“The times they are a-changin’,” said Steve Jobs in a recent e-mail exchange on Apple's iPhone, “and some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away. It is.”
Google CEO Eric Schmidt has started talking up his company's new motto "Mobile First", urging its developers to start creating versions of new services for smartphones before converting to run on PCs.
"There is a huge thirst for smartphones in emerging markets," Microsoft said in a statement. "For many people, the phone rather than the PC is the main entry point to the Internet, resulting in a high demand for rich communication devices. In order to meet this demand, we have teamed up with MediaTek to facilitate the provision of affordable smartphones," the company added.
As the smart phones prepare to take center stage among computing and Internet access devices, there seems to be a rare consensus emerging among the American technology titans at Apple, Google and Microsoft that the smart phone will be the primary device used to access the Internet...particularly as it relates to demand in the developing world where mobile phones have much higher levels of affordability and market penetration than the personal computers. A logical outcome of such a consensus is the increasingly fierce competition which will significantly drive down the cost and dramatically increase availability of smart phones globally, particularly the developing nations like India and Pakistan where the telecom companies are already building mobile broadband networks. PTCL currently offers 3G service in Pakistan, and a 3G license auction is planned for this year to add more service providers. In addition, the growth of Wi-Fi in South Asia will be an added low-cost data option for smartphones.
BlackBerry service is offered by a number of telecom service providers and widely available in Pakistan's cities, towns and villages. Last year, Time magazine reported from Faridkot, a Pakistani village, that "straddles a paved road about 2 1⁄2 hours' drive from Lahore, and two new gas stations mark the village boundaries. Beyond those are factories and fertile farmland. There is even BlackBerry service". However, the high cost of Blackberry device and mobile Internet service limits it to only about 60,000 elite subscribers in a nation of over 100 million subscribers, about 64% of the population. India, with about 50% cell phone penetration, has nearly 400,000 Blackberry user. The number of Internet users can be expected to rise exponentially as affordability significantly increases to satisfy what Microsoft calls "a huge thirst for smartphones in emerging markets".
The key cost reduction drivers are likely to be similar to the ones seen in the earlier PC battle in 1990s between Wintel (Windows on Intel) and Apple Mac platforms which I personally observed and enabled as a CPU pioneer at Intel. While Macintosh represented a major advance in ease of use with Apple controlling it, the Wintel platform opened up hardware competition with multiple vendors leading to lower prices and tremendous growth in terms of applications and hardware availability. In this new era, the two biggest entries are expected to be Apple iPhone and Google Android, with each trying to outdo the other in terms of ease of use, number of applications and prices.
While Apple currently enjoys dramatic iPhone growth, it's future market share is likely to suffer from the cost barriers it is building into its pricing model which designed to maximize its profits with ongoing revenue stream from third-party content. According to Newsweek, there’s only one place where anyone can buy iPhone apps: Apple’s online App Store. And Jobs keeps a 30 percent cut of the revenue. As for ads, Jobs will sell those, too, and he’ll keep 40 percent. Of course, Jobs also sells music, movies, and books via his iTunes Store, keeping 30 percent. So instead of a one-time sale of a Mac, each iPhone and iPad becomes an ongoing revenue stream.
Currently, Q1/2010 market data shows that Apple iPhone and Google Android are running neck and neck, each selling at an yearly rate of 36 million phones each, while RIM's Blackberry is slightly ahead with about 40 million phones a year. Nokia (Symbian OS) still leads the pack with sales of 86 million smartphones a year. The overall smartphone shipments of about 230 million units still lag the 275 million PCs sold annually. However, a number of forecasters expect smartphones annual sales to equal or exceed PC unit sales by 2011.
Currently, only 7% of Indians and 11% of Pakistanis have the Internet access, according to ITU. Growth in the Internet access anticipated via smartphones can open up a vast new world to a larger number of South Asians. Smartphones have the potential to spur mass literacy, significantly improve health, enable wider access to financial services, help enhance human productivity and afford new opportunities for e-learning for human development to reduce poverty. Growth of Mobile Internet with availability of a new wave of smartphone applications in India and Pakistan has the potential to revolutionize South Asia.
Wireless Broadband in Pakistan
ITU Internet Access Data by Countries
Mobile Internet in Pakistan
Media and Telecom Growth in Pakistan
Poverty Reduction Through Telecom Access
Pakistan's Telecom Boom
Pakistan Tops Text Message Growth
WiMax Rollout in Pakistan
Mobile Internet in Pakistan
Low Literacy Threatens Pakistan's Future
Gender Gap in South Asia
Mobile Financial Services in Pakistan
Financial Services in Pakistan
Distance Learning in Pakistan
Top 5 ICT4D Trends in 2010
ICT4D in Pakistani Hospital
ITCN Asia 2010 Conference in Karachi
State of Telecom Industry in Pakistan
a smartphone cannot substitute a PC the form factor is too small to effectively read pages and type out sentences.
What will happen is ipad clones some as cheap as $100 with Wimax will proliferate explosively in the next 5 years.
We will see the demise of the clunky desktop and most households in the west/developed parts of asia will have 2 computers a laptop for serious stuff like projects,ppts etc etc
And an ipad type tablet to comfortably browse the net,check mail and catch up on facebook etc.
Here's a Reuter's story on smartphone price declines:
A new wave of cheap smartphones could soon do for the mobile industry what years of hype and investing in pricey 3G systems failed to accomplish -- combining must-have chic with affordable prices for data-hungry masses.
Prices of smartphones are falling sharply as handset vendors use free software such as Google Inc's Android and chip prices are also tumbling as semiconductor makers put baseband and application processors into one chipset.
Free software is significant since Microsoft Corp charges up to $15 per phone for cellphone vendors to use its mobile operating system.
China's ZTE, which cut its teeth making cheap phones for emerging markets, aims to repeat that success in smartphones with a new model it is putting on trial for about $150 per handset, said He Shiyou, head of the company's cellphone division.
The model, using Google's Android operating system, is expected to start shipping next month and could be sold globally, he said at the Reuters Technology Summit on Monday.
ZTE's phones will join a growing crop of cheaper but still intelligent phones designed to take on the likes of pricier traditional models such as Apple Inc's iPhone, which costs more than $600, and Research in Motion Ltd's BlackBerry, which typically costs $250 or more.
"It will have tremendous importance when smartphones come down to maybe $100 to $150, then you can reach all (consumer) segments," Johan Wibergh, who heads the mobile networking equipment division at Ericsson, the world's largest cellular equipment maker, said at the Summit, which was taking place at various Reuters offices worldwide.
ZTE's cheap smartphone, which it is developing for domestic carrier China Unicom , follows similar moves by a number of companies and could mark the beginning of a new wave of phones to enter the market priced at around $100 to $150.
Global cellphone leader Nokia Oyj already sells a model whose price starts at 125 euros, while Chinese vendors are expected to take prices into largely uncharted territory.
"We are going to have an Android device for 85 euros ($105) by the end of the year," Oren Nissim, chief executive of satnav software maker Telmap, told the Reuters Summit in Paris, but he declined to name the manufacturer.
Telmap and many other major mobile software vendors have access to upcoming phone models well before they are introduced to the general public.
ZTE, NOKIA, HUAWEI, GOOGLE TO WIN
The expected boom should benefit companies such as ZTE, Nokia and China's Huawei that have expertise developing models for cost-sensitive emerging markets and have the manufacturing clout to develop new models cheaply.
"The market is seeing an abundance of affordable smartphones, but that raises a new challenge for operators in how to make data tariffs attractive and accessible on prepay," said CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber.
It could also benefit carriers with 3G networks who stand to reap more money from the data-rich services, such as online gaming, music streaming and Web surfing, that such smartphones are good at.
Ericsson and other network equipment providers could benefit too as carriers boost capacity on their networks to accommodate rising demand.
Another possible beneficiary is Google, as its Android system is fast becoming the preferred choice of many low-end smartphone makers.
"Cheaper smartphone prices are only going to benefit two groups of people: telecoms operators and Google," said Vincent Chen, an analyst at Yuanta Securities in Taipei.
"Falling smartphone prices aren't going to be good for handset brands and they'll need to get used to these cheaper prices and lower margins soon," he said.
I for one am eagerly waiting for the release of the NotionInk Adam tablet device in India. It's a proper desi device that can firmly kick the backside of the ipad. Also a lot of Indian mobile phone manufacturers like Karbonn (of the IPL 'fame') are catering to whole new segment of Indian customer, providing cheap affordable smartphones. According to a new report, these desi brands have already captured 14% of market share in India. So people don't have to have the ignominy of carrying around cheap chinese knockoffs.
Here's a news story about Micromax, an Indian handset manufacturer, targeting the price-sensitive customers in the developing world:
Their strategy for other emerging markets will be similar to that in India: Sell phones loaded with features at dirt-cheap prices. Micromax, for instance, sells smart phones at less than Rs 8,000, which is 33 per cent below multinational rivals. All Lava phones are priced below Rs 6,000. The company plans to introduce smart phones and Qwerty handsets within this price range. Most of them import in bulk from China, though application development and product design happens in India.
“We have chosen to penetrate these markets because our products with features like dual SIM and dual memory card, we thought, would be right for these emerging markets,” said Spice Mobile’s head of marketing, Naveen Paul. “We strongly feel that these markets are very similar in nature to the Indian market, and we perceive a huge opportunity. Given the similarity in socio-economic conditions, the consumer preferences in these markets are quite similar to those in India,” Karbonn Mobiles Executive Director Shashin Devsare added. “The youth in these markets have got a sporty attitude, and they want features that are beyond voice and text, and Lava handsets offer the same with in-house software,” said Lava International Co-founder and Director SN Rai.
But some of these markets could be different from India. “Brazil is technologically one step ahead of India, as 3G came to the country a year back. But it’s not advanced like Europe which is a 4G-technology market now,” said Jain. “The differentiator for Micromax will be its innovative product design.” The challenge that all Indian brands will have to crack is distribution. But if they can get their distribution network in place in a large country like India, there is hope that they will do it in other markets as well.
Broadband users in Pakistan have reached 816,807 mark, as of April 2010, as per recently published stats by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
PTA stats said that Internet Service Providers of Pakistan added a total of 44,370 broadband subscribers in April 2010 compared to addition of 55,932 broadband subscribers in March 2010.
These statistics suggests that DSL still has 55 percent market share of total broadband market in Pakistan (in terms of subscribers), while WiMAX stands second with 30 percent subscribers’ market share.
EVO EVDO witnessed highest growth rate in last two quarters and has added its market share in terms of subscribers by 3 percent, while WiMAX subscribers’ market share grew by 2 percent.
On other hands, DSL users decreased by 3 percent and HFC saw a decline of 2 percent in market share in last 7 months.
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) now extends its wireless Broadband EVO service to 100 major cities and towns across Pakistan. PTCL EVO is a superior 3G wireless technology that gives opportunity to roam freely with an average download speeds from 300 kbps to 500 kbps.
PTCL has made the broadband technology affordable by lowering the barriers to entry and now geographically, the service is within the reach of a large number of Pakistanis.
The major cities that PTCL EVO covers are, Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Hyderabad, Chakwal, Gujranwala, Muzzafarabad, Rawalakot, Mirpur, Okara, Sargodha, Sialkot, Multan, Faisalabad, alongside other small towns and cities across Pakistan.
Expansion of PTCL broadband network will continue to ensure that more customers get the opportunity to experience the latest wireless broadband and related technologies.
Naveed Saeed SEVP Commercial, on achieving this important milestone, said that the EVO launch in 100 cities reflects PTCL’s commitment to connect its customers to the world via Internet and the company’s commitment to provide its customers with best telecom services at their doorsteps. Working in a market where technology changes every minute, PTCL always strives to introduce products and services that brings more value to its customers.
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.
Here are some excerpts from a report on Google-YouTube team visit to Pakistan:
Internet connectivity in Pakistan is as low as 10 percent but opportunities for growth are evident, a team of Google and YouTube officials who visited the country early this month said in a blog post.
The main reason of the growth of internet opportunities in the country, according to the team, is low broadband costs which at $13 per month is quite cheap compared to the other parts of the world. Also Smartphone usage is on the rise and there are a growing number of Pakistani developers who are creating mobile applications for sale both in Pakistan and abroad.
Since 60 per cent of Pakistanis use mobile phone and pay an average bill around $3 per month and SMS being the primary means of communication, the team noticed a good opportunity of Internet growth in Pakistan.
Early this month, the team went to Pakistan to explore business and content opportunities, following up on Google’s Clinton Global Initiative commitment to Pakistan and to sponsor and participate in Pakistan’s first International Youth Conference and Festival.
The availability of local Pakistani content online is another reason the team found to make more Pakistanis engaged into internet. For example, the fusion music “Coke Studio”, a music project sponsored by Coke, became popular in YouTube last summer. Since “Coke Studio” brought the pure aroma of popular music culture of Pakistan it gained a special place in the Internet world. It also brought forth the talented Pakistani musicians into light.
“The Pakistani media is young and voracious. It was just eight years ago that the government opened up the airwaves to allow non-state media channels to exist, and in that short time the media has grown to become an important player in the public discourse in Pakistan, despite occasional crackdowns from authorities,” said the blog post.
The team also said dozens of news organizations have begun to use YouTube as a global distribution platform as well, reaching not only Pakistanis online but the diaspora abroad.
Also during the trip the team attended and participated in the International Youth Conference run by an organization called Khudi. Khudi was founded by the dynamic Maajid Nawaz, a former extremist who changed his views towards moderate Islam and has since devoted his life to educating young people on freedom of expression and anti-extremism.
“Pakistan’s future no doubt lies with its youth. An incredible 62% of Pakistanis are under the age of 25. In this way we saw an opportunity for technology to not only foster economic development, but also to break down borders in the region,” said the blog post.
PTA Chairman says Local manufacturing of smart phones, according a Daily Times report:
KARACHI: The local assembly and manufacturing of low-priced ‘smart phones’ will start soon in the country by Pakistani companies in collaboration with chip designers and Chinese manufacturers.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Dr Muhammad Yaseen said this while talking to media persons at the interactive session for ICT stakeholders – ‘Connect ICT Forum 2011’, organised by Pegasus Consultancy at Karachi Expo Centre here Wednesday.
He said several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) have been signed recently, between local companies and Chinese manufacturers and chip designer Falcom for producing smart phones in Pakistan.
The event was organised by PTA in an effort to start local assembly and manufacturing of smart phones, which are currently being imported. Responding to a question about the misuse of SIMs, he said that PTA has blocked 16.5 million mobile SIMs and during the ongoing data cleansing under third phase, PTA is receiving 400,000 quests per day on its complaint number 668.
Yaseen hoped that no unidentified SIM will remain in cellular phone network after May 17, which is the last to confirm the validity of your SIM and clean your mobile phone record.
He said the sales of handsets will not be affected due to the ongoing data cleaning campaign.
Replying to a question about smuggled handsets, he said that PTA has submitted its input to the IT Ministry in which it has suggested two-pronged policy. First, to impose ban on these handsets at customs stage where IMEI numbers are not mentioned, and second, impose a ban on the sale of such phones in the country.
He pointed out that millions of mobile phone imports were allowed without type approval of authority after 2005, therefore handsets without IMEI numbers flooded the local markets.
To a question on mobile phone banking, he said that a final meeting will be held between PTA and State Bank of Pakistan to discuss and come out with consensus on modalities and authentication issues on May 11.
Earlier, speaking at the forum, he said that PTA will again arrange meetings between service providers and academia to encourage development in the ICT sector.
World Health Org study concludes cell phones can cause cancer, according to the Daily Mail:
Mobile phone users may be putting themselves at higher risk of cancer, a major new study has confirmed.
The World Health Organisation-funded study has found that microwave radiation from mobile phones can increase the risk of brain tumours.
The agency has now listed mobile phones as a 'carcinogenic hazard', alongside lead, engine exhaust fumes and chloroform.
Before its announcement today, the WHO had assured people that no ill-effects had been established.
A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries made the decision after reviewing peer-reviewed studies on mobile phone safety.
The team found evidence that personal exposure was 'possibly carcinogenic to humans.'
This means that there is not enough long-term evidence to conclude if radiation from mobile phones is safe, but there is enough data to show a possible connection to tumours.
Mobile phones emit a kind of radiation known as non-ionising. It has been compared to a very low-powered microwave oven.
Even more grave are the possible effects on children, who have thinner skulls and scalps - allowing radiation to penetrate much more deeply into the brain.
The rapid cell division of young brains could also multiply the mutating effects of radiation, according to Dr Black.
The WHO's warning joins a chorus of voices urging caution over excessive mobile phone use in recent years.
The European Environmental Agency has pushed for more studies, amid fears that the radiation from mobile phone handsets could be as dangerous to public health as smoking, asbestos and leaded petrol.
In 2010 the widest yet international study of the relationship between mobile phones and cancer found those who had used mobiles for a decade or more had double the rate of brain glioma, a type of tumour.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1392810/Mobile-phones-CAN-increase-cancer-risk-Shock-finding-major-study.html#ixzz1NyIHbuKI
Here's an excerpt from a Bloomberg story on Qualcomm's plans for sub-$100 smartphone for the Indian market:
Last month, Chinese handset makers Huawei and ZTE unveiled Android phones powered by Qualcomm chips for about $100. That’s not yet low enough for Indian operators, though. “The big threshold will happen at $50 to $60,” says Sanjay Kapoor, CEO for South Asia at Bharti Airtel. “At that price, then an explosion of the market can happen.”
To get there, Jacobs has made changes at Qualcomm. In the late 2000s the company lost a step to Taiwanese rival MediaTek, which made a splash in 2G phones by working closely with cheap, no-name producers in China that had little experience making handsets. MediaTek didn’t just sell them its chips; it taught its customers how to produce handsets. Jacobs says Qualcomm tried to keep its distance from what he calls this “swarm of ants” strategy, but MediaTek’s success made Qualcomm realize it had to adapt. Now the American company has started offering reference designs of its own to companies that work on 3G phones. “We learned you need to give the complete design, soup to nuts,” says Jacobs.
That new approach is helping companies such as Micromax, one of India’s leading local brands, take aim at the $100 smartphone barrier. Micromax once needed up to 12 months to come out with a phone, says Vikas Jain, business director and co-founder of the company. Now it needs only four, he says. Qualcomm’s expertise is also helping Micromax reduce its use of components from other companies, Jain adds, thus cutting by 30 percent its bill of materials for new devices. The company’s cheapest smartphone now costs $175, but Jain expects a $100 handset within six months. “Once we are able to reach these price points,” he says, “we are very sure about the mass adoption of smartphones in India.”
For most Indians right now, though, the smartphone “is not a device that you must have,” says Lennard Hoornik, president of South Asia for Taiwan-based smartphone maker HTC. The $100 challenge, he says, misses the point. For Indians to buy smartphones en masse, they need to have lots of apps in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, and other Indian languages. “There aren’t enough local apps that make people feel, ‘I have to have this.’ ”
Meanwhile, Qualcomm is looking further ahead. Although 3G is only getting off the ground in India, the government last year auctioned off spectrum for the next generation of high-speed mobile service. To ensure operators go with the Qualcomm-backed standard, called Long Term Evolution, rather than the alternative WiMAX technology backed by Intel (INTC), Qualcomm spent $1 billion to buy spectrum. The plan is to sell it to operators and help them launch LTE networks. The move, which Jacobs calls “a surgical strike,” not only outflanked Intel, it also helped drive operators in other countries to the LTE camp, says Shiv Putcha, an India telecom analyst with London-based research firm Ovum. He points to moves by Clearwire (CLWR) in the U.S. and Yota in Russia to adopt LTE as signs that Jacobs’s strategy has paid off. “Qualcomm coming in and pushing LTE really shut the door” on Intel, he says. “All of these technologies are going to coexist,” says Aicha Evans, general manager of Intel’s Mobile Wireless Group. “The users don’t really care what is below the hood.”
For the next few years, though, the real action in India will be in 3G networks. Back in the Palika Bazaar, salesman Khan is waiting for a cheap smartphone that might interest some of his customers. A $40 made-in-China clone won’t provide the sort of online experience you can get from real smartphones, but there’s no beating the price. “For a common man,” says Khan, “I’m not sure there’s a better deal.”
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.
Here are parts of a Business Recorder report on mobile broadband prospects:
....Commenting on the adoption of new technologies by MNOs, Yaseen (PTA Chairman) asserts "the time has come for the introduction of 3G and 4G technology in the country".
"As long as the MNOs are not hurting the interests of customers, PTA does not actively regulate rates charged by them" reveals the PTA chairman, explaining that in the past when Mobilink was the only MNO in the local market, its rates were regulated much more stringently by the regulatory body, but that this practice was abandoned with the deregulation of this sector.
On the other hand, Yaseen insists that the regulator is very much involved in ensuring that customers' complaints and feedback are heeded.
He highlights that "PTA is the only regulator in the country that has specific regulations and mechanisms in place to address customers' grievances in the form of the Customer Protection Department (CPD)".
Focus on low costs, newer technology
Acknowledging that costs related to infrastructure development have gone up for MNOs, he lauded recent moves by different cellular service providers to share infrastructure.
He said that not only would such arrangements help lower costs for these companies, but also they would allow better coverage across the country when service providers move into un-served or under-served areas.
When asked whether rising costs and a slower pace of growth in the number of cellular subscribers could force out some competitors from the local market, Yaseen responds, "although I personally believe that the size of the local market is big enough to accommodate all existing MNOs; still the market forces will determine the optimum number of operators for the local market".
While Yaseen appreciates the efforts of the industry in infrastructure development, he calls on policy makers to "go into 700 and 800 megahertz spectrums as the capital expenditure required in these spectrums is relatively low and they also supported 4G technology adequately".
The chairman explains that these bandwidths require lesser infrastructure to cover the same distance when compared to higher bandwidths.
He adds that higher spectrums can be tapped once economies of scale emerge and the use of smart phones becomes more popular in the local market.
Communication: a basic human right
"When it comes to broadband services, we believe the whole nation is currently under served and should be classified as such," he says adding that "the operators should be subsidised to enhance broadband services in the country."
Yaseen asserts that "communication is a basic right of every citizen so even if there is a small, secluded village in Balochistan, they should still be provided fixed line as well as broadband services." Chairman PTA also believes that the development of the required infrastructure can be practically achieved "because in the form of USF, the funds needed are available".
Muhammad Yaseen also highlights that enhanced coverage of telecommunications networks across the country can be leveraged to turn the country into a communication hub that can connect China and other East Asian countries to other regions.
"There are about 20 million smart phones connected to our networks at present, so any operator entering into the 4G realm can count on a prospective market among these connections," says Yaseen, adding that "the total size of the Australian market is 20 million subscribers." He concludes that "even if ARPU is low, the number of subscribers still provides lucrative opportunities in this sector!"
US soldier builds an iPhone app for artillery fire, reports Bloomberg:
At Camp Blessing in Afghanistan’s Pech Valley, some American soldiers played “Angry Birds” on their iPhones when off-duty. Jonathan Springer decided to put his device to a different use: building an app to help fight the Taliban.
“I wanted to give something back to soldiers that might help save their lives,” Springer, 32, said in an interview from his base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The result is Tactical Nav, an iPhone application the U.S. Army captain built with $30,000 of his savings and a maxed-out credit card a year ago. The $5.99 app uses GPS technology and the iPhone’s camera to chart coordinates and guide artillery fire. It has been downloaded about 8,000 times by U.S., Canadian and Australian soldiers, as well as hunters and hikers, Springer said. From e-mails he has received from soldiers who have gone on patrol with it, the app has been used in both combat and training, Springer said.
If Teri Takai gets her way, American soldiers, sailors and marines may all soon be able to download Tactical Nav and other military programs through a dedicated U.S. Defense Department app store. Takai, the department’s chief information officer, wants to build a secure network of smartphone apps to help soldiers fight in new ways, from more precise maps to better manuals. If security challenges get resolved, the project will result in a revenue source for app developers and a potential boon for iPhones, iPads and Android devices.
PTCL launches Android smartphone, reports Technomaniac website:
A start of a new year and a launch of a new product by PTCL. This time it’s a Android smartphone with EVO 3G built in. This is the third device in a series of products based on the PTCL EVO internet service, first it was the Futura mobile phone luanched by the subsidiary of PTCL i.e Ufone (which was a featurephone btw) and then a EVO tablet on 14th August last year.
The name of the device is IVIO Icon Pro and it seems like it is made by the same company that made the EVO tablet.
- EVO 3G speeds
- Ability to talk and surf at the same time.
- Android 2.2 Froyo Smartphone
- 5 MP Autofocus camera
- WiFi Hotspot facilty
- 3.5 inch 480*320 resolution screen
- 256 MB RAM & 512 MB Flash ROM
- Free 4 GB microSD card (Supports upto 32GB)
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, Accelerometer
- Upto 5 hrs talktime and 100 hours standby
- And best of all, you can use this device with any SIM of your choice!
Price and Packages
Rs. 18,000 Phone + 15 GB data – 6 months validity
Rs. 17,000 Phone + 5 GB data – 3 months validity
Post launch offers
Smart 5 GB
3 months validity Only Rs. 999!
Smart 15 GB
6 months validity Only Rs. 1,999!
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
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>
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.
Here's an ET story on Blackberry presence in Pakistan:
RIM has opened the doors of App World to the sixth largest mobile market, three years after its launch in US, Canada and UK – indicating a shift of focus to the emerging economies. With the inclusion of Pakistan, App World is now available in over 130 countries.
Pakistani BlackBerry users can access apps that include the newly introduced BBM connected apps, which make it easier for users to stay in touch with their contacts, share content and play multiplayer games, and discover new things from their BBM community; Saihgal said.
There are already several applications available in App World that were developed with Pakistani users in mind, the MD said, including the Pakistan Cricket News app for sports fans; the Abida Parveen Collection for music aficionados; the Karachi Love application for tourists visiting the port city and even a Pakistan Animated Theme to liven up the smartphone.
Limited access to apps
BB users welcomed the much-awaited launch of App World, however, they still don’t have access to all the apps available on the store. RIM may have to put in more to win over rivals iPhone and Android whose users enjoy unlimited access to the App Store and Android Marketplace, respectively, according to experts.
Pakistani users, according to Saihgal, will have access to the Middle East catalogue that provides access to only 40,000 apps.
Though appreciated, RIM’s recent move was not a surprise for industry analysts who believe it was always on the cards – especially due to increasing popularity of iPhone and Android-powered phones.
“BlackBerry certainly dominated Pakistani market until 2010. However, its market share fell recently after iPhone gained more popularity among masses,” said a telecom official who requested not to be named. Introduction of android-powered phones to the market was another blow to the Canadian smartphone maker, official added.
Responding to a question, the official said companies usually give BlackBerry to their executives and managers as part of their job package, which is why it dominates the corporate sector. He, however, added iPhones and Android-powered phones have recently gained much popularity among masses in the country, it is, therefore, hard to say whether BlackBerry still dominates the country’s smartphone market or not.
The exact figures for BlackBerry’s market share in Pakistan could not be obtained – mainly due to the information being confidential – however, three telecom sources estimated that there are about 1 million BB users in Pakistan.
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.
Here's an ET story on the growing popularity of Android phones in Pakistan:
... QMobile – the first Pakistani mobile phone company – has introduced phones packed with high-end features at very competitive prices to the Pakistani market, and it seems to be doing great business.
This Karachi-based company was set up by Mian Pervez Akhtar of Allied Electronics Industries – an importer, assembler and distributor of LG products in Pakistan – around five years ago. According to our sources, QMobile’s revenues have witnessed a phenomenal boost since then: for the year ended June 30, 2012, its revenues stood at Rs761 million – up by a staggering 85.8% over the previous year.
However, the company operates with a different business model as compared to companies like Samsung and Nokia: although it calls itself a mobile phone company, QMobile does not manufacture its own devices; instead, it imports them from vendors in China, and sells them under its own brand. The same phones are sold in India for example under the Micromax label.
QMobile’s growth has taken measured steps. The company started with selling basic mobile phones: “Their low-end devices still account for most of their revenues,” an industry source says. QMobile has a large customer base in rural Pakistan, which accounts for more than 65% of the population. It entered the smartphone segment relatively recently.
Its product range now includes phones with touchscreen features, QWERTY input and WiFi-accessibility. It has also launched a series of smartphones powered by the Android operating system, which is the most commonly used smartphone platform today.
QMobile has built itself a strong image in the market, because it provides fairly high-end features at prices affordable for most Pakistanis: you can now buy a branded Android smartphone for as low as Rs6,500, complete with a warranty, thanks to QMobile. This may well be the primary driver behind QMobile’s growth.
“Basic phones constituted about 90% of Pakistan’s mobile phone market five years ago, but this equation is changing now,” an industry source said. “Consumers are shifting from basic mobile phones to feature phones and smartphones, and today they account for more than 20% of the market. Out of that, smartphones alone account for more than 10% of the market,” he said.
QMobile claims to be the number two brand in the country: and industry sources say that in the absence of any accurately verifiable numbers, this may be so in terms of the volumes of units it sells.
A heavy marketing campaign has also helped the company build a strong brand name. “QMobile is a success story, especially in terms of branding,” a telecom consultant said. Its advertising budget is higher than even that of market leader Nokia, an official revealed.
This is one of the main reasons behind the brand’s success. The company has even used product placement as an advertising technique to promote its products. Take, for example, Bulbulay: a primetime sitcom, which often promotes QMobile products, one source pointed out. “This kind of advertising does not cost much, and earns the company valuable marketing: that too in prime time hours,” he said. Moreover, QMobile has always used Pakistan’s hottest celebrities in advertising its products. Pop singers Atif Aslam and Abrarul Haq have promoted QMobile phones in the past. Iman Ali has modeled for them. Hugely popular television celebrity Fawwad Khan is now promoting their top-tier Noir smartphones. All these factors have helped QMobile make a name for itself as being in a league apart from the cheap Chinese copies of popular handsets currently circulating in the market.....
Here's an excerpt from TechCrunch on Raspberry Pi computer in developing nations:
Asked about the global sales distribution of the Pi, the Foundation provided TechCrunch with some “very rough”, internal estimates of Pi sales to developing/emerging nations — and the figures (listed below) suggest that the first million+ Pi sales have overwhelmingly been powered by wealthier nations.
The most Pi-populous country on the developing/emerging nations list (India) can lay claim to roughly 0.5%-0.6% of total global Pi sales to-date, according to this data. While, collectively, these listed nations make up between only 1.4% and 1.7% of total global Pi shipments. So more than 98% of the Pi pie has been sold to the world’s wealthiest countries thus far.
Lao P.Dem.R. 600
Sri Lanka 50
South Africa 2000
There are also, of course, scores of (apparently) Pi-less developing nations that do not make this list at all. One of which – the Kingdom of Bhutan — does actually have a princely one Pi sale to its name at present, according to the Foundation. “It’s a server for Khan Academy Lite in a school, whose 64GB SD card costs more than twice what the Pi cost,” the Foundation’s Liz Upton tells TechCrunch. “We’re working on getting more out there!”
It’s likely that some of the Pis shipped to developed countries have found their way to less wealthy nations – via charities and other ‘suitcase schemes’ such as the Cameroon school project mentioned above which took out 30 Pis. Or via individual buyers seeking to avoid high import tariffs that can push up the price of bulk commercial imports (such as in Brazil).
But even factoring in some extra spread, there’s no doubt the Pi is predominantly disrupting the living rooms and schools of the developed world. Which, it should be noted, was the original ambition of the Pi founders — specifically they wanted to get more U.K. kids coding, following a national slump in interest in computer science education....
Here's an ET story on Norway's Telenor's 3G plans in Pakistan:
If the government is able to strike the right balance between upfront 3G licence fees and the industry’s capacity to invest in infrastructure, Pakistan is looking at potential investment of $5-10 billion over the next five to eight years from the five players already operating in the country.
These are the words of Jon Fredrik Baksaas, CEO of the Telenor Group. He also added that his company was looking at a potential investment of anywhere up to $1 billion over the next two to three years in Pakistan, including the upfront 3G licence fees. “Telenor is already in the process of a network swap in Pakistan. We are upgrading our base stations, which will then be ready to receive 3G equipment. We are about 50% done and should be finished by the end of this calendar year,” he said.
Baksaas was speaking to a group of telecom journalists from Pakistan at the headquarters of the Telenor Group in Oslo. Contrary to common belief, he insisted that Pakistan was not really late in upgrading to 3G. “Pakistan is not necessarily late on 3G, but it is about time to get it done.”
He believes that the Pakistani market is now mature enough, with enough mobile penetration, for the demand for 3G to be building up to a healthy level. “On paper, there is about 70% mobile penetration in Pakistan, but probably a bit less in reality, since many people have more than one SIM,” he observed.
This indicates that there is a lot of pent-up demand, which means better-than-average growth rates in the initial years of 3G, as was the case in Thailand when it finally jumped on the 3G bandwagon.
He also hoped that now that Pakistan was finally gearing up, it would be smarter than India in launching 3G. “When India had their 3G auctions, the government was too concerned with how much money they could pocket upfront and did not focus on how much financial resources to leave behind in the industry for the infrastructure to be built up. My advice to the Government of Pakistan would be to think of the balance of upfront auction fees against the ability of the companies to build quality networks in the country.”
Baksaas said this would be great for the country. “Through investment, you create profitable companies which create employment and can then be taxed. I believe that if you can raise internet penetration in a country by 10%, you can raise the GDP by about 1.5 basis points.”
He also felt that a countrywide rollout of 3G, and subsequently 4G, was very important, instead of just in major cities. “The benefits of 3G to the countryside of Pakistan will be relatively higher than 3G in the city, when you think of the daily lives of individuals and services like health, education, financial services, etc.”
He, however, did not feel that new players would be able to capitalise on the opportunity for 3G. “It has been proven difficult for newcomers to get into 3G or 4G if they don’t already have an existing network. We believe telecom is an evolution that starts with voice and sms.” When asked about Telenor’s readiness, he had just this to say: “We are ready and we are willing and we have the capacities and the competencies to build 3G in Pakistan.”
Baksaas was, however, concerned with regular cellular shutdowns in the country, as he felt that this was not a practical or efficient solution and perhaps needed to be better thought out...
Here's a NY Times story on cheap Android smartphones outselling Apple iPhone and Samsung Android phones:
A lower-cost smartphone could allow Apple to expand into overseas markets — especially China, where the iPhone has been highly desired among many consumers but is just out of reach because of its price.
“A cheaper model will open up the market significantly for Apple,” said Chetan Sharma, an independent telecom analyst who consults for phone carriers.
Apple declined to comment on the new products. But analysts expect the higher-priced model to be an improvement over the current iPhone, including a faster processor and better camera flash, as well as a fingerprint sensor for security.
The second iPhone is expected to be a cheaper version of the soon-to-be-outdated iPhone 5, coming in a variety of colors, with a plastic case instead of aluminum. Analysts expect the full price of the lower-cost iPhone to be $300 to $400, positioning it as a midtier product.
Apple has been enormously successful, with the iPhone driving most of its revenue. In the second quarter, the company took 53 percent of the profit in the global smartphone market, with Samsung Electronics, which uses Google Android software to run its smartphones, taking the rest, according to a survey by Canaccord Genuity, an investment bank.
But both Apple and Samsung face a common enemy: the tide of manufacturers that produce dirt-cheap Android phones. While they make all the profits, Apple and Samsung have seen their combined share of the worldwide smartphone market drop to 43 percent in the second quarter from 49 percent a year earlier. The makers of cheaper phones — including Huawei, Yulong and ZTE of China, and Micromax and Karbonn of India — are raking in sales in emerging markets where high-end smartphones are not popular.
“We’ve had several indications from the handset market that vendors are in real trouble,” said Tero Kuittinen, an analyst for Alekstra, a mobile diagnostics firm. “The biggest threat to all the companies seems to be the low-end Androids.”
In terms of sales, smartphones surpassed traditional flip phones this year. There are a few markets remaining where traditional cellphones are still outselling the smartphone, including India, Brazil and Russia. Data from Qualcomm suggests that Latin America, China and India are adding substantially higher numbers of smartphone subscriptions than North America, Japan, Korea and Europe.
China, with its huge population, is an attractive target for Apple. But Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said recently in a call with investors that the company was puzzled about why sales of its products were struggling in China. Sales there fell 4 percent in the second quarter compared with the same quarter last year. And Apple’s sales in Hong Kong were down about 20 percent.
A cheaper iPhone could help it gain traction in China, depending on its cost.
Here's a Pakistan Tribune story on smartphones in Pakistan:
Currently, around 119 million people in Pakistan own a cell phone which is about 68.6% of the entire population. Furthermore, out of all the cellphones sold 6% are specifically smartphones. Similarly, from all the smartphone brands available in Pakistan, Samsung has the highest market share (39%) followed by HTC (22%) and Sony (8%).
HTC is a Taiwanese manufacturer of smartphones and tablets which have managed to capture the attention of the entire world. Recently, to further improve their position in the smartphone market, HTC has signed Robert Downey Jr. for its marketing campaign “Here’s to change” which is expected to help increase HTC’s sales, after their recent loss in stock value. This Taiwanese phone-maker is going all out with the introduction of this $1 billion marketing campaign. Other than implementing these stringent marketing strategies, the smartphones which have recently been introduced by HTC have also upped the game. Some of the best smartphones which have been introduced by HTC are:
HTC has recently launched HTC One, which has taken the mobile phone market by storm. It boosts an amazing camera which has a remarkable low-light performance, a new interface which helps combine all your social media and news feeds into a single place, great sound and a brilliant 4.7 inch screen which helps provide the best immersive experience. Also, its user-friendly features and its impressive aluminum body construction may help HTC in capturing the mobile phone market.
HTC One mobile price in Pakistan:- Rs.65000/-
HTC Desire C
Not everyone can afford the latest android technology but that doesn’t mean that everyone should have to live without it. HTC desire specifically caters to the needs of these people; it’s one of the best budget phones which is equipped with the latest android technology. The main selling point of HTC Desire C is that it has a 3.5 inch screen with a 600MHZ processor and that too at such a low price. Also from its high end look it is almost impossible to guess that it’s a budget phone. One major advantage that Desire C has over its competition is the addition of HTC sense which supercharges this device.
HTC Desire C price in Pakistan: – Rs.11,000/- to 15,000/-
A smartphone for those on a tight budget, the HTC Wildfire doesn’t hold back on the specs; the touchscreen handset runs on Android 2.1 which is equipped with user-friendly HTC Sense UI but one issue is that it has the same processing power as 2009′s HTC cellphone, the HTC Hero.
HTC Wildfire Price in Pakistan: – Rs. 12,000/-
The HTC 8X is the epitome of elegance, not only is it beautifully designed, it is equipped with all the necessary features required in a smartphone. It is definitely one of the best smartphones which gives other windows 8 (operating system) based smartphones a run for their money. It’ll certainly raise eyebrows when you hold this cellphone in your hand – not just because it’s colorful, but also because it’s so beautifully made with unibody, polycarbonate design.
Another attractive feature of HTC 8 X is its high resolution screen – which measures about 4.3 inches coming in at 1280 x 720 pixels. It’s considered to be as good as Apple’s Retina (which is the current best) or maybe even better.
HTC 8X price in Pakistan: – Rs. 46000/- to Rs. 50,000/-
Here's a case for 3G in Pakistan:
Sceptics usually ask, why 3G? Is it to enable us to watch movies on the go?
Unfortunately, a lot of people only think of it in terms of smart phones. Although a large amount of productive things could be done with 3G smart phones, it is the 3G mobile broadband on PCs, laptops and tablets that is of real value for developing countries. To connect these devices to broadband, USB dongles are used. People in developed countries usually use mobile broadband in addition to the fixed broadband, but in developing countries mobile-broadband is often the only broadband access available. That does not mean we use it only for cell phones and not for offices and homes.
In Pakistan, broadband is available in less than 300 towns and cities. All of these 2.5 million odd broadband connections belong to the fixed broadband category. The problem is that we never had an extensive fixed broadband network, therefore the number of fixed connections that we can have is limited. In addition to this, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) is the only dominant fixed-line provider in Pakistan and it has become a kind of monopoly broadband provider, which is causing a downfall in its services.
On the other hand, 2G cellular GSM networks are present all over the country and 3G will be accommodated with these cellular network providers. Thus 3G networks will reach 90% of the population with relatively less effort. I deliberately use the word “effort” and not “investment” because investment will come from private sector operators. The government does not need to bother about development budget and resource constraints. What else could one ask for!
Just like 2G was such an effective engine of growth in the last decade, 3G can also contribute significantly. Broadband deployment will unleash tremendous opportunities related to jobs, foreign investment, trade, and economic growth. For example, as the users grow in numbers, a completely new sector will emerge – that of local content, software and applications! And indeed, Government services like Education, Healthcare and Governance will immediately become possible for rural areas. Admittedly the private sector operators would deploy 3G mainly in cities, but for the rest the Universal Services Fund (USF) can work as initial investment.
Therefore allocating broadband frequency spectrum to operators is extremely urgent and essential. It should have been done five years ago. And as for the debate whether the licenses should be for 3G or 4G, there is one answer. The licenses should be “technology-neutral” – let the operators decide. They certainly know the market better.
Last but not least, it appears that the whole purpose of auctioning frequency spectrum is to get the short-term benefit at a big price and fill the budget gap. In my humble opinion, that is completely misplaced. We should be more concerned with maximum coverage in shortest possible time. That’s what the national interest demands.
Here's an Express Tribune piece on how the Punjab govt in Pakistan is using smartphones ad mobile apps:
As our anti-dengue campaign progressed, we bought 1,500 Android phones and kept refining our applications. The system was used by 17 different government departments and hundreds of field workers, and we have received over 200,000 pictures from all over Punjab. We developed more applications that enabled field entomologists to report Aedes Larvae clusters, as well as health workers to GPS tag the houses of the confirmed patients. With this data flowing in, we built a state-of-the-art epidemic early warning system, which statistically analysed the larvae reports and patient locations, and raised red flags wherever it detected a potential outbreak. This information was promptly shared with the local government to help it target its activities in the most vulnerable areas.
This system has led to a full-blown real-time disease surveillance system in Punjab, tracking all 26 WHO notifiable infectious diseases. Cross-verification of data from our dashboard has become a common practice in the government. The system has been featured by the MIT Technology Review, The Economist, NPR and BBC.
Encouraged by the success of our system for tracking disease outbreaks, the PITB has been working on numerous applications to help the government monitor its own work. Drug inspectors now carry our smartphones to report their visits to pharmacy outlets; visits of livestock EDOs are tracked using our smartphone applications; Lahore police uses our smartphone applications to analyse crime hotspots; agriculture extension workers report their activities using our smartphone applications; the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) uses smartphone applications to report its cleaning activities after Eidul Azha; this year, monitoring of Hajj facilities for pilgrims was done using our smartphone-based applications. Such is the adoption of our systems that over 25,000 geo-tagged activities were uploaded by the LWMC during the three-day Eid campaign a few days ago. And the chief minister Punjab personally reviewed this data, after every hour!
Going forward, we are developing a platform, in collaboration with the World Bank, which would enable people without an IT background to generate a monitoring application by simply dragging-and-dropping components. We are experimenting with increasingly advanced features. For example, our application for the irrigation department is designed such that the picture of a depth-metre is automatically processed to extract the level of water in a canal — making it difficult to hide the theft of irrigation water in tail canals.
Our model of mobile governance, or m-governance, is quickly taking root in Punjab. The rapid adoption, level of innovation and sophistication of our evolving systems is unprecedented in public sector organisations, especially in developing countries. In the coming year, seven major government departments will heavily start using our smartphone-based monitoring systems — employing over 30,000 smartphones. If we manage to keep our momentum, Pakistan may become one of the leading examples of innovations in m-governance.
Here are World Bank reported highlights of the use of mobile phone technology in Pakistan:
The Punjab provincial government’s efforts so far include getting direct feedback from 3 million users of public services through SMS and providing field workers cost-effective smartphones to track their visits and collect data, including to monitor pests on crops, fighting dengue, and managing waste.
A recently-approved project will scale up these activities using innovative financing that emphasizes results, takes a multi-sectoral approach, and increases transparency and citizen access to information, improving citizen-state relations.
This model of innovative and sophisticated mobile governance is almost unprecedented in the public sector in developing countries, and represents one of the largest-scale attempts to hear from citizens to crack down on corrupt and poor performing officials.
Here's PakistanToday on Mobilink's 3G rollout plans:
Mobilink has announced that it will complete the roll out Pakistan’s most modernized and largest 3G ready network with more than 9000 cell sites across the country by July 2014. The network modernization is in line with Mobilink’s strategy to provide its customers with best voice quality and fastest data speeds. The initiative was enabled by VimpelCom with investments made on various fronts including network modernization taking its total investment in Pakistan to USD 4.3 billion – the highest in Pakistan’s telecom industry. In order to celebrate this achievement, Mobilink launched a major communication drive across mainstream TV, radio, print and social media to emphasize the company’s bigger, better and faster network supremacy so that their customers never miss a moment. Speaking about Mobilink’s roll-out of Pakistan’s most modern network, Bilal Munir Sheikh, Chief Commercial Officer, Mobilink said, “Mobilink’s 3G ready network established over Pakistan’s largest cellular footprint sets us apart from our competitors as more than 37 million Pakistanis trust us with their communication needs. I am confident that our improved network will go a long way in providing the best customer experience with seamless connectivity over the most robust and technologically most advanced network of Pakistan.”
Smartphones to double next year, reports Dawn:
The market share of smartphones is expected to double next year as stiff competition rages among cellphone makers with moderate prices and cheap Chinese brands penetrating the market.
Nokia Android phones have also hit the markets where Q Mobile, Samsung, Huawei, Sony, LG, Voice, G-Five, VGO Tel, etc continue introducing new smartphones with more advanced features and competitive prices. However, feature phones (not smart or android) still hold 80 per cent market share and cost between Rs2,500 to Rs4,000.
According to Director United Mobile, Azad Lalani, smartphones share will jump to about 40pc next year from the current 15-20pc.
Pakistan’s monthly sales of overall cellphones is estimated at 1.5 to 1.7 million units. The start of 3G services will further boost sales of smartphones.
Market sources said that one of the Chinese cellphones now holds a major market share with sales of 600,000-700,000 units per month, a sector that was previously dominated by Nokia. The price of smartphones (Chinese brands) starts from Rs7,000 and touches up to Rs60,000 plus for many major brands.
Country General Manager Nokia Pakistan and Afghanistan, Arif Shafique said, “We have recently launched the first of our Nokia X range of smartphones in Pakistan. The device runs on the Nokia X Software Platform, which is built on the standard Android Open Source Project (AOSP).”
Shortly, the company will expand the range of Nokia X devices in Pakistan across all price points. The recently launched Nokia X is available at an estimated price of Rs13,500.
“Pakistan’s mobile market is burgeoning and the users are becoming more and more tech savvy,” he said.
On grabbing market share in Nokia Android phones, he said as per Nokia policy he cannot comment on the company’s market share by country or region. “I believe there is consumer demand especially in the affordable smartphone space,” he added.
Regarding investment in the launch of Android phones in Pakistan, he said: “The investment is largely in the marketing and promotion of this new range, as well as in supporting Pakistani developers to come up with more locally relevant apps for Nokia X family.”
Currently Nokia phones are arriving from China for the Pakistani market. “As and when trade between India and Pakistan opens, we will weigh both options — of importing from China and India.”
“We will opt for the one that will offer the best value to our consumers in Pakistan,” he said.
On Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia devices and services business, the general manager said, “Our transition with Microsoft is shaping up to close in April and our journey towards bringing smarter mobile devices and smarter technology is going ahead with this transition.”
Couple of reports on 3G in Pakistan:
1. From Newsweek Pakistan
The first stage of Pakistan’s 3G-spectrum sale process on April 14 exceeded projections of the federal government by $100 million, a source in the Ministry of IT told Newsweek on Wednesday.
Four telecom operators put in base-price bids totaling $1.3 billion. The federal government had estimated receipts of $1.2 billion from the spectrum sale during the current fiscal year. The companies have already deposited $200 million as earnest money with the government.
“Since demand is higher than supply, we will proceed to Stage Two on April 23,” said the Ministry source, asking not to be identified by name. “The $1.3 billion is now locked in. The second stage, when the auction happens, will allow the government to build on this further.”
The source declined to offer any estimate for the final figure from the spectrum sale.
The four bidders will be required to pay 50 percent of their final offer upfront to receive a license from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. They will have the option to pay the remainder over five years. To encourage timely payments, the Ministry has made bidders accept a late-payment penalty of 3 percent plus LIBOR per year.
2. From TechinAsia:
Pakistan has a vibrant mobile market with five operators providing 2G services to a total of 133.7 million subscribers. Those customers are worth $2.25 each per month to the telcos in terms of ARPU. Mobile subscriber numbers have grown rapidly in the country, up 4.7 percent between June 2013 and January this year. ...
A report by Plum Consulting (PDF link) predicts that with the deployment of 3G in Pakistan, the number of broadband subscribers will rise from its current 3.35 million to 45 million by 2020 in the more optimistic high-demand forecast, or to 25 million in the low-demand forecast (see chart below). Pricing will play a pivotal role in terms of adoption, as currently users are able to get unlimited access to 2G data services for about PKR 150 ($1.50) per month for 1GB of data....
Four of the five Pakistani operators have bid for the new licenses. Warid, the nation’s smallest telco, has decided to opt out. The two biggest operators, Telenor and Mobilink, have stated that they would be able to deploy 3G services to the masses within a few weeks as their core infrastructure is ready for 3G. Telenor has 7,500 cell sites across Pakistan that are 3G-ready, and the firm’s CTO has stated that 4G can be deployed after some minor upgrades. Mobilink has said that it will have 9,000 cell sites by July, with 70 percent of the infrastructure already revamped for 3G. The local mobile market is expecting strong smartphone sales in the weeks proceeding the 3G and 4G auction. Currently the smartphone market accounts for 15 percent of all mobile imports (1.5 to 1.7 million units per month), but it is expected to rise to as much as 40 percent within a year of the auction – that’s 600,000 new smartphones per month. Some smartphone owners in Pakistan are excitedly awaiting the auction and have started posting speed test screenshots on Facebook or Twitter as operators test their networks in limited areas.
Read more: As Pakistan prepares 3G and 4G roll-out, country expects up to 45 million high-speed data subscribers by 2020 http://www.techinasia.com/3g-auction-pakistan-grow-broadband-subscribers-45-million/
Samsung and Telenor Pakistan co-launched the Galaxy Note 4 in Pakistan on Friday, at an event held at a local hotel in Lahore. The phablet has been priced at a whopping Rs. 85,000 (approx. $825).
The Galaxy Note 4 will be featured on Telenor Pakistan’s Sales & Service Centers and franchises for its customers across the country starting from October 29, and will come with Telenor’s free 3G Internet for six months.
The offer includes the unlimited usage of WhatsApp, Twitter and Line along with all purchases of Galaxy Note 4.
The device comes with accidental coverage that includes screen breakage, liquid damage and numerous other types of damages that will be repaired by the company within one year of the purchases.
Telenor has also conducted a pre-order campaign from 20th October offering free S-View Flip covers to its Pakistan’s customers.
“We have always been at the forefront of offering cutting edge technology and next generation solutions to our valued customers,” said Omer bin Tariq, Director Internet and Devices, Telenor Pakistan.
“Our collaboration with Samsung is yet another testament of Telenor Pakistan’s customer centric approach to provide services as per the evolving customer preferences and building an ecosystem to facilitate 3G uptake.”
Telenor has recently rolled out its 3G services in 35 cities of Pakistan, becoming the largest 3G mobile operator in the market.
Mr. Omer said the company is determined to strengthen its current efforts, and cover other aspects that are aimed at bringing affordable smartphones and enhancing Internet adoption amongst the growing community.
The Galaxy Note 4 features a 5.7-inch Quad HD (2560×1440) Super AMOLED display, 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, Adreno 420 GPU and 3GB of RAM.
The device also includes a 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, a 3.7-megapixel front-facing camera, 32/64GB of expandable internal storage and a 3,220 mAh battery.
The phablet is the first Galaxy Note device to feature a metallic body. It runs on Android 4.4.4 (KitKat) operating system, and also comes with the traditional S Pen stylus.
Pakistan now has close to 150 million mobile subscribers. A growing number of those are smartphone owners who are pushing forward adoption of web services like ecommerce and social media. Gertjan van Laar, an app developer who published a report this week on smartphone usage in Pakistan, tells Tech in Asia that smartphone adoption has reached between 7 and 10 percent of the population – in contrast to the general mobile penetration rate of 80 percent (1).
But that means Pakistan has a lot of room for growth. Laar and his team at Grappetite dug into data and also conducted a survey to find out more about the current mobile landscape in Pakistan – and then put it all into the infographic you see below. Here are some of the highlights:
Android is Pakistan’s top smartphone OS with 68 percent share just among smartphone users
iOS is second on 24 percent share; Windows Phone is third on eight percent
Samsung is the top brand; iPhone is second; homegrown phone-maker QMobile is third
35 percent of smartphone users in Pakistan carry a low-cost phone on them for safety reasons
Here’s the full infographic:
Smartphone usage in Pakistan in 2014 - INFOGRAPHIC
See: Pakistan Startup Report and wiki shine a light on challenging but p...
For more fun graphics like this one, check out previous entries in our infographic series.
In terms of methodology, Laar says that the team used “reports and statistics from sources such as the World Bank, the PTA, and the Association of Internet Providers in Pakistan. Some reports were quite outdated, [so] based on our expertise we extrapolated data where we found it appropriate.” He adds that their own survey was an “online questionnaire with 15 questions, sent out by us to mainly urban people in Sindh.” ↩
Assange believes #Google is an extension US govt and instrument of US Policy. http://www.newsweek.com/assange-google-not-what-it-seems-279447 …
From Newsweek by Julian Assange of Wikileaks:
It was at this point that I realized Eric Schmidt might not have been an emissary of Google alone. Whether officially or not, he had been keeping some company that placed him very close to Washington, D.C., including a well-documented relationship with President Obama. Not only had Hillary Clinton’s people known that Eric Schmidt’s partner had visited me, but they had also elected to use her as a back channel.
While WikiLeaks had been deeply involved in publishing the inner archive of the U.S. State Department, the U.S. State Department had, in effect, snuck into the WikiLeaks command center and hit me up for a free lunch. Two years later, in the wake of his early 2013 visits to China, North Korea and Burma, it would come to be appreciated that the chairman of Google might be conducting, in one way or another, “back-channel diplomacy” for Washington. But at the time it was a novel thought.
I put it aside until February 2012, when WikiLeaks—along with over thirty of our international media partners—began publishing the Global Intelligence Files: the internal email spool from the Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor. One of our stronger investigative partners—the Beirut-based newspaper Al Akhbar— scoured the emails for intelligence on Jared Cohen.
The people at Stratfor, who liked to think of themselves as a sort of corporate CIA, were acutely conscious of other ventures that they perceived as making inroads into their sector. Google had turned up on their radar. In a series of colorful emails they discussed a pattern of activity conducted by Cohen under the Google Ideas aegis, suggesting what the “do” in “think/do tank” actually means.
Cohen’s directorate appeared to cross over from public relations and “corporate responsibility” work into active corporate intervention in foreign affairs at a level that is normally reserved for states. Jared Cohen could be wryly named Google’s “director of regime change.”
According to the emails, he was trying to plant his fingerprints on some of the major historical events in the contemporary Middle East. He could be placed in Egypt during the revolution, meeting with Wael Ghonim, the Google employee whose arrest and imprisonment hours later would make him a PR-friendly symbol of the uprising in the Western press. Meetings had been planned in Palestine and Turkey, both of which—claimed Stratfor emails—were killed by the senior Google leadership as too risky.
Looking for something more concrete, I began to search in WikiLeaks’ archive for information on Cohen. State Department cables released as part of Cablegate reveal that Cohen had been in Afghanistan in 2009, trying to convince the four major Afghan mobile phone companies to move their antennas onto U.S. military bases. In Lebanon, he quietly worked to establish an intellectual and clerical rival to Hezbollah, the “Higher Shia League.” And in London he offered Bollywood movie executives funds to insert anti-extremist content into their films, and promised to connect them to related networks in Hollywood.
If the future of the Internet is to be Google, that should be of serious concern to people all over the world—in Latin America, East and Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, the former Soviet Union and even in Europe—for whom the Internet embodies the promise of an alternative to U.S. cultural, economic, and strategic hegemony.
A “don’t be evil” empire is still an empire.
Extracted from When Google Met Wikileaks by Julian Assange published by OR Books. Newsweek readers can obtain a 20 percent discount on the cover price when ordering from the OR Books website and including the offer code word NEWSWEEK.
ISLAMABAD: Telecommunication service provider Ufone has unveiled the launch of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in Pakistan in collaboration with Apple.
The popular smart phones will be made available to consumers under the banner of the telecom service provider from Dec 11 this year. Customers will be able to register online for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus from Nov 28 at the company’s website, a press statement said.
This is the first time that Apple has collaborated with a Pakistani telecommunication provider for the launch of its signature smart phone. Apple is considered one of the biggest names in technology-related products and is widely believed to be the world’s second-largest information technology company.
Despite the phone’s official unavailability in the country, iPhone enjoys a large fan base in Pakistan, with many users already awaiting the entry of the new product. The prices are bit expensive then the local market starting from Rs80,000 – Rs115000.
iPhone 6 was first officially introduced two months ago in the United States.
Pakistani cell phone service operator Ufone has partnered with Apple to launch iPhone 6 and iPhone 6Plus smartphones in Pakistan. Ufone customers can register online for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the company’s website.
Smartphone sales have accelerated in recent months after the roll-out of 3G and 4G services in Pakistan. The number of 3G subscribers has reached 4 million mark, apparently surpassing all other broadband technologies in the country, within the first three months of the issuance of 3G and 4G licenses in the country. There are around 3.7 million broadband subscriptions in Pakistan for all technologies combined including WiMAX, DSL, EvDO, FTTH, Satellite, HFC and others till May this year.
Total number of mobile subscribers in Pakistan is over 150 million. A growing number of these subscribers are smartphone owners who are using web services like e-commerce and social media. Gertjan van Laar, an app developer who recently published a report on smartphone usage in Pakistan, told Tech in Asia that smartphone penetration has reached between 7 and 10 percent of the population – in contrast to the general mobile penetration rate of 80 percent.
Here are some of the highlights of the report on smartphones in Pakistan:
1. Android is Pakistan’s top smartphone OS with 68 percent share just among smartphone users
2. Apple iOS is second with 24 percent share; Windows Phone is third at eight percent
3. Samsung is the top brand; iPhone is second; homegrown phone-maker QMobile is third
4. 35 percent of smartphone users in Pakistan own a low-cost phone.
Growing availability of smartphones and 3G/4G services is enabling Pakistani apps developers to build and offer a wide range of apps, including everything from the most-used messaging apps to social networking, games, entertainment, government, banking, business and finance, navigation and utility apps, such as budgeting and data backing, according to a report in The Express Tribune newspaper. In addition to software houses, an active community of mostly self-taught freelance app developers is also bidding for projects listed on global online platforms, such as oDesk, Elance, Guru and Freelancer, the paper adds.
Increasing access to advanced smartphones and mobile broadband augurs well for innovation and investment in Pakistan.
The New York Times reported on Monday that Chinese smartphone manufacturing companies are increasingly shifting their focus towards India (New York Times). The Chinese smartphone market has become more and more saturated, with 800 million smartphone users in the country. Fewer new buyers, coupled with a slowing economy, has diminished growth prospects within China. Instead, Chinese smartphone makers are targeting the Indian market, which is sized at $14.5 billion and rapidly growing. Indians are expected to buy 111 million smartphones in 2015 and 149 million in 2016. Chinese companies like Xiaomi, OnePlus, and Gionee are planning to set up research and development facilities in India.
“It is India first for us,” said Varun Sharma, Coolpad’s chief executive of Indian operations. He said Coolpad, a Shenzhen-based company, planned to use its patents and manufacturing infrastructure to sell devices “at $100 price points for the Indian market and not at $800 or $1,000 price points that global brands are doing.”
The most important market for Chinese smartphone makers may no longer be China.
For years, hundreds of millions of Chinese have purchased new smartphones. In the process they lifted the fortunes of local handset makers, from the well known like Huawei and Lenovo to the obscure like Coolpad and Gionee.
But the era of fast growth is coming to an end in China, where the research group IDC said on Monday that phone sales fell 4 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, the first contraction in six years. IDC expects no growth in China’s smartphone market in 2015.
The saturated Chinese market — more than 800 million people there use smartphones, according to IDC — means fewer new buyers, and a slowing economy means less spending. So Chinese companies are turning to India, trying to catch a $14.5 billion market on the way up.
India’s smartphone sales are just a fraction of China’s. But as one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world, with hundreds of millions of potential new customers, India may indicate whether a new generation of Chinese hardware companies can grow beyond their country’s borders.
It is intensely competitive, with more than 150 brands. Among the best-selling brands are several indigenous companies with an inside track on local phone habits. Another top seller is a multinational, Samsung, which has deep experience selling across different cultures.
Xiaomi, the most successful Chinese company in India, owned only 4 percent of the market in the fourth quarter.
But India is also the only place that has a scale like China’s. Indians are expected to buy 111 million smartphones this year, and 149 million in 2016. And China’s smartphone makers say Chinese and Indian customers have a lot in common: Both tend to obsess over arcane features and specs, and both are highly sensitive to cost.
At a bustling Sangeetha Mobiles shop in Bangalore’s Koramangala neighborhood, the 20-year-old store attendant, Murthy Lakshmipathy, took careful aim at those expectations.
Xiaomi, now worth $45 billion, moved into the top five sellers in India in the fourth quarter of 2014. Underscoring the company’s focus there, the international vice president and former Google executive Hugo Barra recently presided over an Apple-like blowout introductory event in New Delhi for its Mi 4i phone, designed specifically for India. The company says it aims to be the top handset brand in India by 2020.
The smaller Chinese start-up OnePlus, which puts equal emphasis on selling in China and abroad, began selling its flagship One phone in December, and has sold 200,000 phones already. It is shooting to sell a million devices by the end of this year.
In the path of those ambitions are a host of Indian rivals, each hoping to use local knowledge to repeat the success of Chinese phone makers in China. Micromax, which owns the second-largest share of the Indian market after Samsung, is already adapting to the Chinese invasion, holding online-only sales and making some phone models Internet exclusive.
“We have always been the first to identify the gaps in India and have worked toward addressing them,” said Micromax’s chief executive, Vineet Taneja.
Skirmishes have already erupted. Micromax briefly won a sales injunction against OnePlus over a contract with the company Cyanogen, the creator of a popular operating system for phones that run Android by Google. The case has since been withdrawn. In December, Xiaomi was temporarily blocked from India because of a patent complaint by the Swedish telecommunications manufacturer Ericsson. And the Indian government’s “Make in India” policy began levying hefty duties on imports in April.
No strangers to intrusive government industrial policies, Chinese companies are already expanding operations within India. Xiaomi, OnePlus and the early market entrant Gionee all plan to set up research and development centers there. OnePlus, Xiaomi and Coolpad also want to produce phones in Indian factories.
One of the most successful Chinese brands in India so far, Xiaomi has gone to great lengths to create products catering to customers there. Its new Mi 4i phone costs more than many rivals at about $200, but supports six Indian languages, with local engineers working to increase that number.
The company has also built an online store that focuses on India’s passions of cricket and Bollywood, and has plans to open 100 stores around the country before the end of the year.
“We want to become an Indian company,” Xiaomi’s chief executive, Lei Jun, told a local newspaper after the introduction of the Mi 4i.
One recent convert to a Chinese brand is Anusheel Nahar, a longtime BlackBerry user, who bought a Lenovo smartphone for 8,500 rupees, or about $140. Mr. Nahar had never owned a touch-screen phone before, but said the Lenovo device’s specs and cost stood out.
“It was priced right and seemed hardy enough to carry around in my back pocket,” he said.
Fight with #Pakistan exposes grey area in #BlackBerry’s security http://fw.to/eBju90J
A temporary truce has been reached between Canada’s BlackBerry Ltd. and Pakistan over requests from that nation’s government that it hand over “unfettered access” to encrypted communications from its enterprise customers.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had told local mobile-phone operators that as of Nov. 30, they could no longer offer BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) services to customers.
BlackBerry chief operating officer Marty Beard wrote a blog post Monday explaining that Pakistan was demanding access to encrypted BES communications. “BlackBerry will not comply with that sort of directive. As we have said many times, we do not support ‘back doors’ granting open access to our customers’ information and have never done this anywhere in the world,” Mr. Beard wrote.
Hours later, Pakistan extended the shutdown deadline until Dec. 30, effectively delaying the showdown over security.
The fight between BlackBerry and Pakistan also exposed a critical grey area in the company’s vaunted security reputation: Only its BlackBerry Enterprise Server clients are offered fully encrypted communications.
A regular telecom consumer that doesn’t have a corporate BES can expect that their BBM messages, e-mails and other communications could be intercepted, with BlackBerry’s help, by government agencies.
As Christopher Parsons, a Toronto-based researcher for the Citizen Lab at the Munk Centre for International Studies, Citizen Lab explains, consumer-level BBM uses a form of encryption that BlackBerry holds the keys too, unlike the sort of end-to-end encryption that Apple’s iMessage provides, which it says cannot be accessed even if it were given a lawful order. Only BES clients have a similar level of security with BlackBerry. In the wake of the Paris attacks, a number of Western security officials spoke out about the consumer availability of strong encryption.
In his post on Monday, Mr. Beard said that “while we recognize the need to co-operate with lawful government investigative requests of criminal activity, we have never permitted wholesale access to our BES servers.”
In November, reports surfaced that Mr. Beard told attendees at an IT conference called FedTalks that “we very much take a balanced approach” and criticized companies that say they are “all about encryption all the way.”
“They chided Apple and Google for setting up strong encryption,” Mr. Parsons says. “My understanding is they were willing to work with Pakistan on a case-by-case instance, just not a universal back door.”
A BlackBerry spokesperson repeated the denial that it will provide such access.
In a written statement, the company did say: “While we do not support so-called ‘back doors,’ we and every other tech company bears a responsibility to do all we can to help governments protect their citizens.”
Even though the showdown has been averted for now, it’s unclear how the pullout would be effected.
For instance, the company was not able to specify what would happen to a BES customer who simply travelled to Pakistan, nor what would happen to Pakistani customers who relocated their services to a neighbouring country.
Pakistan saw 13 million smartphone shipments in 2016, according to IDC, as the overall mobile market gradually tilts towards smartphones. The ratio of flip phone to smartphone shipments is now at 60:40.
Chinese gadget manufacturer Xiaomi announced today it’s launching in Pakistan – the world’s sixth-most populous country – after months of speculation and official denials.
Xiaomi has expanded slowly since its 2011 debut in China, focusing mainly on Southeast Asia, India, parts of the Middle East, and Brazil. Its Pakistan entry is the largest since it ventured into Brazil mid-2015.
Xiaomi’s coming to Pakistan through a distribution partnership – as it did in Brazil – with Rocket Internet’s ecommerce marketplace, Daraz, which is present in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.
Jack Yung, Xiaomi’s sales director for South Asia, said three models will be available initially – the Mi Max, plus the budget Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4A. There are also plans to sell the Mi Band 2, but the company is tight-lipped whether the full range of Xiaomi’s products will eventually reach the country.
As the world's sixth most populous nation Pakistan is a big market for smartphone makers. The country was projected to have about 40 million smartphones last year. Qmobile is the current smartphone vendor in the country.
India is Xiaomi's biggest market outside China, company CEO Lei Jun said earlier this year. In 2016, Xiaomi had hit one billion dollar in revenue in the country. Even as if the company does well in India, it is losing its charm in the home country. Once the hottest phone brand in its home market, Xiaomi had slipped to fifth spot in the fourth quarter last year, according to IDC.
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