A technician of Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) repairs a telephone line at a distribution box. – AFP Photo

ISLAMABAD: The telecom sector has suffered Rs1.87 billion losses to its infrastructure and equipment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan because of the massive floods and official sources said that the damage in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan could be much more than that.

According to initial estimates of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, most of the losses had been suffered by companies using fibre optic cables, followed by cellular companies whose radio base towers had been damaged.

According to an IT ministry report, Multinet had suffered a loss of Rs600 million and its cables system in Koh Suleman to D.I. Khan had been damaged.

The PTCL suffered a loss of Rs164 million after its installations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were damaged.

Another fixed-line telephone service provider, the Special Communications Organisation, has suffered a loss of Rs89.1 million in AJK and of Rs93.2 million in Gilgit and Baltistan.

The companies badly hit by the catastrophe are Telenor, Zong, Warid, Mobilink and Ufone.

The combined losses of the companies are said to be Rs926.6 million.

“The companies which had the higher number of towers in these areas have suffered the most as the equipment and generators at each tower have been severely damaged,” a Pakistan Telecommunication Authority official said.

He, however, said that installations and equipment of the companies were mostly insured and the government was not responsible for their losses.

The official said that the PTA was in close coordination with cellular companies to restore their service in all parts of the country.

“The companies are replacing panels, our teams have hired boats to reach several areas for repair works,” an official of Ufone said, adding that several sites were not operating because of lack of fuel to run generators.

“Lack of fuel for generators in most of the flood-hit areas is the main reason for disruption of our services in these areas,” he said. - by Kalbe Ali

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