May 3, 2005

Look over my shoulder

Anthony at thinks I should be looking over my shoulder, as he quotes this article in Businessweek about Pakistan trying to give India a run for its money.

Then again, maybe not :-)

Seriously speaking, I think with better political relationships with Pakistan, Indian organizations like Wipro and Infosys and niche players like OfficeTiger have a huge opportunity to do business in Pakistan.

In fact, as this Pakistani journalist thinks:

At the moment it seems the only advantage we have over India is ourrelatively better English accents, a tag line that has been drummed todeath by all parties concerned. But if we are to generate 100,000 agents in the next three to five years, we can't use it as our only trump card. India is set to become the world's largest English-speaking force by the year 2010, and with its accent reduction training centres we'll soon lose that advantage too. The trick is to concentrate on developing long-term strategies.
Another important thing to realise is that we aren't in a technology war with India; we can't be, since they have already won it (emphasis mine-Gautam). So, since you can't beat them, it would be savvy to join them instead. Collaborations will be of benefit to both parties, more so for Pakistan. It's good to see PASHA starting to facilitate this. Three Pakistani IT companies signed up with Indian firms last February when they attended a NASCOMM conference in India. Forging a relationship between the universities of the two countries, with student exchange programes, can achieve even more, and calls for immediate consideration.

Also the claim that the operating costs of a call centre aresignificantly low in Pakistan is not convincing and needs to be backed up by significant cuts in the bandwidth rate. As of now, a 64Kbps connection costs 3325 USD whereas a 2Mbps connection costs around47,400 USD per annum, rates that are quite high if you compare them with the rates in the US. In fact, in a recent change in tariff rates,the Indians have brought down the rates of their 64Kbps down to just 550 USD and 19,400 USD per annum for their 2Mbps connection. In addition, the opening up of broadband licenses will not contribute much to the call centres, if the current restriction that says bandwidth for call centres can only be obtained through PTCL stays in place.