialup ISPs is being emerged wherein all ISPs including PTCL would provide free dialup access to the customers through 131 access. ISPs would advertise/market their service on service quality, customer support, etc., and access would be open for all PTCL phone users to connect to Internet using any ISP’s username and password. PTCL would charge one local call for every 20 minutes for Internet users and this revenue would be shared between PTCL (30%) and ISPs (70%) in case of ISPs POP being located in same area codes of calls origination. In case of calls originating from outside area codes, this revenue share would be reversed, PTCL 70% and ISPs 30%. Long distance Internet calls (from area codes where ISPs are not located) would still be charged at the cost of local call/20 minute.
There would be no scratch cards for the ISPs and customer’s would be billed in their PTCL’s monthly bill for a local call of 20 minutes duration. This would mean Rs. 6/hour of dialup Internet for the users. Currently, the Internet scratch cards are being sold at Rs. 2 to 4/hr. With one local call per hour, the expense of users was around Rs. 5-6/hr. Industry standard (in Pakistan) duration of Internet calls is 20 to 30 minutes. So for the users, there would be hardly any change in the charges. Users would also have more choices to use any ISP they like and would be billed in PTCL’s bill at the end of every month.
This new regime is expected to be announced within next few days.
That's great! It means that the dial up users will only have to dial a 131 dial-up number of their choice and they will get the service of the relevant ISP. No scratch cards, no outage of scratch card limits and eventually no more degraded performance due to to heavy traffic! ( because the user will be able to switch the ISP suddenly)
This will not only add to the user experience but will also add to the revenue of the ISPs in the following manners:
1) The expense of scratch card publishing and delivery will be eliminated.
2) There will be no need for ISPs to lessen per hour charges to beat the competitors.
A bad move of PTCL - the try to kill the ISP competition - has eventually ended in a very positive thing!