PTCL IPTV and Broadband

PTCL Smart

Some say it is the world’s biggest telco. Others agree that even if it isn’t, it definitely is Pakistan’s biggest. Also the largest Internet Service Provider, PTCL (or Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited) has come a long way from the days when it was an entirely government-owned, bureaucratic monolith.

Getting a phone line installed is usually a matter of a couple of days. Subscribing to additional services is as simple as calling the helpline and asking for it. No more hassles of dealing with multiple bills or rude technical staff. Prices have come down to reasonable levels and we are now starting to see services that nobody even dreamed of before.

PTCL is transforming itself in such a way that the whole country’s technology roadmap is looking very bright. Like the price of oil, this giant seems to have a trickle-down effect on virtually everything in Pakistan, so whatever it ends up doing is highly significant.

It all started with the low-cost DSL connections that PTCL came out with last year. The quality wasn’t too great, but this move caused other service providers to slash their prices and allowed broadband to be accessible to a lot more people. The quality has gradually crept up to an acceptable level.

PTCL Smart line

Now, thanks to months of intense preparation by PTCL’s Executive Vice-President, Mr. Zomma (seen in the photo giving a demo), and my good friend Majed Jahandad, PTCL has made another leap forward with IPTV, part of its PTCL Smart line package. I know how busy Majed’s been so have a good idea of the kind of effort that went into it. Great achievement guys and best of luck.

Though the service was officially launched during this year’s ITCN, it has been available for trial to selected broadband subscribers for a couple of months now. Being a 2Mbps customer, I was offered one some time back and it has been working really well.

It already provides about a hundred channels with excellent picture quality and a number of features that you simply can’t get with cable TV or other media services. The time-shift feature allows you to rewind and then forward the channels within a 30-minute time-frame. This means that you don’t have to worry about missing the start of your favorite show or those boring parts you wish you could forward.

As for installation, it will simply work with your existing phone line, only requiring the installation of another device that plugs into your DSL router. The cost may be a little steep at the moment, but it’s not much different from the money I’m currently paying SunTV.

Video on demand (or VOD) allows you to watch any movie you like at any time. Just select what you want from the menu and click it.

One of the drawbacks I’ve seen is that it’s missing some channels that I usually watch, but that aren’t very popular with most people. I haven’t had a chance to use VOD much, but the available shows on that are also somewhat limited. Then the user interface could use some improvement. It’s currently quite complex.

There’s been a lot of talk about convergence at ITCN. This service is a great example of combining voice, video and data services into one and I hope it spurs others into following their lead. Hope you guys continue to improve the service.

24 thoughts on “PTCL IPTV and Broadband

  1. Well as to say, i am also curious to know how much does a smartline cost ? —> i really really wana get this connection if it supports P2P softwares ! —> right now i am using World call but its not that good!

  2. Great going. PTCL is working in right direction now setting new trends. But with current state of copper based infrastructure (outside Islamabad), will one be able to have IPTV running smoothly on the phone lines?

  3. If it is a digital service, why is an analog TV required? It would make lots more sense to include a port for plugging in LCDs or monitors.

  4. They could have put some effort into testing.

    ‘My Favorite’ anyone should spot that typo. Just left a bad impression on me I’m afraid. Regardless of how good the product is underneath. bad GUI = give it a miss.

  5. Hey Sajjad! Nice stuff man. I am interested in knowing the format of the PTCL smart tv bill. Is the bill itemized? Like a separate line for Phone, separate for broadband and another one for IPTV.
    I need this because the company I work for pays my home broadband bill but they wont pay the entire PTCL smart bill.

  6. with world call droping its quality in service, i decided to get ptcl smart tv as a backup in the event of electricity outage as worldcall no longer guarantees cable services during power outages.. But PTCl SMart tv turned out to be more unreliable than world call.. FRom constant disconnections to shitty customer service..PTCL has truly gone to dogs. i had this ‘garbage’ service installed in mid september and i cant recall even one week where i havent complained to PTCL. My problems started with the installation. they claim that all you have to do is dial 0800.. no and order online and wait for 10 days, but trust me it never happens.. after 15 days nothing happened. i kept chasing the ppl who answer customer service helpline, but they too could not help. each one would come up with a unique reason, the best reason that i got was ” Sir actually the customer has made some changes to the order which is why there is a delay”. I lost my cool and screamed to her that im the fuking customer and i made no fuking changes. On the 20th day i gave up and attacked there office near point parktowers. i stormed in and got hold of the senior management. To be precise the person standing next to the tv in the pic above. after throwing names and fighting they managed to promise me that it would be done the next day. oh and the shocking thing they said was that they had never recieved any order !!. Once the damn device was installed i thought i could now relax and enjoy there service, but the real trouble was yet to start. Ptcl smart tv is a great service if it works, but it never works.. from the decoder heating up to picture freezing .. there were always problems. Today as i type this my internet disconnects after every 3 mins.. if my internet stops my smart tv stops!.. i have been chasing them for the past 1 week but nothing has happened.. i plan to attack the office again .. Plz do not believe anyone when they say PTCL is great.. STAY AWAY FROM IT… i plan to get worlcall DTV and maxcom dsl.. i hear max has excellent customer service. this is my nightmarish experice that is still not over!. so while those who are not victims of ptcl, plz do remember me in your prayers..

  7. Hello,

    we are yet to see some more problems soon.
    one of them I just realized that it doesn’t allow you to load and any other site that requires little more load time (it actually times out).

    we have contacted ptcl people but nothing practical appears to be working.

    lets hope, this gets resolved.
    and yes, hamza.. i’m praying for you ( =

  8. Mr. Muhammad Tahir Mushtaq, Executive Vice President HR PTCL is currently undergoing investigations by a desciplinary comittee consisting of Etisalat employees of the General Council after getting their hands on solid proof of the accusations of bribery. The proof consists of recorded telephone and face to face conversations where Mr. Tahir Mushtaq was asking for bribes for inducting candidates in PTCL. Proof also consists of somewhat clear photographs taken from a mobile phone camera where Mr. Tahir Mushtaq is shown taking bribes.

    The comittee’s recommendations will be given by February 2009.

    File News

  9. Not a single website explains as to what would be the exact charges of Smart IPTV service. At some places we read that TV connection box is free and at some different places we read that it has a cost of Rs. 9,995/-.

    Secondly, every subscriber of a conventional TV cable networks would definitely like to get rid of their pathetic service quality as most of them are usually illiterate or semi-literate people who are absolutely not concious of service quality or morality. But to get rid of their conventional cable TV they would first like to know the exact charges they will pay for this service. The PTCL Smart IPTV website does not describe any package of charges.

    Similarly, everyone would also like to know the exact list of TV channels available on PTCL Smart I

  10. Dear Sir,
    I am living in Rahim Yar Khan City.But not avaiable PTCL Smart TV.Hwo come this in this city.
    please forward mail .
    Best Regards.

  11. Pretty nice post. I just found your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really liked reading your posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your blog and I hope you post again soon!

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  13. Old jealoused mafia against innocent Tahir mushtaq sb. They all will fall !!

  14. Lazy Ptcl Staff. Have applied for the smart tv but no reply for one month. I do not know what to do.

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