1.07m new subscribers joined broadband networks in 2014
ISLAMABAD (APP): The broadband subscriptions in the country depicted a growth over 40 per cent during last year, reaching 3.79 million subscribers mark as compared to 2.72 million during 2013. This means 1.07 million new subscribers joined broadband networks during the year. A latest statistics issued by regulator Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) remained a major player in providing broadband services and it has been successful in getting major share of broadband market by providing multitude of services and technologies under its umbrella.
Ranging from ownership of international optical fiber links to availability of both fixed (DSL) and wireless (EvDO) broadband services, PTCL maintained a stronghold on almost every facet of the broadband market.
Currently, PTCL has 80 per cent share of the subscriber base, consisting of 3.03 million subscribers including fixed and wireless broadband services.
The strength of the incumbent can be gauged from the fact that the net additions of PTCL i.e. 1,106,025 are actually more than that of the entire broadband sector combined.
EvDO has been the main reason behind this growth due to 827,496 new subscribers added during 2014.
The stats revealed that growth rate of the broadband industry had been gradually declining with every passing year, however, the trend has reversed during 2014. This is also supplemented by the fact that for the first time, broadband market has added over a million subscribers in a fiscal year which is a welcome sign for future.
With regard to market share, the stats further revealed that Wi-Tribe has 182,854 subscribers by end of June 2014 as compared to 199,786 subscribers in June, 2013 declining by 8.5pc.
WorldCall, despite having a variety of broadband technologies i.e. DSL, HFC and EvDO, has 183,094 subscribers as of June 2014 with growth of 1.5pc.
Qubee made a promising start in the broadband market last year but dropped its market share from 2.3pc last year to 2pc in June, 2014 with 76,926 subscribers.
Other companies constitute the remaining 1.2pc of the market.
The subscriber wise status of broadband technologies in the country during last six years showed that EvDO has been leading the market with 1,861,118 subscribers, surpassing the DSL subscriber base of 1,346,817 by a clear margin during 2014.
After an impressive start in 2008, WiMax has been losing subscribers for the last two years reducing currently to 530,889.
HFC remained on the bottom line with 37,011 subscribers at the end of June 2014.
Wateen, the next big operator, has 7.2pc market share signifying the huge space between PTCL and other operators in the market. Subscriber base of Wateen stands at 273,794 at the end of June 2014, depicting a drop of 2.6pc due to subscriber churn.
PTCL’s performance had a major impact on the market position of Wi-Tribe and WorldCall as equal market share of 4.8pc gives them the joint third spot in broadband.

PTA lauds parliament’s gesture
to defer GIDC recovery
KARACHI (STAFF REPORTER); Pakistan Tanners Association (SZ)  Chairman Hamid A Zahoor has lauded the parliament’s gesture to defer decision of extending Ordinance for continued recovery of GIDC which he said was not justified since there is no work on Pak-Iran-Turkmenistan and Afghanistan–Pakistan- India gas pipeline projects.  He said that the government is imposing unjustified GIDC out of way to meet budget deficit whereas it has already increased 5pc tax on petroleum products. He requested the members of the parliament to declare it null and void in its next session as it already termed illegal by the respectable High Courts and SC of Pakistan.
He said that GIDC is increasing cost of doing business, the production cost is being pushed up. “It is adversely affecting the exporting industry like leather since it will make it difficult for leather industry to compete with their competitors in global markets. He emphasised that the billions of rupees that have been collected against GIDC over the years should now be returned back to the industries, or adjusted against the future bills from the gas companies.
He again reminded of the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s decision to ban charging of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) from CNG, industry, fertilizer and power sector with immediate effect, in an order rejecting a federal government petition seeking to restore the duty.

Euro weakens in Asia on ECB
stimulus speculation
TOKYO (AFP): The euro struggled in Asia Monday on growing expectations that the European Central Bank will announce a massive bond-buying scheme to buoy the eurozone’s struggling economy. In Tokyo, the single currency slipped to $1.1556 and 135.42 yen, from $1.1566 and 135.87 yen on Friday in New York, where at one point it had dropped below $1.1500 for the first time since November 2003. Investors have been moving out of the euro before the ECB meeting on Thursday. Analysts are forecasting it will see the introduction of sovereign bond purchases, known as quantitative easing (QE).
The scheme essentially entails the bank printing euros in order to boost lending and fight off deflation — similar to the plan recently ended by the US Federal Reserve. However with more cash in circulation demand for the single currency weakens.
“Nothing could be clearer than the current economic and policy divide between the US and Europe,” said National Australia Bank.
“As the Fed ponders rate lift-off and US consumer sentiment hits its highest level for 11 years, the ECB last week has been putting together a QE plan that will get some sort of approval from Germany.”
The dollar weakened to 117.13 yen, against 117.46 yen in US trading, as jittery investors sought out safer assets following a plunge in Chinese stocks. The drop was sparked by regulators punishing several brokerages for violating margin trading rules, which fuelled an extended market rally.
“The slide in Shanghai stocks is leading to yen buying,” Yuji Saito, director of foreign exchange at Credit Agricole in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.
“With risk sentiment deteriorating right now, anything obscure will lead to reducing positions.”
The Bank of Japan also holds a meeting this week, but few expect a further loosening of its monetary policy as it tries to counter a downturn in the world’s number three economy.
In other trading, the euro bought 1.0017 Swiss francs.
On Thursday the Swiss National Bank announced it was abandoning the minimum rate of 1.20 francs against the euro, a limit imposed three years ago during the eurozone debt crisis to stop the franc from appreciating too much.



Oil starts week in negative territory

LONDON (AFP): World oil prices fell Monday, dented by high global crude inventories, in subdued deals amid a public holiday in the United States, dealers said. In early afternoon London deals, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March fell 48 cents to trade at $49.69 per barrel.  US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for February shed 52 cents to $48.17 a barrel. Trading was expected to remain quiet amid the Martin Luther King Jr holiday in the United States on Monday. “Crude oil prices continue to remain under pressure, starting the week on the negative side amid persistent concerns regarding high levels of crude oil inventories along with a slowdown of global oil demand growth,” said Sucden analyst Myrto Sokou.
“As the US equity and bond markets are closed for the Martin Luther King holiday, trading volumes might remain thin during today’s session.”
Crude futures had rebounded on Friday after the International Energy Agency declared there were signs “the tide will turn” in the battered market following recent multi-year lows.
Phillip Futures analysts said in a market commentary: “Although it may seem like prices are reversing already, fundamentals have not changed.
“Oversupply and weak demand is still prevalent in the market and, thus, (we) would not expect prices to rally just yet.”
Oil prices have more than halved since June, crashing on worries over global oversupply and weak demand in a stuttering world economy.
The fall was exacerbated at the end of November when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said it would maintain output levels, despite the already low price and ample supplies.
Brent last week collapsed to $45.19, the lowest level since March 2009.

LNG imports through PSO opposed
 
ISLAMABAD (INP): The PEW on Monday opposed import of LNG through state-run oil retailer PSO to tame energy crisis terming it against the national interests.  PSO has repeatedly failed to maintain supply chain of the fossil fuel resulting in crisis, the credit of ongoing petrol crisis also goes to the PSO among others, it said. Private sector should be allowed to import petroleum products as well as LNG as PSO has no experience in the import of gas and red-tapesim will delay arrival of LNG which will compromise growth, said Sajid Ghulam, VP PEW.  A financially insolvent company like PSO cannot make spot payments to the LNG exporters as payment in LNG supply chain has to be very prompt from all ends.
otherwise the supply chain will disrupt in short span of time.
He said that PSO lacks ability to get receivables or discontinue supply to defaulting entities which has landed it into circular debt beyond government’s capacity to resolve it.
Sajid Ghulam said PEW fears that the same practice would be repeated in case of LNG which would damage the project in the beginning which the country cannot afford.  He said that involvement of a government agency in the import of LNG would pave way for litigation, kickbacks and official inertia while nation will have to pay the price.