the-south-asian.com July / August 2006
2 of 10
Telecom & Software - Trends & Future in South Asia
published in December 2001
Telecom Raj - Bitter Harvest of Ignorance
The Telecom sector in India and Pakistan has consisted of the sole monopoly of the industry in the public sector / government bureaucrats' hands. These in turn were dominated by European Telephone Switch manufacturers monopolies - primarily Siemens , Alcatel, Ericsson.
Policies such as the prevention of putting Fax machines on the telephone
lines were in effect upto1980 in Pakistan. Small business telephone
exchanges were not allowed to be used without permission from the Telecom
authorities. Ironically when Fax machines were allowed in Pakistan , Telecom
revenues jumped as trade related Fax traffic with Japan and the West
in 1994 An Engineer in the Lahore Telecom Circle was not aware that a modem
could be used on a telephone line to transmit data.
last stand of these bodies is the prevention of the Internet Telephony
technology called Voice over Internet Protocol [ VO-IP]. This technology is
still being resisted as it would eat into the major portion of the
International long-distance revenues of the South Asian National PTTs. In
1995 a call from Lahore to Karachi cost the same as a call to London , U.K..
Long distance revenues were used by PTTs in South Asian countries to
subsidise local calls. Again the situation is similar to the banning of Fax
machines - lack of foresight , vision that volumes are the key to a business
that is a commodity now.
Similarly in the case of the allocation and selling of the wireless spectrum , arguments are still given by these Institutions about the national defence and security issues in an age when the introduction of encryption technologies makes nonsense of this line of reasoning. Valuable wealth making opportunities are being lost as time goes by and mindless ignorant and backward looking officials avoid making changes that can release our people from poverty and offer hope and opportunity very much as Grameen Telecom has done in Bangladesh. [ see The-South_Asian ---- issue ]
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