Thursday, March 12, 2009

PSEB issued LOI for Establishment of First National IT Park in Islamabad

Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) has issued Letter of Intent (LOI) to International Consortium (TelcoNet, Axor Group Inc Canada and Technopolis Plc, Finland) for the establishment of first state-of-the-art National IT Park, at Chak Shahazad, Islamabad. The IT Park will be developed on Built Operate and Transfer (BOT) model on 14.90 acres of land. After the successful negotiations with the international consortium within next three months, the construction will commence in January 2009 and the project is expected to be completed by January 2011. With an expected development cost of more than 9 billion rupees, the park will provide 1.5 million sq ft. of contemporary state-of-the-art office space to local and international IT companies.

"PSEB/ Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) has set a challenging mission of developing network of IT parks across the country and this park is the first milestone towards this mission. This is a landmark project for the Pakistan IT Industry which will house more than 10,000 employees. In addition to providing affordable and quality IT enabled work space for companies, this parks will generate more employment opportunities, bring in foreign investment, enhance IT/ITeS exports and stimulate economic growth. To sustain the current growth rate of the IT industry, three more IT Parks will be developed by PSEB in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad on BOT Model basis, for which land at prime locations has already been acquired. PSEB intends to further extend this network in Peshawar, Quetta and other cities at some appropriate time in future". Mr. Talib Baloch, MD PSEB said in a statement issued here. 

IT / Knowledge parks have been instrumental to the promotion of knowledge based economies in developed and emerging economies and facilitate clustering of knowledge based firms and stakeholders providing capital, research innovation, and other services. Other benefits of these parks include promotion of business synergies and facilitation of access to capital, infrastructure, human capital and policy incentives. In developing countries like Pakistan with much needed physical and energy infrastructure, PSEB's IT Parks will provide world class infrastructure – smart buildings, reliable bandwidth and electricity, and security – that is required for the success of knowledge based firms in IT, nanotechnology, bio-informatics and other related areas,

 MD PSEB added. 

Also, to fulfill immediate office space requirement, PSEB is negotiating with several building owners both in public and private sector to convert existing suitable facilities into IT Parks. PSEB is currently managing more than 700,000 square feet of office space in 10 IT parks across the country. 

PSEB is a Government agency mandated to promote Pakistan's IT Industry, including software, IT enabled services, hardware and call centers locally and globally. PSEB has been facilitating the IT Industry through its programs in Human Capital, Office Space, Marketing, Company Capability Development, Telecom Bandwidth, Industry Finance, Public Policy, Strategy & Research, and Facilitation.

Pakistan ready for 3G

The Government representation has said that Pakistan is ready for the introduction of the 3G spectrum for telecommunication. This was announced at an interactive one-day seminar titled 'Has the clock struck 3G?' in Islamabad to discuss the future of 3G telecommunication in Pakistan. The seminar, hosted by the SouthAsia Forum – a private sector think tank, highlighted key challenges in the advent of 3G and provided a platform for a candid discussion on the much debated subject of whether the Pakistani market is mature enough for it.

The seminar was jointly sponsored by Telenor Pakistan and Nokia Siemens Networks with the PTA and Huawei Technologies co-sponsoring the event. The seminar was inaugurated and chaired by the Chairman PTA Dr. Mohammed Yaseen. He assured all present of the PTA's cooperation and support towards the introduction of new technology and said that the PTA would soon be inviting applications for the 3G spectrum. The Chairman praised the thriving telecom sector of the country and its growth of 40% since last year. Earlier the SouthAsia Forum Chairman Syed Jawaid Iqbal introduced the concept of the seminar and thanked the regulator and participating companies for coming forward to address this important issue faced by the telecom industry in the country. 

Other participants of the seminar included Noor-ud-Din Baqai, Member Telecom, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT), Mudassar Hussain, Director Telecom, MoITT, Jon Eddy Abdullah, CEO Telenor Pakistan, Irfan Wahab Khan, Executive Vice President, Telenor Pakistan, Saad Muzaffar Waraich, Country Director, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), Lasse Makinen, Member Global 3G Team, NSN, Bernard Tam, Expert, Business Consultant Group, Huawei Technologies, Faisal Ijaz Khan, Warid Telecom, Aadil Rauf, MD Nortel Networks and Mian Mohammad Saleem, Deloitte Pakistan.

The seminar on the future of mobile communication served to provide a common platform to discuss issues, suggest solutions, share strategies and request policy support. Telecom operators were of the view that the 3G auction should be carried out soon as possible to provide broadband to the masses without delay and gap the digital divide. The event ended on the note that the groundwork for the launch of the 3G spectrum is complete and that it would not be too long before actual introduction of the new technology.

Oracle chooses Pakistani students for graduate development

Oracle has selected five Pakistani students for its Asia Pacific Graduate Development Program. The five graduate trainees from Pakistan were short-listed from among 250 applicants after a series of interviews and other selection activities designed to evaluate their communication skills, problem solving abilities, creativity, initiative, leadership, entrepreneurial spirit and lateral thinking abilities. 

This first ever group from Pakistan are graduates from leading universities, including NUST School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, SZABIST and FAST-NU. 

The Graduate Development Program involves 24 months of training for select graduates who receive training to build key business competencies such as communication and presentation skills, motivational skills, change management, planning and organizational skills, effective team building and teamwork. Oracle grooms graduate trainees for business software consulting, sales and sales-consulting opportunities with the company. 

Oracle's Asia Pacific Graduate Development Program is open to meritorious graduates from various fields including Computer Science, Information Systems and Business Administration, from recognized universities in the region. 

"Pakistan's economic and technological uplift depends largely on one factor - capacity building. Training for young Pakistanis, who constitute about half our total population, is the surest way to secure steady economic growth," said Samina Rizwan, Regional Director of Oracle SAGE-West. "Oracle's Graduate Development Program is a step towards helping Pakistani students enter the global knowledge economy." The Graduate Development Program is run by Oracle in various countries to groom promising graduates. Successful candidates can look forward to an exciting career with the global software and services leader. 

Different by design, the Graduate Development Program readies fresh graduates for real-world professional challenges by providing trainees the opportunity to work on real projects, with clients and deliverables. They are given access to various information, tools, resources and continuous development opportunities relevant to their professional growth. 

Motorola to deploy WiMAX network in Pakistan for Wi-tribe

Motorola, Inc. today announced that it has signed a multi-year WiMAX contract with wi-tribe Pakistan limited, the all-new wireless broadband Internet provider to enter the country.

Motorola will supply infrastructure and a comprehensive services package that will enable cost-effective, compelling wireless broadband services for wi-tribe's customers.

wi-tribe Pakistan Limited is a joint venture between Qatar Telecom (Qtel) and Saudi Arabia's A.A. Turki Group of Companies (ATCO). wi-tribe aims to deliver instant wireless broadband connectivity from North Africa across the Middle East and up to Asia (AMESA region).

"WiMAX is changing the way people are connecting and is opening doors to a new world of opportunities," said Mohammad Sadiq, CEO of wi-tribe Pakistan limited. "We will be offering high-speed Internet that is simple, affordable, and a portable alternative to fixed broadband. The Motorola WiMAX solution frees customers from the fixed line services."

Ali Amer, vice president sales, Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, Motorola Home & Networks Mobility, said: "WiMAX will become a driving force in Pakistan. This is why Motorola stands at the forefront of such an important industry standard that enables progressive service providers such as wi-tribe to launch high-speed, rich, yet affordable communications services."

Motorola will begin deploying wi-tribe's WiMAX network from this month in the 3.5GHz spectrum. Commercial launch is expected during 2009. Motorola will supply award-winning equipment from its WiMAX portfolio including the WAP 400 WiMAX access point, which features diversity MIMO antenna capabilities to enable strong indoor penetration.

wi-tribe is an online community to join and connect with the world. Across The Qtel Group's footprint that stretches from North Africa to the South Pacific, wi-tribe can deliver cost-effective internet access to emerging markets: becoming a driver of growth in connectivity. Plug in and Go – wi-tribe offers unrivalled simplicity of operation and a passion for customer service. Ground-breaking WiMAX technology allows instant connection to the Internet through satellite technology. International Presence – wi-tribe has its corporate office in the Kingdom of Bahrain, with Jordan becoming the first wi-tribe enabled market in 2008.

Corporate partners – wi-tribe was founded by two shareholders. The Qtel Group is one of the fastest growing telecommunications services providers with a presence in 16 markets in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia and A.A. Turki Group of Companies (ATCO) is one the leading companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. wi-tribe enjoys a comprehensive partnership with Clearwire, one of the world's leading broadband wireless operators in North America and Europe.

U.S. Department of State forms tele-medicine public-private partnership to improve healthcare in Pakistan

The U.S. Department of State has formed a telemedicine public-private partnership in Pakistan, demonstrating the transformative power of high speed connectivity in improving social services in remote areas. Other partners include IBM, Wateen Telecom, Motorola, Medweb, USAID, the U.S. Department of Defense Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Center, Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, District Headquarters Hospital in Attock, and the Government of Pakistan. In addition, The U.S. Embassy's involvement has been critical to the project's success.

Telemedicine enables healthcare providers to deliver high quality medical services for patients in remote locations – services that would otherwise be lacking or absent. The public-private partnership is using telemedicine to help broaden and strengthen technical capabilities supporting the "hub," Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, with the "spoke" in District Attock. "Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world – a nation of 173 million people," said internationally recognized telemedicine expert and surgeon, Dr. Asif Zafar. "The goal of this project is to highlight technology's ability to overcome a significant healthcare imbalance – more than 75 percent of the population lives in rural areas but only 22 percent of the doctors work there."

In addition to assembling this public-private partnership, the U.S. Government contributed $220,000 to purchase state-of-the-art telemedicine equipment and services to operate the project. The equipment combines an Internet-access portal including interactive collaboration tools such as secure email, voice and video conferencing on a secure telemedicine network with advanced medical peripheral devices such as portable ultrasound, digital cameras, EKG, stethoscope and X-ray machines.

Wateen Telecom and Motorola are the first companies in the world to roll-out a cutting edge WIMAX network on a nationwide scale. WIMAX enables wireless broadband access, allowing the exchange of massive amounts of information between the District Hospital in Attock and Holy Family Hospital. The new system leverages the low-cost, ubiquitous power of the Internet to connect hub hospitals to what the team hopes will be an increasing number of spoke clinics. In addition, the system can access and engage the help of medical experts working at some of the most elite medical institutions in Pakistan and around the world.

The Pakistan telemedicine project has already provided expanded medical care to hundreds of patients – pre-operative planning and follow-up; cardiac assessment; opthamology, dermatology, radiology, infectious disease, and peri-natal evaluations; and medical triage for traumas and acute illness.

"The U.S. Department of State, through the Pakistan Telemedicine Project, is demonstrating the transformative power of telecommunications technology under the U.S. Government's Digital Freedom Initiative, which seeks to encourage the spread of technology to the developing world," said Ferial Saeed, Deputy U.S. Coordinator & Office Director for International Communications & Information Policy. "Telecommunications technology not only underpins global economic growth and development but also can be used to promote good government and good governance – from online medical and educational initiatives that deliver services and opportunity to people and places too often overlooked, to e-government programs that increase the public trust. Under this public-private partnership, we hope to demonstrate how technology and Internet-based connectivity can significantly improve the quality of life for remote populations."

The Pakistan Telemedicine Project extends the United States-Pakistan Strategic Partnership, which was formed in 2006. The broad, long-term partnership of the U.S. and Pakistani Governments reinforces the possibility of collaborative projects like this one, which has had the opportunity to transform and improve the lives of many Pakistanis. Since 2002 the United States has provided more than $3.4 billion to Pakistan to improve economic growth, education, health, and governance and to assist with earthquake reconstruction.

Telenor Pakistan enters a new era of energy management

Telenor Pakistan has launched another environment-friendly initiative by using solar energy to power one of its Base Transceiver System (BTS) tower at Havelian, NWFP. Telenor Pakistan was the first telecom company which took the initiative to explore use of solar energy for commercial sites. 

Solar electrical energy conversion system is an alternate and renewable source. Telenor Pakistan had first used solar energy to power one of its transmission repeater sites in NWFP back in August 2007, becoming the first telecom company to use solar energy in Pakistan. Now it has launched a solar electrical power energy system that will completely facilitate a commercial site. 

Acting Chief Technical Officer Telenor Pakistan Atiq Ahmed inaugurating the Solar Powered BTS Tower observed that "Keeping in mind the energy crisis and oil price escalations in Pakistan, we believe that Solar energy is one of the most efficient yet under-utilized alternate energy sources in Pakistan." "We, at Telenor Pakistan, believe in growing responsibly. We support the cause of combating global warming and are always looking for eco-friendly solutions," he added 

Solar energy can be converted into electrical energy by using solar electrical energy conversion system. It has many advantages -- it is non-polluting, noiseless and saves frequent corrective maintenance visits. 

Telenor Pakistan plans to continue with such bold and progressive plans to employ alternate energy resources for meeting its requirement as these sources of energy are environmental-friendly and reduce the use of normal fossil fuel based energy.

PTCL announces free dial-up Internet, competitors express concerns

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has decided to offer free internet service to all its customers, effective from October 18, 2008.

Dr Sadik Al-Jadir, SEVP Commercial stated, "With this perspective, PTCL, the largest IP service provider in Pakistan now brings a revolutionary offer for all its landline subscribers which is unmatched anywhere in the world. 

At PTCL Dr. Sadik said "we strive to create value for our customers. We put value creation first and pursue it with a passion to achieve excellence and facilitate our customers". 

Effective October 18th, 2008, all our landline subscribers will have dial-up internet services free of charge. 

All PTCL landline subscribers can now experience the best dial up speeds with unlimited internet usage during night hours from 10:00pm to 07:00am. Furthermore subscribers can also avail up to 100 hours of free dialup internet on monthly basis from 0:700 am to 10:00pm every day. 

In order to access the internet our subscriber can simply dial 131-77777 with "ptcl" as login and password. 

From October 18th, 2008, PTCL customers availing unlimited dial up internet package of Rs. 199/month will not be charged anymore. However, customer exceeding 100 hr of free internet during day time will be charged as per existing tariff of PTCL dial up internet at Rs. 6 per hour.

In addition, PTCL is also shifting customers of value plus (Rs. 75/month for 20 hrs of dial up internet) to basic plus which has no additional charges effective from 1st November 2008. 

Dr. Sadik also added, "We at PTCL can do this since we have the best IP network infrastructure and the associated international internet connectivity capable of supporting a very large user base. Hence serving the aspirations of Pakistan to join the leading countries of the world in internet penetration and usage."

We will also be replacing our existing promotional offers with new offers on regular basis to create more value for customers. In this connection, this Free Internet offer has replaced our limited time (3 months) free local calls promotion allowing free local calls between 11pm to 6am which has ended in October. 

The Half Rate Sundays' promotion is another value addition to the PTCL landline which offers half rates on all local, nationwide and mobile calls made on Sundays. This promotion is effective from October 5, 2008.

Dr. Sadik stated "PTCL continues to strive to serve our customers better by creating value and shall soon be marketing more innovative and attractive products and offers in the future". 

Internet service providers (ISPs) across the country have expressed their concerns on this 'Free Internet' offer by PTCL. Analysts believe this is an anti-competitive move by PTCL.

PTCL signs agreement with Telenor Pakistan to offer Skylink Satellite communication services

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited has signed an agreement with Telenor Pakistan for provision of its Skylink brand Satellite communication services. PTCL will provide the Skylink advanced satellite communication solution to enable backhaul of GSM traffic from Telenor Pakistan sites located in rural and remote areas to PTCL hub station located near Islamabad.

Speaking on the occasion, the Executive Vice President (Carrier Services) PTCL, Mr. Jamshed Masood said that PTCL is following an aggressive strategy to be the number one carrier of choice for telecomm operators in Pakistan and is expanding its portfolio of services to facilitate its carrier and wholesale customers. The introduction of Skylink satellite communication services is a key milestone in pursuing PTCL's carrier business strategy and demonstrates PTCL's commitment to the business as well as its carrier customers.

SkyLink is PTCL's state of the art satellite communication service primarily used to connect remote sites to PTCL's hub station located near Islamabad. The service is based on standard C-Band satellite frequency, preferred for carrier grade services on account of superior physical characteristics such as low rain fade and atmospheric attenuation. It offers uniform service levels for all locations and is readily available across the country. This will enable customers to expeditiously position themselves into new markets.

SkyLink VSAT networks are fully managed and monitored by PTCL's centralized Network Management Centre (NMC), which keeps track of the status of all network elements, and is the single point of contact for all network issues. Skylink service has emerged to be the preferred solution for all communication needs of Cellular operators in remote and inaccessible areas of the country.

PTCL takes broadband to over 100 cities

Pakistan's largest telecom operator - PTCL - has taken another lead after it became the first company in Pakistan to provide Broadband services in over 100 cities across the country, whereas before PTCL's entry into the Broadband market in 2007, Broadband was primarily only available in the 3 major cities of the country. PTCL is spearheading the spread of broadband culture in Pakistan, where till a couple of years back there was little awareness in the market about the broadband & multimedia technologies, nor were there any significant players entering the field to cater for the mass market with high speed internet access.

Since its Broadband launch in May 2007, PTCL has made the broadband technology affordable by lowering the barriers to entry and also by geographically bringing the service within the reach of a common user across Pakistan.

While taking about PTCL's broadband service on achieving this important milestone, Dr. Sadik Al-Jadir SEVP Commercial PTCL stated that "PTCL initiates, innovates and looks forward to change as an opportunity. We implement new ideas to create value and do this at all levels and in all functions, within and outside the organization".

Dr. Sadik Al-Jadir, further stated, "PTCL is aspired to provide broadband access to all internet users in Pakistan. Being the largest IP service provider, we have a vision to provide broadband access in all cities throughout the country."

PTCL has now successfully provisioned broadband services in 103 major cities and towns i.e. Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Hala, Sukkur, Jacobabad, Khairpur, Larkana, Multan, Bhaipheru, Okara, Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Faisalabad, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Abbottabad, Attock, GujarKhan, Jehlum, Peshawar, Quetta alongside other small towns and cities across Pakistan. Expansion of PTCL broadband network will continue, providing more of its landline subscribers an opportunity to experience the latest in broadband and related technologies.One of the main reasons for growth in PTCL Broadband services has been its customer segmentation and geographical reach. For example PTCL's broadband facilitates the segment that relies most on high speed connectivity i.e. the students. Special packages for this segment along with services such as free dial up service for its Broadband customers and FREE access to movies, music, classical Pakistani dramas and cricket matches, educational and religious content for its Broadband customers - branded under 'PTCL BUZZ', this complete web infotainment content portal is made exclusive only to PTCL Broadband subscribers. In addition to these value additions, from now PTCL is also offering a free personalized e-mail account exclusively to its broadband users.

In August this year PTCL entered the media sector by launching an interactive television service for the first time in Pakistan. Branded under 'PTCL Smart Line', the service includes Interactive Television, Broadband and voice Telephony all at the same time on PTCL's telephone line. The most revolutionary section of this offering is the ability to rewind and pause live TV channels, the ability to block/unblock any TV channel for parental lock and the ability to search through video on demand content. The Brand 'PTCL Smart' was introduced for PTCL products that have functions that are more intelligent than their normal versions, such as Smart Line and Smart TV. Currently the service is available in the three metros Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and will be expanded into all the major broadband cities during the year.

Microsoft launches Imagine Cup 2009 & Innovation Accelerator Program in Pakistan

Microsoft launches Imagine Cup 2009 & Innovation Accelerator Program in Pakistan

Microsoft Corporation launched the global Imagine Cup 2009 and Innovation Accelerator Program in Pakistan in the presence of a large crowd at Usman Institute of Technology Auditorium (Islamabad) comprising of students and faculty members from some of the leading Institutes of Pakistan. The Imagine Cup and Innovation Accelerator Program provide an opportunity for students to win an all-expense paid trip to Egypt and turn their technical products into commercial businesses. 

The Imagine Cup is a global student technology competition focused on finding solutions to real-world issues. The competition encourages the world's most talented software designers, programmers, game developers, photographers and filmmakers to "Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today." Imagine Cup 2009 will be held in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt where students will be asked to create software solutions that are aligned to one of the UNDP's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight MDGs range from halving extreme poverty and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS to providing universal primary education. 

"Imagine Cup provides a forum for students around the world to explore new ways to use the power of software to help address some of the world's toughest challenges," said Mr. Kamal Ahmed, Country Manager, Microsoft Pakistan. "The high caliber of the students and their projects is evidence of the high level of innovation seen in the student community today, with a clear potential for real-world impact." 

Microsoft's Innovation Accelerator Program is designed to propel the Imagine Cup Software Design teams into the next stage of developing their innovative ideas as a business. Teams selected for the Innovation Accelerator program receive technical support and business coaching to create the must-have technology and communications applications of the future.

PTCL signs GIS agreement with LMKR Pakistan

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd. (PTCL) and LMKR have signed an agreement for the deployment of a turnkey GIS solution. The solution will enable PTCL to better manage Access and Transmission networks and inside plant (OSP and ISP) infrastructure including its copper and optical fiber network. The GIS component will offer greater visibility to the technical staff by providing quantitative and qualitative spatial information about the capacity and integrity of the PTCL network and pinpoint faults and issues when they arise.

The project will be carried out in phases with the Islamabad region being covered in Phase-I. According to the scope of the project, the system will eventually be implemented across Pakistan and will become the only project of its kind to be put into practice on this scale in the South Asia region

Warid Telecom & Trafco Group renew agreement, sign VoIP & data communication contract

Warid Telecom (Pvt.) Ltd. and Trafco Group renewed their agreement and signed another contract through which Trafco Group will utilize voice and data communication services of the GSM and EDGE network of Warid Telecom.

Warid Telecom is providing voice and communications services through its state of the art GSM and EDGE network to Trafco since May 2006. Both Trafco and Warid have enjoyed and benefited from the partnership and has decided to strengthen the business relationship by extending the service contract for another year.

Warid Telecom's Acting Chief Executive Officer- Faisal Khan and Trafco Group's Chairman- Tahir Malik signed the agreements in an impressive ceremony which was attended by corporate leaders and leading members of the business community. Board Member Warid Telecom Pervez A. Shahid graced the ceremony with his presence. Warid's Chief Commercial Officer Thomas Yeo along with other senior officials of Warid and Trafco were also present at the occasion.


Pakistan's First in-car GPS Navigation and Maps Introduced

Data Solutions (Pvt) Ltd and Tracking World (Pvt) Ltd are offering Pakistan's very first in-car GPS system. Initially in detail maps are available for major Pakistani cities (including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Multan, Gujranwala and Wah Cantt) and all major national highways.
Streets are labeled and searchable for Islamabad, Lahore and some parts of Karachi. In addition there are close to 40,000 POIs (point of interests) such as fuel/CNG stations, banks, ATMs, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, shops, etc. You may find address and phone number information for most of POIs.
In-Car GPS is made possible through Garmin GPS units. These navigation units range from in-car dash mounted devices to devices for motorbikes. There is also a unit which can be integrated with the vehicle's LCD and displays the navigational information on it.
Initially in-detailed maps would be available for selected cities They say that they had been developing maps for Pakistan for last two years, and now they are ready to launch GPS services next week through an
Lahore based Tracking World say that, customers can pay one time fee for these navigation units and map to use GPS service for life time. They won't charge you any monthly subscription fee or data transfer fee afterwords, thanks to their partnership with cellular companies.
Users will have to purchase one navigational device and map to kick going.
Once configured, users can input for POIs or location addresses in navigation device, which will speak out or guide drivers through screen to reach destinations.
Devices' price: Ranges from $399 to $599
Map Price: $120


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