Media is abuzz with news about reduction in force and restructuring at PTCL, soonÃ‚Â afterÃ‚Â the announcement of financial resultsÃ‚Â which showedÃ‚Â 25% drop in annual profit.Ã‚Â I have provided various views and news about PTCLÃ‚Â before. Going through the time lines since last year, one can see that PTCL is at a critical junction. Depending on who you ask,Ã‚Â PTCL is a management fiasco or a great opportunity. The stakeholders in this storyÃ‚Â include staff and workersÃ‚Â (who have a union), Etisalat which manages PTCL with its 26% stake (and would like to get additional 25%)Ã‚Â and the Pakistan government. The PTCL union leaders have announced their opposition to cut jobs.
Significant questions have been raised by concerned publicÃ‚Â in media, blogs and online discusion forumsÃ‚Â about strategy and operations of PTCL.Ã‚Â There are those who question the whole privatisation dealÃ‚Â and whether it was good for Pakistan. Others point out to the hefty price paid by Etisalat and feel that this was the best possible option. Anyway, there is no going back to the days of state-owned monopolies in the telecom market of Pakistan.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â It is clear thatÃ‚Â Etisalat is tryingÃ‚Â to turn around a big ship and itÃ‚Â will face considerable difficulties on the way.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Even though job cuts are hard, in the long term there is no way around them. Many industry analysts have expressed confidence that PTCL will survive this difficult phase and the situation will grow.
PTCL is an icon of Pakistan and it should not fail. I would likeÃ‚Â PTCL to get its act together and thrive in a fair and just manner.
Ã‚Â Here’s Farhan BokhariÃ‚Â in theÃ‚Â Gulf News:
As Etisalat moves to increase its stake in PTCL, it will inevitably be left with few options other than to work towards a robust plan for reforming the company with the ultimate objective of tackling its falling profits. Unless PTCLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s profits are not just lifted but turned into significant gains, the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s long term outlook is likely to suffer.
While PTCL has been privatised for some time now, the Pakistani public is yet to witness the fruit of the change of management from public sector to private sector. Pakistani consumers may have seen the benefit of this change in ways such as much easier access to new telephone connections that once took several years to be provided.
But the quality of service by PTCLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s staff in areas such as dealing with complaints from subscribers still remains of simply pathetic quality. Stories such as subscribers waiting for several days before the PTCL staff were able to deal with out-of-order phone lines in rain drenched neighbourhoods still make the rounds across Pakistan.