Thursday, June 24, 2004

Telecard to enter Fixed-line Market

Daily Times reports that: "Telecard Ltd. is set to enter the country�s fixed-line telephone market this year with plans to invest more than $50 million over 12 months, a top company executive said Tuesday.

Sham ul Arfeen, head of business development at the Karachi-based telecommunications company, told Dow Jones Newswires that Telecard is aiming for 500,000 subscribers in the first year of operations and more than a million customers over two years once it obtains the necessary licensing.

�All costs included, we are looking at a capital expenditure of $50-$60 million in the first 12 months and maybe a similar amount in the second year,� he said.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority is expected to award licenses for wireless local loop, long-distance and international operations in August as part of the government�s deregulation of the sector.

Telecard, which currently operates 45,000 public pay phones using local loop wireless technology, is taking advantage of deregulation to enter the fixed-line market. Its planned expansion likely will increase competition in that market, now dominated by state-run Pakistan Telecommunications Corp., with over 4 million subscribers. "

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