As of April 2014, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) reports that 3.6 million Pakistani’s subscribe to various broadband services. Of those 3.6 million, 1.3 million consumers use various DSL connections and 1.7 million are on EvDO services. Considering 7 out of 10 users are using PTCL broadband, why are their services so terrible?
Former PTCL loyalists, we go on to list below five reasons why we have come to hate PTCL:
1) Misleading advertising: Have you ever gotten 9.3Mbps on your Evo Wingle? Does your 4Mbps connection actually give you download speeds of 4Mbps as advertised by PTCL. Does the new ‘CharJi’ (4G) service give you speeds even remotely close to 36 Mbps? According to PTCL representatives, consumers are ‘guaranteed’ 60% of their package speeds during peak hours, as home DSL connections are usually shared between a number of users. From personal experience I can tell you that during the day, my download speeds will not exceed 3.5~3.6 Mbps even though my modem is synched at a downstream rate of 4096kbps (4Mbps). So who is using the remaining 0.4Mbps worth?
2) Connectivity Issues: Your DSL connection depends on the quality of your phone line. If your phone line is noisy you might as well toss your modem into the gutter and switch back to Cyber.net. If your phone line is crystal clear, there will be days where your net dies randomly and you pick up the landline to call 1218 to lodge a complaint, only to discover that there’s no dial tone. Now you’re wasting mobile balance to lodge a complaint?
Your EVO connection depends on the level of signal the device is receiving. I have used it at various locations across Karachi and have never seen more than 3 bars of signal on the device’s admin page. Even right under the damn cell tower my 9.3Mbps Wingle won’t go above 6-7 Mbps Max.
3) 1218 B.C: The year in which PTCL’s ‘automated’ complaint help(less)-line operates. I feel sincere pity for the poor souls who spend ages pressing random digits only to be told by a female automated voice that all the numbers you just entered weren’t recognized or even worse, have your call dropped entirely. If you manage to correctly enter the magical combination that gets you in line to speak with a representative, there is a high chance you will greeted with a hysterical sometimes completely incomprehensible
“UsssaaalaaamOUaalaykum thiess iz Danesh frum PEEEETCL, how mai I haaaalp yu0?”
After confirming that you are actually a human and indeed calling from the number that you want to lodge a complaint from (don’t they have caller ID?), they will ask you a series of bizarre questions such as ‘Is your DSL working?’ No, I just called because I’m lonely!) ‘What is the status of the DSL light?’ Erm, can’t YOU check the goddamn status from your end, doesn’t your software show you the synchronization history?
Once your complaint is finally lodged, and you receive your obscure complaint number, comes the infamous (Two hundred and) 24-hour wait. The motto at PTCL is strikingly similar to Annie’s theme: “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow; you’re always a day away”. This is not ideal for anyone, including businesses, particularly those that are dependent on the internet for commerce.
4) Zero coordination between departments: If you manage to lodge a broadband complaint, and somehow the gods bless you by sending a ‘DSL-wala’ to your home, only for him to pick up your phones receiver and say ‘Sir mein kuch nahi karsakta, aap k phone mein tou noise hai’ (I can’t do shit, your phone is noisy). He will then advise you to lodge a noise complaint in order to ping the lineman, rather than making the call himself as they recently had a fight over who can fit the most ‘Paan’ in his mouth. There is zero inter-departmental cohesion besides the regular ‘Gutka’ exchanges. Remember; don’t ever make the mistake of tipping any of the PTCL associated crew for any services, albeit a new connection or line repairs. If they get a whiff of your moolah, they will regularly screw with your line, just to ‘fix’ it for a nominal fee. All official charges are recorded in your bill.
5) Incompetent Billing practices: There have been so many times when I feel like waging a personal jihad against PTCL for erroneous charges appearing on my bill. The second you apply for a new connection they begin your billing cycle. Even though the modem hasn’t been installed you will still be charged. If you upgrade to a faster package your bill will be upgraded INSTANTLY, but your package may take many calls and trips to the PEEE-TCL office to upgrade. Let’s not forget the arrears, even though I pay my bill in full every month at the PTCL office itself, I am charged arrears. When I confronted the manager at the branch, he blamed the ‘banks’, stating that they do not process the payments in time and hence they are carried forward as arrears to the next month. WTF PTCL? With a current market capitalization of Rs. 127 Billion and profits of Rs. 12.7 Billion last year alone, I’m sure you can afford to work with better bank!