Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mobile Internet in South Asia

When Intel puts its weight behind an initiative, it automatically gets a boost. But when Google and Intel together join forces, no one in their right mind can bet against such a combined force. Mobile Internet with broadband access has achieved that inevitability with Google backing a Wimax joint venture between wireless veteran Craig McCaw's Clearwire and Sprint-Nextel. In addition to Intel and Google, this venture is also supported by Comcast and Time-Warner.

As the world goes mobile, Intel's objective is to extend its leadership position in platforms used to access the Internet. Google is aiming at capturing the huge market for mobile advertising that is likely to grab a increasingly larger share of online advertising revenue.

The wireless carriers such as Verizon and AT&T have long been busy building walled gardens and controlling the distribution and content of mobile platforms. On the other hand, Intel and Google have long been arguing for an open model similar to the Internet access by PCs where the consumer is in charge. Such a model would obviously benefit both Intel and Google to extend their current dominance in the desktop/laptop user market into the mobile Internet space. Now the two giants appear to be succeeding with the roll-out of the Wimax network and Sprint-Nextel's willingness to work with them to beat Verizon and ATT Wireless as the incumbent carriers.

According to Wall Street Journal, the WiMax venture will create a network that potentially covers 120 million to 140 million people in the U.S. by 2010, the companies said. The venture, valued at more than $12 billion, will have a two-year head-start on rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc., which are just beginning to sketch out plans for their next-generation wireless networks.

While the potential for Wimax in the US market looks very good, I believe the really big opportunity is in the emerging markets, such as India and Pakistan, where the mobile phone has achieved greater than 50% penetration and the PC/Internet penetration remains in single digits. South Asia is witnessing some of biggest deployments of Wimax with a lot of consumer interest in both fixed and mobile broadband.

According to Juniper Research, South Asia will be the driving force behind the growth of Mobile WiMax, or the 802.16e standard. The Asia and Australia regions are expected to account for more than 50% of the total WiMax deployments by 2013.

Pakistan, being among the first countries in the world to roll-out a functional WiMax service, is experiencing tremendous growth in demand after Wateen Telecom’s launch of its WiMax service and roll-out plans announced by Mobilink.

India's state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited is rolling out a Wimax network for broadband access in response to government requirement that 20 million broadband lines be in service by 2010.

Given the pent-up demand for the Internet access and the ubiquity of mobile phones, Wimax roll-out will likely spur the largest adoption of mobile Internet in South Asia first.

Related Link:

State of Telecom Industry in Pakistan

20 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Here is the latest teledensity data from ITU:

Both Pakistan (50/100) and Bhutan (37/100) are ahead of India (29/100) in mobile. India might soon be overtaken by Afghanistan (29/100) and even Bangladesh (28/100).

Of course, the fact that Afghanistan is ahead of Bangladesh in mobile penetration should cause all sorts of palpitations in government offices in Dhaka.

Bangladesh was one of the earliest in South Asia to adopt mobile and is the most densely populated country in the world. How they were overtaken by Afghanistan, a war-torn country with difficult terrain, should cause serious re-examination of policies such as the BDT 800 SIM tax. The fact that Afghanistan’s CAGR for 2003-08 is 109%, higher than Bangladesh’s 2003-08 CAGR of 101%, suggests that the gap between the two countries is more likely to increase than decrease.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on Wi-tribe's broadband launch in Pakistan:

Wi-tribe, a wireless internet provider backed by Qatar’s Qtel Group, has launched a wireless broadband service in Pakistan. The deployment, which uses WiMAX technology from Motorola, covers major cities of Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, and Rawalpindi.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani, chairman of Qtel Group, said the launch, which is Wi-tribe’s biggest project to date, marks an important stage in the company’s aim to become a top 20 telecom player by 2020.

“Following our launch in Jordan, Pakistan marks a major stepping stone towards our expansion strategy and our intention to leverage the scale and strengths of the Qtel Group in order to deliver the latest technologies to our customers,” he said.

Dr Nasser Marafih, CEO Qtel, added that broadband represents a “major pillar of growth” for the company, particularly in markets which have low broadband penetration rates, such as Jordan and Pakistan.

“Broadband penetration levels in new emerging markets are currently very low compared to markets in the region. However, consumer demand for wireless services is growing at a fast pace. So we will continue to focus on this area in the future as we see good business opportunity and significant growth potential,” he said.

While Pakistan already has about 50 ISPs, services are limited outside metropolitan areas. Access to high speed broadband and mobile broadband is also limited.

As of February 2008, Pakistan had about 100,000 broadband users, although the government has set itself a target to increase this number to 1.6 million by 2010.

Qtel entered Pakistan in April 2007 when it acquired a 75% stake in wireless telecoms operator Burraq Telecom, in a joint deal with and Saudi Arabia's A.A. Turki for Trading and Contracting.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on fiber network deployment in Pakistan:

Ranking as the world’s 6th largest, Pakistan has a population of 165 million, an urban ratio of 32.5% and average household size of 6.8 people. This represents a huge market for FTTX (Fibre-To-The-Home/Premise/Business). Cities like Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore are having strong demand for high speed fibre broadband from the government, financial and other commercial sectors.

The huge infrastructures of fibre network in Pakistan are expanding in full swing. Mobilink, TWA, Nayatel, Multinet, Wateen Telecom, Brain Tel and PTCL are active in fibre network advancement. Mobilink is having a fibre optic backbone of 8,500 km. TWA, a submarine fibre optic cable operator, specializing in end-to-end international connectivity, also constructed backbone fibre for Mobilink for domestic connectivity. Nayatel had introduced Pakistan’s first Fibre-To-The-User (FTTU) network with advanced Next Generation Network (NGN) capability, offering data, voice and multimedia services in Islamabad. Multinet with over 4,500 km DWDM backbone is connecting fibre to 107 cities in Pakistan up to 100mbps. Wateen laid 5,500 km backbone network and Metro Rings providing Triple Play (Data, Voice, Video) services in most major cities. Brain Tel offers Quadplay (Data, Voice, Video & Surveillance) in Lahore. PTCL started an exclusive FTTC (Fibre-To-The-Curb) phone connections last year.

“It is an important transformation, you can see great progress every day. In Pakistan, fibre is replacing copper to achieve high speed for Triple Play or Quadplay. You can imagine how promising fibre broadband is. Our partnership with Aspen Optics is a good news to both our carrier and enterprise customers”, said Malik Naseer Ahmad, Managing Director of Digital Solution.

Digital Solution will start to distribute the full product range of Aspen Optics including MetroBlazer™ media converters, concentrators, distribution & CPE switches as well as Geebic SFP, GBIC, Xenpak, 10GE X2 and XFP.

“We are excited to see this great opportunity, to participate in such a big market growing so fast. In alliance with Digital Solution as our distributor, we are eager to make contribution to the industry by offering innovative products to help customers in Pakistan enjoy the best out of fibre connection”, said David Whitney, Managing Director of Aspen Optics.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Babar Bhatti's report on broadband deployment in Pakistan:

When compared with cellular phone growth, Broadband has been slow to take off in Pakistan. However the last two years show some progress in terms of growth (a little over 20K subscribers per month), more choices of services in more places and most importantly a significant drop in cost for broadband access (~Rs.1200 per month on average). Another welcome trend is to move towards unlimited broadband.

PTCL has taken the lead with its DSL and EVO offerings while WorldCall, Mobilink Infinity, Wateen / WiMAX, Qubee, NayaTel and Wi-Tribe have also offered their services.

According to PTA, “broadband subscriber base grew by 146% adding 245,727 subscribers during July 2008 – June 2009, while broadband connection charges for 1Mbps connection dropped below Rs. 1000. There were 413,809 Broadband subscribers in June 2009 as compared to 168,082 in June of 2008.”

At the current rate of broadband growth we can cross the half-million mark by December 2009. We need to get to 1 million much faster.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's the latest BMI research report on Pakistan's Telecom market:

BMI forecasts that the mobile sector will achieve a total of 98.558mn subscribers at the end of 2009, after the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) and operators reported a total of 95.909mn subscribers in the market as of September 2009. Between YE08 and September 2009, the number of net additions totalled 6.002mn, which was significantly lower than the 13.339mn net additions in the YE07 to September 2008 period. Much of the difference is related to the government’s re-registration programme, as well as taxation on operators.
With the re-registration programme over, and operators involved in rebuilding their subscriber bases, BMI views growth of the mobile sector to continue over the next five years ended 2014. Operators such as Mobilink have focused their efforts on acquiring new subscribers, retaining the loyalty of existing subscribers, while also strengthening their brand image through key campaigns carried out during Independence Day and Eid. Second-ranked Telenor, which managed to overtake Ufone in Q209 and having previously been overtaken by the PTCL-owned mobile unit in Q308, has deployed attractive services such as its mobile banking, ‘easypaisa’, to encourage customers to its network.
The government has also reviewed the taxation policies in place on the mobile sector, and from which it gains a substantial chunk of its foreign direct investment (FDI) from. By strangling operators with higher taxes, it came to the realisation that neither operators, customers or the government would benefit. As of July 1 2009, the government reduced federal excise duty on mobile usage to 19.5% from 21%, as well as reduced the new SIM activation tax from PKR500 to PKR250. This is certainly good news and should help to build up the sector.
Furthermore, we have also noted that the PTA has sought to introduce MVNOs to the market. The licence fees have been set at US$5mn each. There appears to be little interest so far, given that there are no fewer than six operators, with competition between them particularly aggressive. Indeed, press reports report rumours of consolidation in the market, pointing to Telenor as a potential purchaser of Warid Telecom, although the Norwegian operator has denied the comments. It is not the first time, however, that talk of consolidation has occurred in the sector.
Meanwhile, we continue to witness the encouraging growth of the broadband market in Pakistan, breaking the half a million barrier in September 2009. This is being largely driven by the WiMAX technology, which has been rising at a faster rate than DSL, FTTH or EV-DO. With two-thirds of the Pakistani population residing in rural areas where there is a shortage of fixed lines, the need for wireless alternatives is clearly on the rise. In view of this, the government should accelerate the award of 3G licences, which had been expected in 2009, but is now expected in 2010.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Bloomberg report on PTCL's broadband expansion plans in Pakistn:

May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Pakistan Telecommunication Co., the biggest phone service provider, plans to expand its network of Internet broadband users to over three million in five years, as it seeks to take back revenue from rivals, the chief executive officer said.

“Broadband has huge potential in Pakistan,” Walid Irshaid said in a call for investors from Islamabad today. “We plan to have a 70 percent share of the market in five years.”

Pakistan Telecom has lost business to competitors including Telenor Asa., and China Mobile Communications Ltd. since 2004 when the government gave licenses to non-state telephone companies to start business, ending its monopoly. Pakistan Telecom’s revenue fell to 13.7 billion rupees ($162.6 million) in the three months ended March 31, from 13.9 billion rupees a year ago, according to an April 29 filing.

Emirates Telecommunications Corp. plans to purchase another 25 percent in Pakistan Telecom, Irshaid said, without saying when the transaction would take place. Emirates Telecommunications, the state-owned telephone provider in the United Arab Emirates, won management control of Pakistan Telecom in April 2006 after it bought a 26 percent stake in the company for $2.6 billion.

Pakistan Telecom shares, which have risen 22 percent this year, fell 0.1 percent to 21.61 rupees on the Karachi Stock Exchange today.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a WSJ report on India's $35 iPAD knockoff:

NEW DELHI—First the Nano, now the “Nano” computer.
Tata won praise world-wide for developing the world’s cheapest car, an innovation designed to put millions of Indians behind the wheel. The Indian government Thursday unveiled a computer it hopes will put millions of Indians in front of a keyboard.
As the iPad spreads globally, along with its hefty pricetag, this new computer, aimed at students, costs the same as the country’s cheapest cell phones.
“This is real, tangible and we will take it forward,” Kapil Sibal, minister for human resource development, said at a press conference in New Delhi. The touchscreen tablet will cost about $35, or 1,500 rupees, when it hits markets by early 2011.
The device was developed by students and professors at India’s premier technological institutes, using open-source programming, according to the Associated Press. The Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, Mumbai, Chennai and Kharagpur and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore researched it in collaboration with the government-operated National Mission on Education.
The National Mission on Education is working to spread connectivity to India’s universities and colleges.
“We have made the breakthrough and are now ready to capture the market,” Mamta Varma, spokeswoman for the human-resource-development ministry, said Friday.
Ms. Varma said the government plans to roll out one million such computers for university students during the first phase, and expand later to primary and secondary schools.
Last month, Uruguay awarded the nonprofit One Laptop per Child a contract to provide 90,000 of its XO laptops for high-school students in the country. The group hopes in the future to price its durable device around $100; right now it sells for more than that.
India’s new device is an improvement over another hardy computer for the masses launched at Tirupathi in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh last year that had been criticized for its cost, among other things.
Ms. Varma said the ministry has also made open invitation to national and global manufacturers to improve upon the prototype unveiled Thursday. “If more innovations will emerge, the cost of the gadget might be further reduced to $20 or $10,” she said.
The yet-to-be-named device, which has the look of an iPad, has the option of charging by a sleek solar panel. It will have features including an Internet browser, a multimedia player, searchable PDF reader, video conferencing ability and wi-fi connectivity. It is supported by a two-watt backup source for places where power supply may be poor. It also comes with a small, 2-gigabyte memory but no hard disk.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a WSJ report on India's $35 iPAD knockoff:

NEW DELHI—First the Nano, now the “Nano” computer.
Tata won praise world-wide for developing the world’s cheapest car, an innovation designed to put millions of Indians behind the wheel. The Indian government Thursday unveiled a computer it hopes will put millions of Indians in front of a keyboard.
As the iPad spreads globally, along with its hefty pricetag, this new computer, aimed at students, costs the same as the country’s cheapest cell phones.
“This is real, tangible and we will take it forward,” Kapil Sibal, minister for human resource development, said at a press conference in New Delhi. The touchscreen tablet will cost about $35, or 1,500 rupees, when it hits markets by early 2011.
The device was developed by students and professors at India’s premier technological institutes, using open-source programming, according to the Associated Press. The Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, Mumbai, Chennai and Kharagpur and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore researched it in collaboration with the government-operated National Mission on Education.
The National Mission on Education is working to spread connectivity to India’s universities and colleges.
“We have made the breakthrough and are now ready to capture the market,” Mamta Varma, spokeswoman for the human-resource-development ministry, said Friday.
Ms. Varma said the government plans to roll out one million such computers for university students during the first phase, and expand later to primary and secondary schools.
Last month, Uruguay awarded the nonprofit One Laptop per Child a contract to provide 90,000 of its XO laptops for high-school students in the country. The group hopes in the future to price its durable device around $100; right now it sells for more than that.
India’s new device is an improvement over another hardy computer for the masses launched at Tirupathi in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh last year that had been criticized for its cost, among other things.
Ms. Varma said the ministry has also made open invitation to national and global manufacturers to improve upon the prototype unveiled Thursday. “If more innovations will emerge, the cost of the gadget might be further reduced to $20 or $10,” she said.
The yet-to-be-named device, which has the look of an iPad, has the option of charging by a sleek solar panel. It will have features including an Internet browser, a multimedia player, searchable PDF reader, video conferencing ability and wi-fi connectivity. It is supported by a two-watt backup source for places where power supply may be poor. It also comes with a small, 2-gigabyte memory but no hard disk.

Riaz Haq said...

As part of the mobile broadband promotion campaign, PTCL's EVO-WiFi Cloud at 3G speeds (upto 3.1 Mbps) offers a mobile hotspot that intelligently converts your home/work/vehicle space into a personalized wifi zone anywhere in over 100 Pakistani cities and towns covered by EVO service. The EVO-WiFi cloud device costs Rs. 7000 upfront with Rs. 2000 a month for unlimited service.

PTCL has recently launched an Android based thin Apple iPAD2 like tablet computer with EVO 3G and WiFi connectivity built-in. 3G EVO Tab is a 7 inch touch screen tablet with built-in EVO service to offer wireless broadband internet on the go in more than 100 cities and towns across Pakistan. Powered by Google Android Froyo 2.2 Operating system, 3G EVO Tab offers support for both 3G and Wi-Fi for an un-interrupted on-the-go connectivity. With a 5 MegaPixel Camera, a variety of built-in applications, 3G EVO Tab lets users browse, snap, share, communicate, navigate, play games and do a lot more on-the go, thereby making it an ideal connectivity solution for users looking for high speed on-the-go 3G connectivity on an Android platform. PTCL 3G EVO Tab offers convenience and speed with three diverse economy packages to suit individual needs and pockets. Its 12-month bundle offer has been very successful with majority sales in this bracket.Customers can get EVO Tab for as low as Rs 7,999 plus 12-month unlimited EVO service, all at Rs 31,999. In addition to the 12-month contract, EVO Tab offers bundled packages based on 3 and 6 month contracts at Rs 27,999 and Rs 29,999, respectively with 3 and 6 month of unlimited EVO service.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/10/pakistan-launches-100-mbps-ftth.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report in The Nation about the use of mobile phones to deliver teacher training and resources:

ISLAMABAD - Nokia and UNESCO Islamabad have launched “Mobile Learning Project for Teacher’s Professional Development” on Thursday as formal collaboration took place in the presence of senior government officials, Nokia and UNESCO representatives.
As part of this programme, UNESCO and Nokia are joining hands, where Nokia is providing a technology solution known as Nokia Education Delivery to the UNESCO project ‘use of ICT for professional development of public school teachers’ in remote areas.
In Pakistan, through the project, Nokia will help UNESCO to enable the delivery of high- quality educational materials to teachers who lack training and resources.
Through mobile phones teachers will be given an opportunity to train themselves. Nokia developed the Nokia Education Delivery programme to allow using a mobile phone to access and download videos and other educational materials from a constantly updated education library.
Speaking about the project, UNESCO Director, Kozue Kai Nagata said, “In 21st century public-private partnerships are enjoying growing attention and support as a new and sustainable modality for development.
We are confident to collaborate with Nokia to provide us with the best platform to train public school teachers. Nokia Education Delivery programme is fit to match our need of delivering quality training to a large number of public school teachers across Pakistan through the project named “Mobile Learning for Teachers”.
Amir Jahangir, President AGAHI and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, shared his views on the launch that “Pakistan is a knowledge starved country, where universal education has its own challenges. To meet the target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) on education, Pakistan needs to address its education challenges through innovation and technology which can reach to a larger population with cost effective solutions”.
This unique pilot project for Pakistan has been initiated by UNESCO and AGAHI while Nokia Pakistan will enable the project implementation by providing not just Nokia devices but a complete solution via its Nokia Education Delivery programme.


http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Business/23-Dec-2011/Nokia-Unesco-join-hands

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Business Recorder story on PTCL's wireless broadband network coverage in Pakistan:

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited's (PTCL) EVO wireless broadband has become Pakistan's widest broadband Internet network covering 90 percent of the nation's population in more than 180 cities and towns.

PTCL has also recently expanded coverage of its fastest Nitro Rev B network to 70 cities.

Customers can now cruise with matchless speeds of up to 9.3Mbps with EVO Nitro's Rev B in more than 70 cities.

PTCL's EVO wireless broadband is the only wireless broadband network providing Rev A and Rev B connectivity in Pakistan, giving unlimited data volume downloads in unlimited usage packages.

Its superior 3G experience comes in a variety of pre-paid and post-paid device and connectivity package options that give customers multiple bill payment and pre-paid recharge options to suit their needs.

"PTCL is leading the mobile Internet revolution in Pakistan by continuing to expand and enhance our wireless broadband services to provide seamless coverage," said PTCL Senior Executive Vice-President, Naveed Saeed


http://www.brecorder.com/it-a-computers/206/1165130/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a <a href="http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/03/13/ptcl-claims-to-hold-95-share-of-dsl-broadband-sector>report</a> on growth of broadband in Pakistan:

<i>Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) claimed that it acquired 95 percent of the DSL market share with increase of 17 percent subscribers’ base in the first half of the current financial year 2011-12, the company financial report said.

According to an estimate, the company has nearly been subscribed by 1.5 million users. PTCL’s efforts in DSL business expansion were instrumental in making Pakistan one of the fastest growing countries in the world in terms of broadband growth.

The product portfolio was suitably diversified providing unparallel range from 256Kbps to 50 Mbps at competitive pricing to meet individual requirements of a wide range of customer base encompassing urban and rural communities alike.

Besides the company special promotions and bundled deals were encourages subscribers to upgrade their connections in terms of speed without any price increase.

Moreover, the introduction of Videophone with plug and play feature linking the service through regular DSL connection improved the subscriber experience.

The company also introduced FTTH (fibre to the home) in major urban areas to meet the ever-increasing demand of higher bandwidth and superior quality of services.

EVO Witnesses 30% Growth in H1FY12

In the half-year 2011-12, ‘EVO’ the wireless broadband service based on 3G technology witnessed a 30% growth in its customer base. This was made possible by introducing various products and packages encompassing latest technology.

The 3G EVO Tablet, launched on the Independence Day of 14th August 2011, is Pakistan’s first 3G enabled Android Tablet with built-in EVO wireless broadband for high speed on-the-go internet connectivity.

Similarly, economical packages were also offered on the EVO Cloud – the product enabling simultaneous 3G wireless broadband connectivity through Wi-Fi multiple devices.

Ufone Revenue up by 6%

The revenues of PTML (Ufone), the wholly owned subsidiary of PTCL also rose by 6 percent in the half year under review. The revenues of PTCL were Rs. 29 billion registering 6 percent increase.

PTCL Group earned revenues of Rs. 55 billion which were 6 percent higher compared to same period last year. The Group’s net profit after tax remained at Rs. 4.6 billion during the period under review depicting a decrease of 21 percent over corresponding period last year. PTCL’s net profit after tax was Rs. 2.9 billion which is 29 percent lower than the profit in same period last year mainly on account of decrease in Other Operating Income.</i>

http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/03/13/ptcl-claims-to-hold-95-share-of-dsl-broadband-sector

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a BR report on smartphone market in Pakistan:

(Pakistan currently has) five to six million smartphone users.

A rather bullish estimate is cast by Ericsson Pakistan which anticipates some 50 million smartphone users in Pakistan by 2016, accounting for 70 percent of operator revenues.

It could, however, be misleading to equate the potential mobile broadband uptake entirely with the incidence of smartphone users in Pakistan.

The cue might actually lie in the current mobile internet usage, which is reportedly growing despite high tariffs and laggard speeds on GPRS/EDGE networks.

According to PTA Chairman, mobile internet users crossed 15 million in June 2011, just four million shy of PC internet users.

Telenor Pakistan, arguably the dominant player in mobile internet services, shared with BR Research that every fourth Telenor customer is a mobile internet user.

High adoption rate is found in the 18-26 age, cohort and significantly higher data consumption is witnessed among business users who are mostly aged 30 and above.

Rural and semi-urban areas in the North are reported to have surprisingly high usage.

Interestingly, just three percent of total handsets on Telenors network are smartphones, when over a quarter of its customers have been mobile internet users.

This possibly means that the feature phones are at work here, which are not smartphones but have additional functions over dumb phones, including internet settings.

This could imply that the barriers to smartphone adoption may not really hold back the mobile broadband uptake, because a feature phone would suffice to access high-speed internet.

However, the appeal of a smartphone - which is capable to communicate with platforms like Android Market, Apple Store, and Blackberry App World, along with a plethora of third-party mobile applications - cannot be matched.

Besides handset functionality, the telecom leaders in their interactions with BR Research have cited two other decisive factors for the growth in mobile broadband users.

These are the development of local language content and creative mobile applications, and pricing of the data services as per needs of various segments.

There is a strong case for a large-scale mobile broadband adoption in Pakistan given the current data consumption trends.

A high penetration of mobile broadband can go much beyond mobile entertainment, social networking, and business usage.

It will augur well for areas, like education, healthcare and governance that are in dire need to be turned around for Pakistans socioeconomic progress.


http://www.brecorder.com/br-research/35:35/2382:smartphones-and-the-mobile-broadband-market/?date=2012-03-22

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times on PTCL 3G EVO mobile broadband offer:

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) is offering free 3G EVO Nitro 9.3 Mbps USB with 3 months free internet for advance payment of Rs 6,000 only. The small and compact 3G Nitro USB is an easy-to-manage USB dongle that offers a truly mobile Broadband internet experience at hyper fast speeds up to 9.3 Mbps. The 200 plus EVO coverage areas ensure that PTCL customers remain connected on the go. All new customers can avail this offer by making advance payment of Rs 6,000 only. The offer comes with free 3G EVO Nitro USB and 3 months free internet. PTCL is continuously building a truly mobile telecommunications infrastructure across Pakistan, said PTCL Senior Executive Vice President (SEVP) Commercial, Naveed Saeed.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\04\story_4-8-2012_pg5_14

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Wall Street Journal on chip makers' plans for cheap smartphones for developing countries:

...
Chip makers like Qualcomm Inc., QCOM +1.53% Intel Corp. INTC +0.96% and Taiwan-based MediaTek Inc. 2454.TW +2.18% are focusing on low-priced phones that typically cost less than $200, because the fast-growing market offers high volumes of sales. As a result, the companies are working with handset vendors in China and other emerging countries to increase their presence in the segment.

Qualcomm, the world's dominant provider of wireless chips, has been working of late with Chinese electronics maker Lenovo Group Ltd., 0992.HK +3.34% and the two last week introduced a couple smartphones that use dual-core Qualcomm chips typically reserved for pricier phones.

While the devices from Qualcomm and Lenovo aren't the first dual-core phones to hit the Chinese market, they are the first from Qualcomm to address the market's low end.

Traditionally, low-end devices use older, weaker processors and sacrifice certain features and performance for price. But Qualcomm's partnership with Lenovo is an attempt to appeal to a more price-conscious audience yet still enable high levels of performance.

"It's really amazing what's happening with smartphones, that, even at this entry-level, high-volume mass market smartphone tier, you're getting this level of processing and performance," Jeff Lorbeck, Qualcomm senior vice president of product management, said in an interview.

Lenovo, which also has introduced a device using Intel chips, wasn't available to comment.

An Intel spokesman said the company views the emerging markets as key to long-term success in smartphones and that it's pleased with the response to its first devices from Lenovo and India-based Lava International Ltd.
----------
The low-end smartphone market is expected to grow rapidly. According to ABI Research, cheap smartphones should make up about 42% of global smartphone shipments in 2017, up from about 14% in 2010. By comparison, high-end devices costing more than $400—a segment dominated by Apple Inc. AAPL +0.26% and Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE -0.31% —should stay steady at about 23%.

In China, nearly two-thirds of smartphones fall into the low-end pricing tier, research firm Analysys International said.

To help drive lower device prices, many chip makers are offering "reference designs," essentially fully functioning mobile devices that can help customers design their own products. Such designs speed time to market, lower the complexity and cost for smartphone makers, and boost the number of phone vendors able to address the market, with the chip maker bearing the burden for initial development. The designs are particularly attractive to low-cost phone makers that may lack the expertise to make smartphones on their own.

For carriers in emerging markets, lower-priced phones are a big focus. Many wireless providers in countries outside the U.S. require customers to pay full price for their smartphones, which makes high-end phones, such as Apple's iPhone, rather expensive for consumers.

Mobile TeleSystems, one of Russia's largest wireless providers, plans to work with manufacturers in Asia, such as ZTE Corp. and Huawei Technologies Co., 002502.SZ -1.59% to introduce MTS-branded phones this year that cost less than $100.

The company expects the cheaper devices to drive smartphone adoption. It estimates about 60% of the devices on its network will be smartphones by the end of 2014, up from about 15% in the first quarter of this year...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on Huawei launching smartphones in Pakistan:

Huawei, a leading player in telecommunication is all set to launch 5 touch screen Android mobile phones in Pakistani market on July 16 in Lahore. The models are expected to be Ascend P1, U8860 Honor, U8850 Vision, Ascend G300, Ascend Y200.

Huawei has long been present in Pakistan providing network solutions to cellular operators. Although it has floated lower price handsets as a part of bundle offers in association with the leading cellular operators in Pakistan but this is the first official launch of Huawei’s smartphones in the local market. We cannot rule out the possibility of making available these smartphones as a bundle offer through cellular operators as being one of the largest network equipment provider in the world Huawei already has strong ties with the cellular operators.

Ascend P1 is the finest among all 5 having 7.7 mm thin body, Quad-band GSM and penta-band 3G with HSPA support, 4.3″ 16M-color capacitive Super AMOLED touchscreen, latest stable flavor Android OS v4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash, Standard 3.5 mm audio jack; Dolby Mobile 3.0+, SNS integration and everything else that what Android offers.

A little lower in price is U8860 Honor that is 11 mm in total and offers TFT capacitive touchscreen of 4.0 inches and 480 x 854 pixels of display, 1 GB storage, 512 MB RAM, 4 GB ROM, Qualcomm 1.4 GHz Scorpion, Android OS, v2.3 (Gingerbread), 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, SNS integration and much more.

With Huawei joining the scene, it will be a good sign for the local market where Samsung leads the smartphone category (thanks to Galaxy series) followed by HTC offering a wide range of smartphones.

As Nokia no more considered to be a challenge soon in the future and particularly after the fall of MegaGate, Q Mobile appears to be a third contender for a pie in the local Android market which is getting charged up with low priced Android based mobilephones.

Market analysts believe that Huawei with huge funds and better R&D will be a much better competitor for Samsung and HTC. It may knock out QMobile in the first round provided the distribution and sales network perform as per expectation. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see how market reacts to this new entrant.

We have heard that expected price range of Huawei’ upcoming smartphones is PKR. 9,500 to PKR. 42,000.


http://www.moremag.pk/2012/07/14/huawei-launching-5-android-smartphones-in-pakistan-with-competitive-prices/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from recent Akamai's State of the Internet report for Q1-2012:

When it comes to average connection speeds, all of the top 10 countries experienced positive year-over-year changes in average connection speeds. Globally, a total of 125 countries experienced year-over-year increases and only 10 countries that qualified for inclusion saw declines in connection speeds. The global average connection speed in the first quarter was 2.6 Mbps.

Once again, South Korea (15.7 Mbps) featured the fastest average connection speed. Countries/regions rounding out the top 5 included Japan (10.9 Mbps), Hong Kong (9.3 Mbps), the Netherlands (8.8 Mbps) and Latvia (8.8 Mbps).

Year-over-year, the global average peak connection speed increased by 25 percent, and increases were also seen across all of the top 10 countries. Globally, nearly 130 qualifying countries saw year-over-year increases in average connection speeds, ranging from 3.8 percent growth in Pakistan (to 5.9 Mbps) to a 213 percent jump in Libya (to 3.8 Mbps). Only five countries saw a yearly decline in average peak connection speed, with the greatest loss in Tanzania, which dropped 21 percent (to 5.1 Mbps).

In the first quarter, Hong Kong took the top spot for average peak connection speed (49.3 Mbps), dropping South Korea (47.8) to second place. The remaining top 5 included Japan (39.5 Mbps), Romania (38.8 Mbps) and Latvia (33.5 Mbps).
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In the first quarter of 2012 Akamai found that a mobile provider in Germany delivered the fastest average connection speed at slightly less than 6 Mbps. Of all mobile operators tracked, five had an average connection speed of greater than 4 Mbps, while 65 mobile operators had average connection speeds greater than 1 Mbps. Only three providers had average connection speeds below 500 kbps.

When looking at peak connection speeds for the mobile providers worldwide for which Akamai analyzed data, a provider in Hong Kong offered the highest average peak connection speed of 32.2 Mbps. A German provider came in a close second at 31.2 Mbps. Overall, six mobile operators had average peak connection speeds of greater than 20 Mbps - double the number of the previous quarter. 31 providers had average peak connection speeds above 10 Mbps and all providers had average peak connection speeds above 2 Mbps.


http://www.darkreading.com/security/news/240005229/akamai-releases-first-quarter-2012-state-of-the-internet-report.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on Mobilink plans for 3G roll-out in Pakistan:

KARACHI: With Islamabad still in the process of launching third generation (3G) cellular spectrum, Mobilink awarded a nationwide network expansion and modernisation project to Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent.

Orascom Telecom – the Egypt-based parent company of Mobilink – signed a five-year agreement with China’s Huawei and France’s Alcatel-Lucent to provide for the design, purchase, deployment, and maintenance of next-generation mobile network equipment and supporting services from two of the world’s leading telecom hardware providers; company’s website said on Sunday.

Huawei was awarded 50% of the radio network and 100% of the core and value-added services network, while Alcatel-Lucent was awarded the other 50% of the radio access network.

It is relevant to mention that Mobilink – Pakistan’s largest mobile phone operator – had raised Rs2 billion in secured loan through institutional investors, according to a notice sent to Karachi Stock Exchange in June, 2012. It, however, did not specify if this was meant for network expansion, 3G roll out or mobile banking.

The cellular giant was yet to make an official announcement about this agreement locally. The monetary value of the project was also not made public either by Orascom or Mobilink.

Mobilink refused to give any details, saying the development was not made public in Pakistan.

“Any cellular company that is seeking a long-term future in Pakistan has to invest in 3G,” Hussain Ali Talib, company’s manager of corporate communications said in a comment that he related to a press conference by CEO Rashid Khan in January, 2012. Khan had announced Mobilink’s participation in 3G bidding and their network expansion plans for 2012.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/464790/mobilink-to-get-network-upgrades-for-3g-rollout/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Pew survey on the use of cell phones to access the Internet:

Six in ten cell phone owners (63%) now go online using their mobile phones, an eight-point increase from the 55% of cell owners who did so at a similar point in 2012 and a two-fold increase over the 31% who did so in 2009. We call these individuals “cell internet users,” and they include anyone who:

Uses the internet on their cell phone (60% of cell owners do this), or
Uses email on their cell phone (52% of cell owners do this)
Taken together, 63% of cell owners do one or both of these things, and are classified as cell internet users. Since 91% of Americans are cell phone owners, this means that 57% of all Americans now go online using a mobile phone. The steady increase in cell phone internet usage follows a similar growth trajectory for smartphone ownership. Over half of all adults (56%) now own a smartphone, and 93% of these smartphone owners use their phone to go online.

The demographics of cell phone internet usage
Just as the overall increase in cell phone internet usage has coincided with the growth in smartphone adoption, the demographic groups most likely to go online using their phones tend to match those with high levels of smartphone ownership. In particular, the following groups have high levels of cell phone internet use:

Young adults: Cell owners ages 18-29 are the most likely of any demographic group to use their phone to go online: 85% of them do so, compared with 73% of cell owners ages 30-49, and 51% of those ages 50-64. Just 22% of cell owners ages 65 and older go online from their phones, making seniors the least likely demographic group to go online from a cell phone.
Non-whites: Three-quarters (74%) of African-American cell phone owners are cell internet users, as are 68% of Hispanic cell owners.
The college-educated: Three-quarters (74%) of cell owners with a college degree or higher are cell internet users, along with two-thirds (67%) of those who have attended (but not graduated) college.
The financially well-off: Cell phone owners living in households with an annual income of $75,000 or more per year are significantly more likely than those in every other income category to go online using their phones. Some 79% of these affluent cell owners do so.
Urban and suburban residents: Urban and suburban cell owners are significantly more likely to be cell internet users than those living in rural areas. Some 66% of urbanites and 65% of suburban-dwellers do so, compared to half of rural residents....


http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Cell-Internet/Main-Findings/Cell-Internet.aspx

Riaz Haq said...

From Express Tribune:

Pakistani internet users are rapidly moving towards a new era of mobile internet dominance over access from desktop computer, a new survey sponsored by Google has found.
According to a press release, this trend follows a decline in the prices of smartphones and tablets, and anticipated launch of 3G services.
Internet-capable feature phones are expected to continue to play an important role, too. An additional factor is the unreliability of the electricity supply which is also helping to promote the usage of tablets and smartphones in Pakistan.
The findings come from a survey of over 1,000 Pakistanis by research firm IDC on behalf of Google. The “Pakistan Digital Consumer Study” conducted earlier this quarter took a look at the life of the connected Pakistani consumer.
The survey found that digital consumers are engaging more with the internet than ever before. The study revealed that home is the preferred location for Internet access — even for mobile-only users, who prefer to use their home wi-fi connection.
The top three activities in Pakistan both on desktop and mobile Internet are: social media, email and general search.
The main challenge of Internet proliferation in Pakistan are the quality and reliability of connectivity — including poor speed or bandwidth availability, perceived value-for-money, customer service quality, limited choice of plans and frequency of service interruptions. The unreliability of the power supply is also a factor, the press release stated.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/64