Monday, 31 December 2018

Gen (R) Amir Azeem Bajwa Appointed Chairman PTA

Maj. Gen. (Retd) Amir Azeem Bajwa — former Director General SCO — has been appointed the Member Technical at Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, while Dr. Khawar Saddique Khokhar is made the Member Compliance, we have confirmed with sources.
According to sources, the notification for the appointment of members has been issued, however, Chairmanship of Gen. Amir Bajwa isn’t notified as of yet.
But, as are the nroms, Gen. Bajwa is to be notified as the Chairman of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the sources said.
“Member Technical is usually the chairman of the authority, and hence its only matter of time that the appointment is notified officially”, confirmed us a high level government official.
Gen. Amir Bajwa will replace Muhammad Naveed, originally the member finance, who had been Chairman of PTA on adhoc basis since November 13, 2017. Dr. Khawar Khokhar, on the other hands, will fill the slot vacated by Mr. Abdul Samad.
According to the sources, 17 candidates were shortlisted and interviewed by a committee to fill both the slots.

Telcos to Face Delays in Renewing Their Expiring Licenses Next Year

The bidding process pertaining to the renewal of telecom companies’ licenses, which is planned for May next year, is in danger of being delayed.
The consultant firm that was hired by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to conduct a study for working out a framework for the renewal of cell phone companies’ licenses has failed to accomplish the task. Due to this, the previously planned bidding process will not proceed in May next year.
Media reports state that the failure of the firm, WRAP International, to conduct the assigned study, will cause a delay in the renewal of the licenses.
In the absence of the study, the PTA cannot proceed with its planned bidding process. PTA had hired WRAP International to propose a framework for the renewal of cellular licenses of telecom companies through a transparent bidding process prescribed under the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules.
However, the Ministry of IT has sought the government’s nod to conduct the bidding for the renewal of licenses of telecom companies, going ahead without the framework that was required to be submitted by the consultant. The IT ministry is of the view that the study was delayed following a change in the government as well as issues that emerged during consultations with stakeholders. Therefore, the consultant is unlikely to conclude its study within the stipulated time frame. 

Background

PTA had given licenses to telecom companies including Telenor, Warid and Zong for 15 years and these were going to expire on May 25, 2019. Under PPRA rules, the PTA is bound to conduct a study to establish a policy framework for bidding for the renewal of telecom companies’ licenses.
However, the consultant has delayed the study and it is unlikely to be completed in April 2019. Prime Minister Imran Khan had also constituted a committee tasked with overseeing the process of renewal of licenses and ensure its timely completion. The committee noted that consultation work on the part of the consultant could not be completed before April 2019.
The licenses are due to be renewed by May 25, 2019 for the three companies.
In a recent meeting of the cabinet, the Ministry of Information Technology had presented a summary seeking renewal of licenses of telecom companies without conducting a study, but the cabinet deferred the consideration of the summary.

PTCL Injects Rs. 4 Billion in U Microfinance Bank to Implement Expansion Plans

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has signed an agreement for a PKR 4 Billion Unsecured Subordinated Debt Facility (Tier 2 capital) with U Microfinance Bank (U Bank), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of PTCL. This capital injection will enable the bank to further capitalize on the growth opportunities possible in Pakistan’s microfinance sector.
In the constantly changing competitive landscape, this Tier 2 facility will enable U Bank to expand its current customer reach serving the under-served population. U Microfinance Bank plans to utilize these funds in its business operations and expansion plans. Serving its customers through disruptive innovation and digitization, the bank will focus on achieving its growth targets.
Not only will it enable the bank to utilize additional capital with flexibility as it grows, the debt amount will also contribute towards U Bank’s Supplementary/ Tier 2 Capital for Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) as per the guidelines for Microfinance banks that are set by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
On the occasion, Dr. Daniel Ritz, President &CEO PTCL, and Chairman U Microfinance Bank, said,
Seeing the potential in U Microfinance Bank’s ability to further expand and grow, PTCL has taken the decision to further inject Tier II capital into the bank. This is in line with PTCL’s commitment to support Pakistan and its economy as a whole.
Expressing his views, U Microfinance Bank’s President & CEO, Kabeer Naqvi, said,
U Microfinance Bank has been successfully enabling underserved Pakistanis and has been positively contributing towards poverty alleviation and economic empowerment. This Tier 2 injection is a testament to our sponsor’s confidence in our ability to deliver positive results. It also reiterates PTCL’s commitment towards contributing to the economic uplift & enablement of Pakistan.
Currently, U Microfinance Bank serves more than 850,000 customers, where 22% of the served customers are women. By the end of 2018, U Bank’s deposit portfolio grew from PKR 11.97 billion to PKR 19.0 billion, while the loan portfolio grew from PKR 10.6 billion to PKR 17.0 Billion. Most significantly, the number of employees increased from to 1,321 to 1,980, where 9% of the total workforce comprises of women.
PTCL & U Microfinance Bank are at the forefront of fighting poverty in Pakistan and will continue to play their role in improving the economic situation of the people of Pakistan

Best HD TVs of 2018 in Pakistan

2018 was a great year for Smart TVs and we had some incredible new launches. But the question remains, which TV is the best?
Now as with most products, the best way to find what sets each one apart is by trying them out. Of course, you can’t really just try out every TV in the market, which is why we did it for you!
To make it even easier for you guys, we’ve divided the TVs into the Flagship and Mid-Range segments and all of the models below are available in Pakistan.
So, all you have to do is just read on ahead and you can find out exactly how well the TVs compare with each other. The next time you go for a TV purchase, you’ll have all you need to make a confident and informed choice.

Flagship TVs

Samsung Nu 7100 Series 7
The NU7100 is a pretty good 4k TV with great picture quality and nice contrast ratio. It also has low input lag which makes it a good choice for gamers.
The Smart TV options are easy to use and navigation in the menu is fairly straightforward. On the other hand, it doesn’t really bring anything fancy to the table. What’s a bit surprising is the price which is very reasonable especially for a Samsung TV, making the Nu 7100 a decent choice for its price.
  • 49’ inch Rs. 76,000
  • 55‘ inch Rs. 125,000

TCL C6
TCL products really do hold their own against the more expensive brands and the C6 is no exception. An excellent UHD TV, the C6 has a great range of premium Smart 4K TV features that you would normally expect to find in a far more expensive TV. That includes it being the first TV in Pakistan to offer AI Technology with its licensed Android OS loaded with Google Assistant which allows you to interact and control your TV just through voice commands.
The C6 has absolutely amazing audio quality thanks to a Harman-Kardon sound bar and its WCG technology supports really crisp visuals and vivid colours, giving C6 consumers a really immersive viewing experience. Plus, the low lag on the input makes the C6 perfect for use as a gaming TV. One of the best Smart 4K TVs in the market, the C6 is one of the best choices and really gives you a lot of value for your money.
  • 49’ inch Rs.  102,900
  • 55’ Inch Rs.  124,900
  • 65” Inch  Rs. 179,900

Sony Bravia KD UHD Smart TV
A reliable TV with great picture and sound quality. The TV has great input which along with high quality clarity and contrast makes it a good choice for gamers.
Design wise, it’s a fairly lightweight TV and it has all the basic Smart TV functions that you would expect to find. While nothing stands out, the Bravia as a Sony TV is a bit disappointing. Even more so as it comes with a higher price tag making it not really worth the substantial price.
  • 49’ Rs.  105,000
  • 55’ Rs.  140,000
LG UHD 4K TV
With the competition so tight in the Flagship range, LG fails to make a real impact in the market. The picture quality is nice and clear with good colour and the sound quality is passable. The ports are a bit hard to reach, though, and the Wi-Fi is a bit spotty. In all honesty, you’d be better served waiting a bit and buying a more expensive TV.
  • 49’ Rs.  78,000

Mid-range TV


Samsung N5300 FLAT series 5
The N5300 has everything you would expect from a Samsung TV. Fantastic picture quality, brilliant audio and all the bells and whistles that make for a really good Smart TV. Not only that, its screen is also much larger than other Mid-range TVs.
However, all this comes at a cost and the N5300 is hampered by the fact that its price is the highest among this range. In fact, you’d be better off just saving up and buying a cheaper premium Smart TV. So, if you are looking for a cost effective Smart TV, this is not it.
  • 49’ Rs. 72,000
TCL S6500
Another really great option from TCL, the S6500 gives great value for money, especially compared to other bigger brands like Samsung. The FHD display optimizes visuals to give sharper colours, brightness and contrast for a picture perfect feel. Using Dolby technology, the sound from the S6500 is well balanced and very clear.
For gamers, the S6500 is an excellent choice with easy access to ports and minimal lag. And similar to the Flagship C6 TV, the S6500 comes with AI Technology thanks to licensed Android Oreo featuring Google Assistant. Plus it has the major advantage of being very economically priced, making it perfect for the budget conscious. If you are looking for a TV that can do it all at a very reasonable price, than look no further than the TCL S6500.
  • 32” Rs.  31,900
  • 40’ Rs. 42,900
  • 49” Rs. 62,900

Ecostar CX-42U650
The Ecostar CX-42U650 is a fairly decent Smart TV. The picture quality is clear and the colours are sharp. It has decent audio quality and all the functions you would expect from a Smart TV. And while it has no flaws, nothing really stands out either, including its price. Standing firmly in the middle of the pack, the CX-42U650 is a good TV but at its price, it’s not the greatest value for your money.
  • 42’ Rs. 51,500
Haier U5000A
On the lower priced side of the range, the U5000A is fairly good value for money. The visuals are clear and the contrast has a natural look to it. Functionality-wise it has all the basics covered and it has good inputs allowing for a decent gaming experience. And while nothing stands out, the price is reasonable enough that it doesn’t matter as much. In short, the U5000A is not a bad choice.
  • 43’ Rs. 45500
Orient Cheetah
If you are looking for a cheap TV, the Cheetah is at about as at low a price as you are going to get. On the other hand, the screen is visibly small compared to pretty much any other TV and it doesn’t have any Smart TV functions.  It nonetheless still has great picture and sound quality. Overall, it’s about what you would expect from a decent but very cheap HD TV. Not a bad option for a HD TV but end up missing out on the Smart TV functions.
  • 32’ Rs. 21,500
Changhong Ruba 42E3500
Another decent LED TV, the 42E3500 is a bit pricey for an HD non Smart TV. It has a decent screen size and is visibly larger than the Orient Cheetah. The visual and audio quality is good enough for a Mid-Range TV. So if you really don’t want Smart TV functions (why wouldn’t you want them though?) then it’s not a bad choice. But, if you don’t mind the smaller screen size, you would be better of getting the Cheetah.
  • 42’ Rs. 35,000

Germany Plans to Offer Jobs to Pakistanis: Martin Kobler

Germany is looking to import manpower from different countries and is set to offer jobs to Pakistanis too.
German Ambassador to Pakistan Martin Kobler said that Germany is looking towards foreign labour by 2020 and Pakistan could prove to be an important contributor in this regard.
The comments of Germany’s top diplomat, who is very popular among the different strata of the society, came during a meeting with the Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari.
The Special Assistant discussed investment opportunities in Pakistan for German companies and investors. They also discussed a plan to provide technical and vocational training to the Pakistani youth.
During the meeting, Advisor to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, Usman Dar, and representatives of German Investment Bank were also present.
The German diplomat appreciated the current government’s reform agenda. He lauded the recent move to convert Prime Minister House into a university. “Great initiative of Imran Khan to have former PM House turned into a research-based Islamabad National University. Its four thematic areas governance, development, climate and technology are of great relevance for Pakistan‘s future. Pakistan needs more scholars,” he said.

Pakistan Post Launches Mobile App For Android

Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed inaugurated the Pakistan Post Mobile App in a bid to address complaints immediately and revamp postal services for the better.
The app has several features that makes use of the wide array of services Pakistan Post already offers such as track and trace, complaint handling, e-commerce, parcel collect, delivery, complaints, post office locations, tariff, postcodes and information about postal services.
Using the app, you can track your parcel throughout its journey. Also, you will be able to file a complaint with an assurance that it will be addressed duly. At the launch of the mobile app at ECO Postal Staff College, Murad Saeed said that he takes complaints seriously enough so as to ensure the service’s improvement and the department’s performance.
He underlined the accessibility of the state-owned postal service, saying that its postman visits almost every household of the country. This also includes far-flung areas that cannot be reached by everyone.
The minister highlighted Pakistan Post’s enduring legacy as well as the credibility of the service. He also unveiled his plans for the future, with an eye on improving services.
He further revealed that Pakistan Post is prepared to target the parcel export market with a commitment to deliver items across the globe in 72 hours. The project will inaugurate by January 15, he said.
You can download the app from the Google Play Store here.

Fire Saga Returns? iPhone XS Max Explodes in User’s Pocket

An American man has reported that his ‘almost new’ iPhone XS Max burst into flames and burned his skin after he noticed some smoke.
The iPhone, that was bought only three weeks before it died in flames, has been replaced by Apple but the company hasn’t revealed what exactly happened to cause the phone to melt away.
Reportedly, when the phone was taken to an Apple Store, they were clueless about what went wrong with the newly-bought iPhone XS Max. There hasn’t been any other report of a similar incident, in relation to Apple’s latest iPhones at least, so it’s still too early to say that all iPhone XS models will face this problem.
Surely, the phone went through numerous safety checks before making its way to the market, just like most other phones. Still, it seems that it’s difficult to fully eliminate battery problems and fire issues in all counterparts.
The incident reminds us of the Note 7 saga, when hundreds of very Samsung Galaxy Note 7 models caught fire or exploded due to an inherent battery fault. Samsung, ultimately, had to recall all of its Note 7 units, causing huge losses in both profits and goodwill.
As for the recent iPhone that exploded, it’s still a rare case, as there haven’t been other reports relating to an iPhone XS Max catching fire.
Apple hasn’t said anything officially on the matter as of yet, so we can’t say for sure whether or not this issue will reside in other iPhone XS Max variants. Similar issues have been reported in Apple’s phones in the past as well and while it’s likely to be a battery problem with Apple’s iPhones, the company hasn’t reported on what exactly caused the issue.

Pakistan Set to Receive Investments Worth Over $30 Billion From Close Allies

As the New Year celebrations are set to begin in Pakistan within hours, here is a reason for Pakistanis to celebrate the onset of the year with double joy.
The outgoing year has not been very conducive for the countrymen as far as the economic condition of the country is concerned. During the year, many economic indicators were showing a declining trend and the country was faced with an imminent balance of payment crisis.
However, the country is slated to ink investment deals with some of its close allies to the tune of billions of dollars, which will help revive the ailing economy of the country.
“We will be signing agreements with investors from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Germany, Malaysia, and Korea in January which is worth more than $30 billion,” Haroon Sharif, Minister of State and Chairman, Board of Investment, told a Saudi newspaper. The country has firm and solid commitments from three of its allies, namely Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and China, ensuring that the country becomes the hub of diversified investments in the coming years, Sharif said.
“We are going to sign several Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi Aramco and Acwa Power within a few weeks. Saudi Aramco is going to set up an oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Pakistan while Acwa Power will invest in Pakistan’s renewable energy sector,” Sharif told the newspaper.  The country is expected to receive around $15 billion in investment from Saudi Arabia in the next three years. “The inflow of investment for the oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Pakistan is estimated to be between $6 billion to $10 billion.”
Islamabad is also expecting a substantial amount of investment from the UAE, with major focus sectors continuing to be petrochemical, real estate, port and shipping development, agriculture, and corporate farming.  “I am expecting a similar amount ($15 billion) from the UAE in the next three to five years. We will sign a MoU with UAE’s companies in January 2019,” Sharif said, adding that the “Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), DP World, and Emaar Properties are among the prominent names who have committed to investing in Pakistan”.
In addition to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Pakistan has also signed an agreement with China which is being described as the second phase of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. “We had signed an industrial cooperation agreement with China two weeks ago. Under the agreement they will put up industries in Pakistan’s economic zones which are located in Sindh, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP),” Sharif, who had signed the agreement, said, adding that five priority areas have been identified, namely “food and agriculture, value-added textile, mining, and emerging technologies”.
Apart from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China, the BOI has received written commitments from Malaysian, German, and Korean investors.

AirSial Gets Approval from Prime Minister to Launch Its Operations

The government has granted approval to the launch of a new private airline, which will be starting its operations next year.
AirSial, which is a venture of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), was given the go-ahead by Prime Minister Imran Khan to launch its operations.
The airline will be based in Sialkot. Chairman of AirSial, Fazal Jillani said it would become operational within the next year.
The Prime Minister granted the approval during a meeting with local businessmen including AirSial Chairman Fazal Jillani. The delegation was led by the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, who called on the premier and Minister for Privatization and Aviation Muhammad Mian Soomro in Sialkot. The local businessmen thanked the Prime Minister for extending cooperation for the launch of the airline.
The airline is being launched jointly by the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and Sialkot International Airport.
The local business community of Sialkot had established the Sialkot International Airport on a self-help basis. Following the establishment of the airport, the business community in 2009 had decided to launch an airline to provide a cost-effective and reliant travelling facility to the community and others on both domestic and international routes.
The new airline secured an aviation license (Regular Public Transport – RPT) from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in October 2017.  The airline plans to operate services to key destinations in Pakistan and the Middle East with three Airbus A320 aircraft. During the meeting with the businessmen, the Prime Minister observed that Sialkot is fast becoming a major hub for investment and that the government would provide additional facilities to the area.
“The airline’s launch will create jobs and stimulate business activity in the region,” Khan added.
The Sialkot business community has also planned to set up a food and vegetable processing/packing centre close to the airport  in order to boost exports.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Samsung to Show Off These 8 Innovative Projects at CES 2019

Samsung will show off some cool new gadgets and innovative projects at the CES 2019 in Las Vegas,  according to an official announcement made by the company.
These projects are a part of the South Korean conglomerate’s C-Lab (Creative Lab), a program that began back in 2016. The company says that it will reveal eight new projects – the highest number of projects Samsung has ever revealed in a single event – and in doing so, it will be able to “refine the projects and prepare the prototypes that will eventually become finished products to take to market.”
Most of the upcoming gadgets are meant to become part of our daily life, and some will also help people with disabilities. These gadgets use a mix of AI and innovative engineering to help people “in the field of video content creation, perfume making and more”.
Here are the upcoming gadgets, via Samsung’s C-Lab, that will be shown in a few weeks at the CES 2019:

Tisplay

This program is meant to help content creators effectively place ads in their videos, especially during live-streaming their content without having to create breaks to show ads to their viewers. It is basically a virtual ad service, that places ads on the content creators clothing using AR methods.
This way, the ads will display on a creator’s clothes in the video, so effectively, they’ll be able to display advertisement to their users without disturbing the actual content.

MEDEO

This is another project for video makers, that lets you record and edit footage at the same time. Samsung calls it an instant video-making service, that will let you create complete videos without having to separately edit them.

aiMo

This is a sound recording application that lets you record high-quality and realistic sound, even if you don’t have any expensive recording equipment. It simulates a human ear, so you can record ASMR audio – that sounds realistic and third-dimensional when you listen to it using headphones – just by using a smartphone and cover case.
“When recording ASMR content with this solution, creators not only obtain spatially more enhanced sound in terms of sound directivity, they also produce vivid, realistic ASMR sounds with AI sound rendering software without professional recording devices”

Perfume Blender

As the name suggests, this service will let you create your own fragrance by blending your custom ingredients, and you can even share your recipe to other people using it.
“When the user takes a photo of their favorite perfumes with the app, it analyzes the common ingredients and recommends fragrance recipes that the user might like. The user can directly make the perfume with those recipes or create a perfume by adjusting the ratio of the recipes through the device which has eight ingredients.”

PRISMIT

This is an AI-powered research and analysis tool, that lets you figure out a story or search term’s origin and history by intelligently curating five relevant articles in an order.

SnailSound

SnailSound is an app that comes with a special earpiece for those with hearing problems. The app, using AI, works with the earpiece to modify sounds and audios based on the user’s hearing ability. After getting modified, the sounds can then be heard more clearly.

Alight

This is a high-tech AI desk lamp that uses a camera and software tools to adjust lighting based on the user’s need. The light intensity will change depending on whether the user wants to relax, study, or focus. Another cool feature is that you can obtain time lapse videos of your study sessions from a related smartphone app.

Girin Monitor Stand

Lastly, the company is also going to unveil an AI computer screen stand, that adjusts its position to make sure that its user is looking at it with the correct posture. The screen will automatically tweak itself based on your head position, so as to make it easier on your neck and back.

Analyst Predicts Sony’s Next PlayStation to Feature Native 4K, 240 FPS and VR Support

Sony’s PlayStation 5 (or whatever it gets called later on) is still a couple years away from getting launched. Still, speculation about Sony’s next-gen offering remains among the hottest topics in the gaming community. Gamers can’t wait to see what cool new features they get with the PS5.
While it’s still too early to know how exactly it’ll be a step up over its predecessors, the gaming community believes that we will see some massive changes in the console gaming scene when it gets launched. Massive changes, like inherent, native 4K support and 240 fps, as predicted by famed analyst Michael Pachter.
When asked about whether or not the PS5 still have technology on par with the next-generation Xbox – which has already been rumored to be more than just one device – the analyst said,
“Whether Sony does it, I think they will probably have that 4K and 240 FPS device that’ll support PSVR.
For those who are well versed with current generation gaming systems, the Sony Playstation 4 Pro seems underpowered when compared to the Xbox One X. This is because the One X is capable of rendering games at native 4K resolutions, while Sony makes use of a technique called checkerboarding to enhance resolutions to 4K. The differences between native and checkerboarding techniques become obvious when you compare a recent game like Red Dead Redemption 2, which came out on both the consoles. The PS4 Pro version looks muddy in certain parts, whereas the One X version comes out looking more detailed.
Moreover, most 4K-supported games on consoles are capped at 30 fps, so this is one area where Sony can improve in its future console. Another drawback the PS4 Pro has against an Xbox One X is that it can’t play 4K Blu-ray content through the disc drive. The One X as well as the cheaper One S consoles by Microsoft do. This too should be addressed by Sony for its next console.
Michael concluded his observations by saying that there might be multiple consoles by every company for the next generation, with some of them cheaper for the average Joe.
Whether they have a PlayStation Now device that is streaming only, I don’t know. Maybe there will be two each for PlayStation and Xbox, but I would be surprised if there were more than two, and I’m not sure whether Sony is committed to doing that.”

Here’s How You Can Earn $10,000 Per Month in Pakistan via Freelancing


Before starting this post, let me tell you the answer to the question I posed for this post. Yes, it is possible to earn USD $10,000 per month in Pakistan.
Now the question becomes – how can you accomplish this task? Believe it or not, you can achieve this goal by freelancing and learning modern technologies such as AngularJS, React Native, Machine Learning & Cloud Computing.

Why Choose Freelancing?

Freelancing has great potential, be it in terms of how much it can contribute to your personal growth, as well as for your country’s economy.
We all know that today the world’s like one big global village.  The entire world is your marketplace if you like. Nobody can restrict you or put barriers in your way to earn as much as you want. It is 100% legitimate, and for the most part, tax-free income. Now, before I tell you how to embark on this path of prosperity, there’s one thing I can tell you for sure. Something that every Pakistani should know.
It doesn’t matter if you are not a technical person. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if you have any University degree or not. All you need is just sheer hard work and willpower to achieve this milestone during the next 12 months.
I know what you are thinking right now. It can’t be this easy. And that’s true. Learning the ropes of freelancing as well as the prerequisite skills, will take resources and time before you can achieve your dreams of earning big.
Right now, as a beginner, you have a long road ahead of you. But with dedication and effort, it is very much possible.
If you are dedicated to your work and intend to earn a good income.  you have come to the right place.
Now, I’m going to tell you which program to apply for, which can change your fortunes for the better. And the best part? Its right here in Pakistan.

President’s Initiative for Artificial Intelligence and Computing

PIAIC is the latest initiative by the Pakistani government. It basically focuses on three technologies that are going to power the future. If Pakistan is to progress by leaps and bounds, this is the way to do it.
Coming back to PIAIC, it will offer courses and training related to:
  1. Artificial Intelligence
  2.  Cloud Computing
  3.  Blockchain 

PIAIC programs will be launched in collaboration with PanaCloud,  IQRA University, Pakistan Stock Exchange and Saylani Welfare Trust.
Here’s what Mr. Zia Khan (CEO of PanaCloud), an IT veteran who has already spent 20 years of his life in the software development industry, had to say about Pakistan’s freelancing prospects in the near future with the help of PIAIC. . Khan, who is also a freelancer himself, has already earned $200,000 on upwork.com, a popular platform that connects freelancers with employers from all around the world. He claims that by learning the skills from PIAIC programs, one student could potentially earn $10,000 monthly on average.
He says most of his students have already achieved this target,  more recently Daniyal Nagori, who earns $100,000 on upwork.com in 2018.
There are a lot of examples available for you to earn $10,000 while residing in Pakistan. And in order to do that, one must make use of modern technology. After all, technology is your Global Passport to earn anywhere you want.

How to Enroll for this Program?

You can go to PIAIC website and apply.
A maximum of 10,000 students can take classes in Karachi.
For residents of other cities, there’s no need to worry. PIAIC has also established a distance learning program to take classes online.  

How to Get Selected for PIAIC Program

After applying through the website, you will be asked to do an entry test, which is held in Karachi. For now, everyone has to go to Karachi if they want to qualify for the program, though this may change in the future.
After clearing this Entry test, you will be enrolled to the program of your choice related to blockchain, artificial intelligence, or cloud computing. Depending on your choice, you can attend the courses in Karachi or online if you live in another city.
Fee Structure
Here’s how much you will be charged for attending the classes:
  • Rs.1000 per month for Karachi-based students.
  • Rs.500 per month for Online students.
NoteFee is not required to appear in the Entry Test. It is applicable only on selected students.
For further details regarding this program, click here. Or you can call them at PIAIC Helpline: 03111729526. 
This program is also starting in Faisalabad and upcoming to Lahore as well.

For Developers Who Want to Teach

If you already a developer or familiar with coding, you can also apply for “Train the Trainer Program.
This rapid fire program contains 12 months worth of training, condensed into a quick 3-month course for developers. After completing this program, you can start teaching in PIAIC as a trainer. And the best part? Trainers will get paid for their services.

Cloudflare Launches Three Data Centers Across Pakistan for Faster Internet

If you have been seeing improvements in internet connectivity in Pakistan during the past two weeks, especially with reduced lag and latency, now we know why.
Cloudflare, which is one of the largest networks responsible for powering websites and online services,  has unveiled that it now has three new data centers housed in Pakistan. These data centers are operational in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
For those who don’t know, Cloudfare is a content delivery network (CDN), which basically powers:
  • 10% of internet requests overall,
  • content that is served to 2.8 billion people 24/7,
  • 8 million internet websites and services.

Massive Improvements for Online Services in Pakistan

As per preliminary reports, you may be already seeing latency per request decrease by over 3x and as much as 150ms.
This means that your favorite websites, online apps and services will load quicker than ever. For those who play online games like Fortnite and others, they will see a huge decrease in online lag from now on. Cloudfare says that these numbers are expected to further improve since they are still tuning routing for their customers.
Latency from PTCL to Cloudflare customers reduces by over 3x across Pakistan. Courtesy: Cedexis

How does it work?

Whenever you try to visit a website, you need to send a request to a server. The farther the server is, the more time it will take for the website to finally load.
Now suppose you weren’t the only one sending the requests. The more requests sent to the server, the more slower it gets back to you (and finally starts loading the website for you). In fact, too many requests could result in a denial of service attack. Think Daraz and other e-commerce sites here on Black Friday, and you get the idea.
Cloudflare basically has servers all around the world.  They also help you secure your websites and boost performance via its edge connect network
Another CDN, Akamai already has a strategic partnership agreement with PTCL, helping to serve content to Pakistani users faster than ever before. Now with Cloudflare joining the ranks, expect more improvements as you run out of excuses for missing that headshot in your favorite FPS game.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

PTA Reveals Plans for 5G Trials in 2019

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has rolled out its draft framework for the public trials of Fifth Generation (5G) Wireless Networks, its demonstrate systems, and the related services in Pakistan.
The draft framework pertains to the development and test of future technologies especially for the 5G wireless networks in Pakistan.
PTA states that the fast-paced growth in mobile data traffic and rising consumer demand for a better mobile broadband experience have rendered the upcoming fifth generation of mobile technology as a need of the hour.
“Seen as a comprehensive wireless-access solution with the capacity to address the demands and requirements of mobile communication beyond IMT-2020, it is projected that this technology will operate in a highly heterogeneous environment and provide ubiquitous connectivity for a wide range of devices, new applications, and use cases,” states the authority.

IMT-2020

As per the details, IMT-2020 is a term coined by the Radio Communication Sector of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2012 to lay down the vision of “IMT for 2020 and beyond.” IMT stands for International Mobile Telecommunications.
The ITU has developed a timeline that necessitates the completion of the standard by 2020. As for Pakistan, the PTA has underlined that the scope of IMT-2020 is wider than the prior generations of mobile telecommunication systems. Moreover, the ITU has been making decent progress regarding its work on designing the specifications for the IMT-2020.
It has also been collaborating with the entire range of 5G stakeholders with the associated spectrum management and spectrum identification aspects.
The telecom regulator terms IMT-2020 as the foundation for all the activities pertaining to the achievement of goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The draft framework for 5G provides for the use of radio spectrum on trial basis for non-commercial purposes to enable the execution of trials for the innovative use of radio frequency spectrum and equipment/apparatus and academic purposes like radio concepts, scientific research, and new systems demonstrations.  The framework provides for temporary Test and Development licenses only that will detail the criteria for the provision of conditions, authorization, duration, and other terms and conditions.
Via: DailyTimes

Mobilink-Warid Merger is Unjustified: Auditor General of Pakistan

The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has termed the grant of Non-Objectionable Certificate (NoC) for the merger of Mobilink and Warid as unjustified.
The audit report, on the accounts of Telecommunication Sector for Audit Year 2017-18 – a copy of the report is available with ProPakistani – recommended that the matter should be investigated for fact-finding and responsibility should be fixed on those responsible for granting the NOC in violation of the provisions of the law.
According to Rule 11 of Telecommunications Rules 2000, the granted cellular licenses shall be personal to the licensee and shall not be assigned, sub-licensed to or held on trust for any person, without the prior written consent of the Authority, noted the AGP audit.
It said that Rule 11 (4) stipulates that a permission given by the Authority under sub-rule (3) shall include the requirement that the licensee shall take all necessary actions to ensure the continuous and uninterrupted use of that part of the licensee’s licensed telecommunication system being sold, pledged, mortgaged or charged.
Section 5 (2) (a) of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996 further states that the Authority shall grant and renew licenses for any telecommunication system and any telecommunication service on payment of such fees as it may, from time to time, specify.
It was observed that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) received notices on 15th December, 2015 from M/s Pakistan Mobile Communications Limited (PMCL) and Warid Telecom for the change in substantial ownership interest and merger of both companies. Resultantly, PTA issued a NOC on 23rd May, 2016.

Irregularities Observed by AGP

PTA management allowed M/s Warid for the provision of 4G/LTE services without having a license and participation in NGMS auction. At the time of the merger, under the heading “Financial Analysis”, PTA mentioned that the merger of PMCL and Warid would result in the availability of 4G/LTE service to approximately 37 million subscribers of Mobilink who previously did not have access to 4G/LTE. AGP audit said that this was an undue favor to PMCL.
PTA allowed the merger of both companies but the licenses were not merged. The AGP said that through this, PMCL was enjoying two licenses and spectrums without paying any additional cost/fee and no commitment from the merged companies was obtained for the renewal of Warid’s license after its expiry in 2019 which has deprived the government of its renewal fee.
The record further revealed that M/s CMPAK (Zong) launched a complaint vide letter dated 16th March, 2017 by highlighting various aspects of the merger like the quality of service; re-farming of a spectrum and post-merger effects. It was stated that M/s PMCL was violating S.10 (1) of Competition Act and clause 3.9 of competition guidelines and indulging in deceptive marketing practices.
Instead of addressing the complaint, PTA responded that PMCL could advertise for any service permissible under its license and PTA was vigilant about its responsibilities.
The AGP was of the view that granting NOC for the merger of Mobilink and Warid was an undue favor to the referred telecom operators and was tantamount to a scanty role of the Authority as a regulator of the telecom industry in Pakistan.
The audit report said that the matter was reported to PAO and management from July to September 2017. However, the reply was not acceptable as the permission was granted to PMCL for allowing LTE services without paying any fee and the merger was against the provisions of the Act.
The DAC, in its meeting held in December 2017, pended the para and directed PTA to explain its position on this technical issue.

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