VMware partners with NTC to support government's Digital Pakistan initiative

The partnership will enable the state-owned National Telecommunication Corporation to support the Pakistani government's digital transformation initiatives.

VMware has signed a memorandum of understanding with Pakistan's National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) to "drive digital transformation within the public sector" as part of the government's Digital Pakistan initiative.

Under the agreement, the state-owned corporation -- which inaugurated Pakistan's first datacentre in Islamabad in August last year and offers a range of ICT services including broadband, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS -- will be able to use VMware's solutions to "modernise" existing IT infrastructure, simplify IT management, decrease operational and ownership costs, "strengthen" the availability and security of critical applications, and speed up network expansion to underserved districts, NTC said.

The corporation said these intended outcomes will be enabled through the use of VMware Cloud Provider Program, VMware vSphere with Operations Management, VMware vCloud Director, and VMware Site Recovery Manager.

"We are determined to better serve the public by strengthening IT and telecommunications support to all government institutions. With the right infrastructure together with the best solutions, we can better provision and provide for market trends now and in the future to drive Pakistan's digital transformation," Viqar Rashid Khan, managing director at NTC, said in a statement.

The Pakistani government claims it is the first nation in South Asia to move to an e-governance model as internet penetration in the nation rises. According to the government, which cited statistics from Hootsuite, the number of internet users in Pakistan increased by 20 percent in 2016, double the global average growth rate. Three in four internet users in the nation are accessing the internet through their mobile phones, compared to 27 percent via desktops.

"The government's bold step towards a fully e-government structure is testament to the powerful benefits from a software-defined approach to IT. By implementing a ubiquitous IT architectural plan that cuts across all levels of compute, network, storage, clouds and devices, NTC stands to benefit from the scalability, agility, and security required to enable Pakistan to truly succeed in the digital era," Adrian Hia, general manager of Nascent Markets & Vietnam at VMware, said in a statement.

VMware, which has operated in Pakistan for three years, also recently signed an agreement with Meezan Bank, Pakistan's largest Islamic bank, to "modernise" the bank's IT infrastructure across more than 500 branches in nearly 150 cities in Pakistan.

Through its partnership with VMware, the bank aims to increase the performance and efficiency of IT resources through virtualisation, speed up the delivery of solutions via private clouds, and improve the availability of critical applications.

NTC, which was established by the government of Pakistan in 1996 under the Telecom Reorganization Act 1996 to deliver ICT services to government functionaries, also signed a service provider license agreement with Microsoft at the start of the year to develop SaaS solutions for corporate customers and the government.

The corporation has been pursuing partnerships with private telecommunications operators to provide new services such as 3G/4G data connectivity and GoSmart -- a mobile application designed to enable customers to use NTC's fixed line services in any location, with additional capabilities such as audio and video conferencing, text messaging, and file sharing.

NTC also claims to be the first telecommunications operator in Pakistan to use machine-to-machine and point-to-point networks for extending fixed lines and data connectivity.