Pakistan’s PTCL to launch IPTV service

Throughout the world, IPTV has continued to grow in subscribers. This new technology has been pegged to be the next great internet breakthrough. France is tops in the industry, with the largest subscriber base. It is followed closely by Hong Kong, Spain, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Morocco, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Sweden.

In the past, Pakistan has lagged behind the rest of the region in broadband availability and especially in cost. It looks like the situation is set to change over the next few years due to policy and regulatory changes. Several companies are already in the process of preparing to offer the internet television services.

IPTV will be (and is) an important part this Lahori Generation. It offers Triple Play combination of phone, television, and internet services. Pakistan has the elements in place to become a part of this new world experience. It just has to step out and make it happen. I remember when WorldCALL first appeared to the Lahore with the introduction of their CableTV, they gave this idea of IPTV back in 2001 (I guess). But we ended up receiving Internet and Cable while they didn’t opt the License for Voice over Cable. Rather, they switched to their WLL – WorldCALL Wireless Local Loop service.

BrainNET I suppose is the only company in Lahore who is Unofficially full- functional (technically) to provide IPTV services. They are providing BrainTEL number along with Internet and TV (Test Transmission). Hence, they also haven’t opted the license for the TV broadcasting/rebroadcasting yet. They aren’t officially announcing the TV bit of their network on commercial basis.

So finally, PTCL – as expected – has won the first licence to launch an IPTV service in Pakistan, which will be a landmark development in the country’s telecom industry. Pemra will issue further licences to companies which meet the set criteria (I don’t know what it is).

Official statement states that:

The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) is planning to launch an IPTV service in Pakistan in October 2007, following clearance from the Director-General of the Pakistan Electronic Media regulatory Authority (Pemra).

The PTCL project is supported by Chinese telecom equipment firm Huawei and Netherlands-based content security company Irdeto. Huawei is to supply the servers and set-top boxes for the project, while Irdeto will provide the content security solutions.

With an employee strength of 65,000 (mostly redundant) and 5.7 million customers, PTCL is the largest telecommunications provider in Pakistan.

I hope for the best of the new introduction in the market.

[References: IPTV-Watch.co.uk, WorldCALL, PTCL, BrainNET, Huwei, Irdeto]

7 Comments so far

  1. Fastian (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 4:44 am

    Well, that’s a good news. (at least some progress)

    On the side note, I know what is PTCL but what the hell is PCTL?? (in your post)


  2. Opee (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 4:47 am

    LOL – oops I…. lol

    Let me fix it bro. Thanks for pointin’ out! :)


  3. binary-zero (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 8:21 am

    besides ambitious claims of many companies including Brain, our markeet is not ready for this and we still have doubts on Brain IPTV services – you cannot call it realy an IPTV service. IPTV needs huge huge investments and only big players like Wateen/PTCL/Nayatel (Micronet) can afford due to their infastructure. But all these are still under discussion in PK Telecom circles. You may would like to check http://groups.google.com/group/telecom-grid-pakistan/ .


  4. verysmart (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

    Now, lets comment on the IPTV fact. PTCL is launching IPTV over its DSL link. current PTCL subscriber base of fixed lines are at 6.5 Million all over the country. If we delete the offices, business and shops, there are maximum of 4.0 million fixed line home subscribers. Out of which a very few are/can be the DSL subscribers. due to the several fact a)low internet usage in our country b) we are a bloody uneducated mass c) very bad quality of last mile twisted pair of PTCL, it can be understood that the PTCL IPTV market stands nowhere more than 500,000 maximum, out of which the possible cutomers shall be around 25%, bringing the realistic figures to 125,000 customers at maximum.

    The PTCL IPTV transmission headend is situated centrally in Islamabad, powered by Huawei Yelecom’s transmission technology which is working on IGMP routing. meaning that if simualtaneously 20,000 customers are watching (lets say) STAR TV, then the single Multicast stream of signal will be directed from the headend to each of the the distributon hubs (city gateway exchanges in khi lhr, all other cities). This stream wil be of 2.0 Mbps only, considering the use of RTCP transmission streams (which huawei uses for IPTV). Now from the distribution hubs, multiple copies of the 2.0 Mbps streams will be sent to individual customer locations.

    This means, in order to watch one channel of IPTV (jitter and Lag free) a typical customer will require a 2.0 Mbps internet connection atleast. PTCL will sell the Customer Premies Equipment for reception of IPTV, for around Rs. 7000 after subsidizing (can also be priced on installements)

    Now since PTCL is planning to sell 1.0 Mbps of UNLIMITED Internet Connection at Rs 2500 per month, then we can safely say that a 2.0 Mbps connection will be around Rs.3,000 per month. Needlessely to add that when you are watching TV on a 2.0Mpbs connection you cant realy brwose internet, if you do the two things simultaneously, your IPTV channels will suffer a sudden death by shwoing you freezed frames and balnk screens.

    On top of it, only an esttimate of 10% of PTCL’s line mile connections are fit for DSL setup, most of them in new abadis, meaning the old and affeluent abadis like PECHS and clifton in Karachi, Gulberg and Adjoining Areas in Lahore and F6 and F8 in islamabad requires a total re-layng of last mile connections.

    now, how many customers PTCL is going to find who are willing to pay Rs 3000 or more to watch TV, and lets say even if one agrees to the service, will probably discover (with more than 60% of chances) that DSL cant work on his existing phone line, and he has to pay another 10,000Rs to PTCL to change the last mile pair from the DP (distribution point) to his home.

    TV transmission is a very STRICT NUMBERS GAME. you can only generate Advertisement Revenue over self generated channels if you can sell your ervice to masses and that too having to have clusters of customers in each locality. Coz this is how and why FMCGs buy airtime over your network.

    Although, being a technologist, I am all excited about the promise and the lure of the IPTV service, I, however am very skeptic about the existance of a viable business Plan.

    Lets pray that PTCL gets it right this time.

    To my understanding DTH is the treu future of Digital TV in Pakistan. PTV, ARY and GEO are the three license holders, and I anticipate that PTCL’s IPTV will be a real seat warmer for the DTH services.


  5. Opee (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 6:10 pm

    *Opee faints to see the loooong comments and all the knowledge people have* :|


  6. Pretty Simple (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 6:33 pm

    jago OP jago…u dint change PCTL, what r u waiting for? :D another LONG comment.


  7. binary-zero (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 7:30 pm

    nice once verysmart :D



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