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PTCL sale , on again? December 23, 2005

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Looks like the Abu Dhabi people have managed to get major concessions, but the Privatisation Commission has managed to keep the agreed price.

Etisalat, PTCL agree to resolve pending issues

21 December 2005

ABU DHABI — The Government of Pakistan and Etisalat have reached an agreement on the sale of 26 per cent stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL), ending months of uncertainties about the nation’s landmark privatisation programme.

Pakistan’s Minister for Privatisation and Investment Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who arrived in the capital yesterday morning, had a one-to-one meeting with Etisalat chairman Mohammed Omram and finalised the pending issues. Etisalat appreciated the transparency of the process and the professional approach of the Pakistan government.

The Government of Pakistan appreciated the firm interest and commitment of Etisalat to the privatisation process of PTCL.

Dr Abdul Hafeez, while talking to Khaleej Times stated that a team from Etisalat would be arriving in Pakistan next week to finalise the transaction, which is expected to be completed in January 2006. He did comment on the modalities of the transaction.

It may be recalled that Etisalat had been declared the successful bidder after it had outbid China Mobile and Sing Tel by offering $2.6 billion for the acquisition of 26 per cent stake in PTCL.

Omran said: “We are pleased to announce that our talks with the Government of Pakistan representatives resulted in resolution of all issues. We are looking forwards towards participating in the dynamic telecom sector in Pakistan to the benefit of the shareholders of both Etisalat and PTCL.”

Yesterday’s agreement to end the three-month long deadlock comes in the wake of a reported offer by Pakistan to a staggered payment structure of up to five years, which was one of the key demands raised by Etisalat.

For the 26 per cent stake in PTCL, Etisalat has offered to pay $2.6 billion, which is more than $1 billion higher than the second bidder. After failing to meet the payment deadlines, the UAE telecom operator raised several issues to salvage the deal. Those included deferred payment structure; ability to pledge the acquired shares; right to increase shareholding via a ‘call option’ for additional ‘A’ class shares; allowing dual listing of PTCL shares in UAE; management agreement; exemption from withholding tax; waiver of duties & taxes; custom duty waiver and ability to transfer acquired shares.”


Pakistan’s National Carrier Selects iBasis as First VoIP Interconnection for International Voice Services December 20, 2005

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Press Release.

BURLINGTON, MA— December 19, 2005 — iBasis, Inc. (OTCBB: IBAS), a leader in international long distance, VoIP, and prepaid calling cards, today announced that Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), the national carrier of Pakistan, has interconnected with The iBasis Network(TM) for international VoIP services. The interconnection enables PTCL to route international voice traffic over The iBasis Network, the leading global VoIP network, as well as complete calls for iBasis over its extensive network in Pakistan.

PTCL has taken advantage of the iBasis DirectVoIP(TM) interoperability solution to implement a direct IP connection between its Huawei IP Backbone infrastructure and iBasis’ global VoIP network, which comprises direct routes to more than 100 countries. Huawei is one of many iBasis DirectVoIP Certified equipment providers, which simplified the process of interconnecting the PTCL infrastructure to iBasis’ Cisco Powered™ network.

With the encouragement of the Pakistani government, PTCL is continuing its technology leadership by moving forward with VoIP. Through the interconnection with iBasis, PTCL is helping Pakistani people at home and abroad benefit from the lower costs of VoIP while receiving toll-quality international service. iBasis is benefiting from PTCL’s extensive resources in the country and gaining greater capacity, quality, and cost efficiency for its traffic to Pakistan.

“PTCL is an innovative incumbent carrier embracing the benefits of VoIP to enhance the Pakistan’s communications capabilities,” said Ofer Gneezy, president and CEO of iBasis. “We look forward to helping them to expand their VoIP services even while we leverage this relationship to grow our traffic to Pakistan.”

About PTCL

PTCL is the leading provider of voice, data, and Internet services in Pakistan. The company has deployed an extensive state-of-the-art digital network and strives to take advantage of leading-edge technologies to deliver innovative services cost-efficiently. The Company can be reached at http://www.ptcl.com.pk.

About iBasis

Founded in 1996, iBasis (OTCBB: IBAS) is a leading wholesale carrier of international long distance telephone calls and a provider of retail prepaid calling services, including the Pingo® web-based offering (www.pingo.com) and disposable calling cards, which are sold through major distributors and available at retail stores throughout the U.S. iBasis customers include many of the largest telecommunications carriers in the world, including AT&T, Cable & Wireless, China Mobile, China Unicom, MCI, Sprint, Skype, and Telefonica. iBasis carried approximately 5 billion minutes of international voice over IP (VoIP) traffic in 2004, and is one of the ten largest carriers of international voice traffic in the world1. For four consecutive years service providers named iBasis the best international wholesale carrier in ATLANTIC-ACM’s annual International Wholesale Carrier Report Card2. iBasis was also ranked among the fastest-growing technology companies in New England in the 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 Technology Fast 50 programs sponsored by Deloitte & Touche. The Company can be reached at its worldwide headquarters in Burlington, Massachusetts, USA at 781-505-7500 or on the Internet at http://www.ibasis.com.

Mirror for Internet F-root name server deployed in Karachi December 17, 2005

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Apnic has been deploying root name servers in geographically diverse locations. It looks like its now Pakistans turn. This is the first root name server deployed in Pakistan and should bring improvements in speed and reliability to internet users in Pakistan, or at least to those using Cybernet. The utility will only be spread out to everyone if there is peering between the ISPs.



KARACHI (December 15 2005): The Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) has deployed a mirror of the Internet F-root name server, which becomes operational in Karachi from Wednesday.

This is the first “root name server” deployed in Pakistan and would bring significant improvements in speed and reliability to Internet users in Pakistan and the surrounding region.

The APNIC is one of the five regional Internet registries currently operating in the world and provides allocation and registration services that support the operation of the Internet globally. APNIC provides Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to network operators in the Asia-Pacific region.

APNIC has co-ordinated deployment with Cyber Internet Services (CyberNet) and Internet Software Consortium (ISC).

The installation of the root server in Karachi has been made possible by the Internet Service Provider Association of Pakistan (ISPAK), with financial and logistical support from APNIC as well as hosting support by the CyberNet along with transit services.

The root servers are a critical part of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS), providing information about authoritative servers for the many top-level domains like “(dot com), (dot org), (dot pk), and (dot uk).

The computers need this information to interpret URLs, e-mail addresses and perform other types of Internet transactions.

APNIC Director General Paul Wilson hoped that deployment of this root name server in Pakistan would bring the total number of root DNS servers in the Asia-Pacific region to 26, 18 of which have been made possible with the APNIC’s support.

Pakistan is at the forefront of a rapid revolutionary change encompassing information technology and telecommunications, he added.

Recently, “Pakistan has observed significant growth in this sector with double and even triple-digit growth on year-on-year basis,” he said. A significant contributor to this endeavour, CyberNet, has maintained its momentum towards progressive technologies with the commitment to serve the Internet community.

Such feat of CyberNet is being achieved through the transit provisioning of the mentioned root name server, substantially improving the Internet experience in Pakistan, he added.

This pioneering organisation had always played its due role, in conjunction with the international groups and domestic organisations, as a proactive promoter of Internet usage, while dynamically improving the delivery of its nation-wide services, Paul said.

He also said, “The deployment of this root name server in Pakistan is a positive example of Internet community co-ordination. The installation has involved the private sector, not-for-profit organisations and government bodies working together to improve DNS stability and Internet response times for developing countries in South Asia.”

ISPAK President Ansar-ul-Haq said, “This root server will improve the Internet service in the country and save browsing time.

He said in case of outage the Web sites remain operational in the country and will not affect the Web-based services.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2005

Telecard provides VNO services to other carriers December 14, 2005

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Lowering the barriers to entry…

KARACHI, December 13 (Online): Telecard is now providing Virtual Network Operator (VNO) services to other carriers in Pakistan.

Telecard, which is fulfilling the role of the alternate telecom service provider has commenced providing VNO services to other carriers, said a release issued here on Monday.

It means the other carriers can utilize the Telecard infrastructure backbone to provide telecom related information communication facilities including long distance and international calling card, PCO, WLL and BWA for voice and data to their respective customers.

By providing such services Telecard is playing its due role in the reduction of the digital divide and spreading the benefits of information and communication technologies to the people of Pakistan.

Firm violates fiber optic contract with Pakistan Railways December 14, 2005

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Typical DAWN report. No names, finger pointing gossip.

Firm violates contract with Pakistan Railways
KARACHI: Firm violates contract with Pakistan Railways

By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, Dec 13: A fibre optic line is being laid by a private firm along the railway track in contravention of the agreement reached between the firm and the Pakistan Railways, it was reliably learnt on Tuesday.

Well-placed sources in the PR said that an agreement was reached between a private company and the railways about laying a fibre optic line along the railway line between the Drigh and City railway stations.

According to map specifications, the line would be laid 5-ft deep from ground level and 120 yards away from the railway tracks.

The design and specification was approved after physical inspection by the Federal Government Inspector of Railway (FJIR). The map specification was handed over to the Karachi Division office of the department concerned and the original map was kept at the PR headquarters in Lahore.

However, the sources said that the map went missing in Karachi and the work was initiated on a photocopy of the map specification, which showed that the private firm was allowed to lay a fibre optic line along the railway tracks from Drigh Station to Keamari and Wazir Mansion Railway Station.

Work on laying the fibre optic cable was in progress and the line was being laid hardly 2-ft deep from ground level while it was exposed at some places, the sources claimed, adding that laying of any kind of line along the tracks was strictly prohibited according to rules and regulations of the Pakistan Railways. The only line – for train signalling system – was allowed to be laid a few feet away from the tracks, they maintained.

The sources said that the private firm had deposited a fee for laying the line from Drigh Station to City Station, and it had been laying the line up to Wazir Mansion in violation of the agreement causing loss to the PR’s exchequer.

They said that the matter had been brought to the notice of the railway headquarters in Lahore but no action had been taken so far.