Sunday, June 20, 2010

Smartphones For India and Pakistan

“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.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Wireless Broadband in Pakistan

ITU Internet Access Data by Countries

Phone Fight

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

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

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.

Riaz Haq said...

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.

chimung 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.

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a 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.

Riaz Haq said...

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.

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

Here 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.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan PTCL has recieved consumer choice award for its EVO 3G service, according to Pak Observer:

Karachi—Pakistan Telecommunication Company LTD (PTCL) has won Best Consumer Choice Award 2010 for its product “EVO”, that is the fastest wireless broadband service with the widest coverage, in over 100 cities of the Pakistan. Pakistani consumers have chosen EVO a world class and exclusive device as a recipient of, Consumers Choice Award in the category of Best Wireless Broadband. Federal Minister Makhdoom Amin Faheem presented the shield to SEVP South Abdullah Youseff. The Consumers Choice Award is celebrating its 6th successful year in the country and has become the most recognized and prestigious event of the country’s business calendar.

PTCL has always laid special focus on delivering the best to its customers by providing the most affordable means of communication and a truly reliable and technology wise superior network. With the substantial market share, loyal subscriber base and the recognition as the only integrated telecommunications service provider, PTCL continues to set excellence benchmarks in the Telecom Industry of Pakistan. The commercial launch of EVO Nitro 3G offering speed upto 9.3 mbps,which is unexampled and one and the only fastest and most widely available wireless service in Pakistan that meets needs of the next generation for ultimate speed along with superior, matchless and extraordinary performance.

PTCL President and CEO - Walid Irshaid while acknowledging this achievement, highlighted pragmatic approach of PTCL and stated that PTCL understands the changing dynamics of the telecommunication sector and is working towards foreseeing our customer’s needs and fulfilling them. The selection of EVO in the category of Best Wireless Broadband in Consumer Choice Award for ‘2010’ is an acknowledgement of that. EVO 3G Wireless Broadband is Pakistan’s fastest on the double wireless internet offering its customers superior, venerable, advanced and a cutting edge 3G internet experience with its unprecedented speed. It has revolutionized the three simple steps just plug in-click-connect of wireless connectivity for our valued customers. Pakistan is the first country in the world of telecommunication to commercially launch EVO 3G Nitro, the fastest wireless broadband with seamless roaming having speed up to 9.3mbps.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Business Monitor Inc (BMI) forecast for Pakistan's telecom services:

The number of mobile subscribers in Pakistan reached the 100mn mark in September 2010 and is expected to continue its growth momentum due to the relatively low penetration rate. In this quarter, BMI has adjusted our mobile forecasts and we forecast 136.078mn subscribers in Pakistan by end-2015, representing a penetration rate of 70.3%.
We could see the launch of commercial 3G services in 2011 after the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority announced plans to submit its proposal to the government. We will revisit our forecasts for the number of 3G and mobile subscribers in the country when the plan is successfully implemented and details of the licence are revealed.
Pakistan’s broadband subscriber base reached 1.053mn in October 2010, an increase of 63.5% from the 643,892 in December 2009. While DSL remained the main technology used to access broadband services in the country, alternative wireless solutions WiMAX and EV-DO are catching up fast. The number of DSL users grew by 96.5% from 262,661 in June 2009. By contrast, subscriber figures of WiMAX and EV-DO increased by 246.6% and 708.5% over the same period to reach 306,665 and 181,947 respectively. The popularity of mobile broadband services is likely due to more affordable pricing plans bundled with low-cost mobile devices. Moreover, two-thirds of the population reside in rural areas where fixed-line infrastructure remains poor and wireless broadband service therefore becomes an attractive and relatively cheaper method to bring connectivity to the underserved regions.
Pakistan continued its decline on BMI’s Business Environment Ratings for the Asia-Pacific region. Although the country scored relatively well on the Industry Rewards and Risks segment, we note the country faces significant downside pressure on the macroeconomic front. While we upgraded the country’s headline growth forecast figure to 1.5% for FY2010/11 (July-June), we remain cautious as industrial activity continues to contract and rising lending rates hold back activity. Over the medium term, the country' s economic prospects remain bleak as the lack of domestic resources hampers recovery and reconstruction. Moreover, the country is at risk of experiencing years of instability and militant activity. Pakistan fell to 11th position from 10th position in BMI’s latest Business Environment Ratings in Q111 due to a decrease in the country’s Industry Rewards score, which dropped to 55.0 from 60.0 in the previous quarter. BMI’s own damage assessment suggests that the country will struggle to generate any meaningful real GDP growth in FY10/11 (July-June). Even after the clean-up operations are complete, we are unlikely to witness a return to the days of plus-5% economic growth (last seen between 2002 and 2007), as the government' s poor fiscal health and a protracted internal struggle against extremist elements weigh heavily on private sector demand. We believe that Pakistan' s business environment will remain highly challenging, with the shaky security situation and a dire energy shortage continuing to weigh on economic activity, particularly much-needed investment.

Riaz Haq said...

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.

Riaz Haq said...

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

Riaz Haq said...

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.”


http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/qualcomm-rewires-for-india-09082011.html

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

Here 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".
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"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!"


http://www.brecorder.com/component/news/single/592/0/1260076/

Riaz Haq said...

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.


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-15/soldiers-iphones-guide-artillery-fire-as-pentagon-plans-app-store-tech.html

Riaz Haq said...

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

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


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

Riaz Haq said...

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

Launch Packages

Evo Wind
Rs. 18,000 Phone + 15 GB data – 6 months validity

Evo Wings
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!


http://www.techomaniac.com/2012/01/ptcl-launches-android-smartphone-with.html

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EVO Witnesses 30% Growth in H1FY12

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

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

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

Ufone Revenue up by 6%

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Al-Arabiya report on Bannu Jail inmates with cell phones & Internet access to Facebook & blogosphere:

A high profile Pakistani prisoner, who escaped on Sunday along with 383 other inmates, was reportedly contributing to several social networking sites including Facebook and blog sites while he was in prison, a report revealed late Monday.

Adnan Rashid was on death row at Bannu Central Prison in northwestern Pakistan for his alleged attempt to assassinate former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2003.

But despite the high profile charges against him, Rashid enjoyed the use of cell phones inside the death cell he was held in, allowing him to keep in touch with several journalists through text messaging, the Pakistan-based Dawn news website reported.

Rashid, a former junior technician of the Pakistan Air Force, was among some 384 prisoners who escaped early Sunday from the jail after an attack by insurgents armed with guns, grenades and rockets, officials said.

The attack, claimed by Pakistan’s Taliban movement, started at around 1:00 a.m. (2000 GMT) and continued for two hours, with militants in cars and pick-up trucks shooting and lobbing grenades to force their way into the prison, a senior security official told AFP news agency.

“We have freed hundreds of our comrades in Bannu in this attack. Several of our people have reached their destinations, others are on their way,” a Taliban spokesman said on Sunday.

Rashid was arrested in early 2004 on charges of the alleged assassination attempt, but had continued to plead his innocence while in prison, claiming “that his only crime was that he had voted ‘No’ in the referendum held by the then military president Gen. Musharraf,” the Dawn reported.

As a prisoner, he was questioned by the media in interviews uploaded on to social networking site Facebook, in which he argued against flaws in laws concerning the Pakistani army, air force and navy, while urging the Supreme Court to intervene in his case and those of others who had been detained with him.

In one letter to the Chief Justice, Rashid claimed that at the time of the assassination attempt, he was on duty in Quetta and was picked up by intelligence personnel.

He had recently sent a text message to a group of recipients, who were not identified by the newspaper, which states: “There are millions of cases pending before high courts and Supreme Court, 99.9 percent of these are actually appeals against verdicts of lower courts. Billions of rupees are being spent on higher civil courts so why not this judicial system is replaced by military courts; these are swift, require no judge, no special courtrooms or bars, and most interesting court martial are unchallengeable so no more need of high and supreme courts. It saves time and money of nation. What do you think? From a court martial convict.”


http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/04/17/208348.html

Riaz Haq said...

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.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/374851/smartphone-wars-pakistan-part-of-blackberrys-shift-to-emerging-markets/

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR report on telecom equipment imports in Pakistan:

The imports of various telecom products witnessed increase of 23.89 percent during the fiscal year 2011-12 as against the same period of the previous year.

The over all imports of telecom sector reached to US$1.268 billion during July-June (2011-12) against the imports of US$ 1.023 billion recorded during July-June (2010-11), according to data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

Among the telecom sector, the highest increase of 31.63 was witnessed in mobile phones, imports of which increased from US$ 522.825 million to US$688.170 million, the PBS data revealed.

The imports of other telecom apparatus increased from US$500.712 million to US$579.899 million, showing increase of 15.81 percent.

Meanwhile, during the month of June 2012, the telecom imports increased by 13.04 percent as compared to the imports of June 2011 while decreased by 20.43 percent when compared to the imports of May 2011.

The telecom imports in June 2012 stood at US$ 96.680 million against the imports of US$ 85.527 million in June 2011 and US$ 121.499 in May 2012, the data revealed.

During the month under review, the mobile phone imports surged 25.63 percent when compared to the imports of June 2011 and decreased by 11.17 percent when compared to the imports of May 2012.

In June, the mobile phone imports were recorded at US$ 56.176 million against the imports of US$ 44.714 in June 2011 and US$ 63.237 in May 2011.

However, in June 2012, the imports of other telecom apparatus decreased by 0.76 percent and 30.48 percent as compared to the imports of June 2011 and May 2012.

The imports of telecom apparatus in June 2012 stood at US$ 40.504 million against the imports of US$ 40.813 million in June 2011 and US$ 58.262 million in May 2011, the data revealed.

It is pertinent to mention here that the overall impost from the country during the fiscal year 2011-12 increased by 11.13 percent.

The imports during the year under review were recorded at US$ 44.912 billion against the imports of US$40.414 billion, according to the PBS data.


http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/108-pakistan-top-news/72599-telecom-mobile-imports-up-2389pc-3163pc.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's 2012 BMI research report on consumer electronics market in Pakistan:

BMI expects the Pakistan consumer electronics market will grow by around 9% in 2012, with strongdemand for smartphones, flat screen TV sets, and tablets providing growth, despite an expectedslowdown in private consumption. The Pakistani consumer electronics market has considerable potential,but this is constrained by a large grey market, poor IP protection, an unstable economic and securitysituation, and weak distribution channels. Reforming high national and provincial taxes and tariffs onproducts ranging from computers to prepaid mobile cards would boost the market. The long-term marketdrivers include a rising population and growing affordability and demand for consumer electronics goodsis also influenced by trends from Middle Eastern markets.

Headline Expenditure Projections Computer sales: US$309mn in 2011 to US$331mn in 2012, +7% inUS dollar terms. Forecast in US dollar terms upwardly revised, despite a high level of illegal imports.AV sales: US$645mn in 2011 to US$710mn in 2012, +10% in US dollar terms. Forecast in US dollarterms upwardly revised, with the main driver being demand for flat-screen TV sets.

Handset sales: US$750mn in 2011 to US$816mn in 2012, +12% in US dollar terms. Forecast in USdollar terms upwardly revised, but despite the popularity of smartphones, most handsets are sold at lessthan US$50.

Risk/Reward Rating: Pakistan’s score was 28 out of 100.0, with low CE market and Country Structureratings dragging down high Potential Returns. Pakistan took thirteenth place in our latest RRR table, buthas potential to rise over time due to the size of the market.

Key Trends & Developments

The TV sets segment is forecast to grow at a CAGR of about 12% as consumers replace blackand white, and analogue sets with colour and LCD models. About 49% of TV sets sold each yearare still black and white. If the government is unable to crack down on smuggled goods, growthcould be slower than this.

PC vendors must contend with a significant segment of demand being met by imports of usedcomputers from countries such as China. The government has denied reports it plans ban importsof used computers, which is a measure strongly opposed by local retailers. The price differentialbetween an imported second-hand computer and a new one is considerable, according to localimporters.

In 2012, established brands will hope to regain some market share as a result of thegovernment’s recent ban on imported handsets without IMEI numbers. Low-cost Chinesephones are understood to account for around 30% of the local handset market. According toretailer reports, although the ban hit sales of low-cost Chinese handsets, Chinese reacted quicklyto the new circumstances. Meanwhile, established vendors are targeting the low-price tier withproducts offering dual-SIM support and other features that have proved popular for the low-costbrands.


http://www.marketresearch.com/Business-Monitor-International-v304/Pakistan-Consumer-Electronics-Q4-7165551/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Businessweek on PTCL profitability:

Pakistan Telecommunications Co. (PTC), the country’s biggest phone-service provider, forecast a return to profit by its fiscal fourth quarter as workers opting for early retirement cut labor costs.

“We will return to profitability after we absorb the cost of retiring employees,” Naveed Saeed, senior executive vice president for the Islamabad-based company’s commercial unit, said in an interview on Oct. 22. “Our revenue growth is strong and we are really trying to contain the costs.”

Pakistan Telecom has struggled to increase revenue from its fixed-line unit as mobile-phone operators including Telenor ASA (TEL) and China Mobile Ltd. (941) grab market share. The telecommunications market was deregulated in 2004, and the number of mobile-phone users jumped more than ninefold in the past seven years in the country of 180 million people.

Profitability for Pakistan Telecom was hurt in the first quarter as it absorbed the cost of a voluntary retirement progam that reduced its workforce by between 5,000 and 6,000 employees, Saeed said at the company’s headquarters. A similar program in 2008 saw 35,000 of 50,000 employees retire early.

Saeed forecast 7 percent sales growth for the current financial year, which ends in June. That’s higher than the 6.4 percent average annual revenue growth for Pakistan Telecom in the past five fiscal years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About half of the company’s revenue goes to paying salaries for an estimated 25,000 permanent and contractual employees.
Stock Performance

Pakistan Telecom fell 3.3 percent to 18.57 rupees yesterday. That pared the stock’s gain this year to 79 percent, compared with an advance of about 40 percent for the Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index.

Pakistan Telecom, controlled by Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (ETISALAT), posted a loss of 8.26 billion rupees ($86.4 million) in the three months through September, its first quarterly loss in more than four years. That compared with a profit of 2.23 billion rupees a year earlier.

Fixed-line users fell to 2.9 million last year from the peak of 5.2 million in Pakistan Telecom’s financial year that ended in June 2005, as more people switched to mobile phones.

The number of mobile-phone users in the country grew to 119.8 million as of May this year from 12.7 million in 2005, according to the Pakistan Telecom Authority.
‘Steady Growth’

“They will be back to profit by the end of this year,” said Ayub Ansari, a Karachi-based analyst at AKD Securities, in a telephone interview. “There has been a steady growth in their core businesses. The cellular segment continues to grow, plus the broadband segment is also very exciting. That’s the next big thing for Pakistan and PTCL in particular.”

Pakistan Telecom derives most of its sales from the broadband unit, which has more than 1 million customers and contributes about 25 percent to profit, Saeed said. Aqeel Shigri, a spokesman, said the unit has a market share of 90 percent.

The company, which also owns the country’s third-largest mobile-phone operator Ufone, plans to bid for 3G bandwidth licenses the government plans to auction this financial year, Saeed said.


http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-24/pakistan-telecom-sees-return-to-profit-as-workers-retire-early

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of MIT Technology Review piece on controlling dengue fever outbreak using smartphones in Lahore, Pakistan:

Last year, the city of Lahore, Pakistan, was hit with the worst outbreak of dengue fever in its history. The mosquito-transmitted disease infected some 16,000 people and took 352 lives. This year was a completely different story. There were only 234 confirmed cases and no deaths. The magnitude of the disease varies year to year, but some of the turnaround could be credited to a new system of tracking and predicting outbreaks in the region.

Researchers working for the Pakistani government developed an early epidemic detection system for their region that looked for telltale signs of a serious outbreak in data gathered by government employees searching for dengue larvae and confirmed cases reported from hospitals. If the system’s algorithms spotted an impending outbreak, government employees would then go to the region to clear mosquito breeding grounds and kill larvae. “Getting early epidemic predictions this year helped us to identify outbreaks early,” says Umar Saif, a computer scientist at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, and a recipient of MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 award in 2011.

“This year, because of the tracking system and the efforts of government employees on the ground, we could look at a map and tell if certain areas were going to develop into an epidemic,” says Saif, who has been working with the government during a sabbatical. “The key is to be able to localize and quarantine a disease like this and prevent it from developing into an epidemic,” he says.

The groundwork for the early detection system was another project headed by Saif: Flubreaks. This system processes data from Google Flu Trends, which estimates the spread of flu based on search terms related to the disease. “That whole idea of being able to scrape digital data has helped us find outbreaks faster,” says Mark Smolinski, director of Global Health Threats at Skoll Global Threats Fund, a nonprofit that recently helped launch a site called Flu Near You, which tracks flu based on a weekly electronic survey that asks people about their health and any flu symptoms.

Smolinski was part of the team at Google to develop Google Flu Trends, which he says can speed up outbreak identification. “You can gain a couple of weeks just by aggregating data of search terms on the Internet,” he says.

While Google Flu Trends identifies outbreaks as they occur, Flubreaks can see them before they start by teasing out global flu trends and making early epidemic predictions.

The results from Flubreaks closely matched actual outbreaks reported by the Centers for Disease Control, says Saif. “We found that idea very exciting,” says Saif. Countries like Pakistan typically do not have a well established disease surveillance network, he says. “We want one for dengue in Pakistan, but it’s a very expensive and difficult thing to manage.”
----------
The dengue monitoring system relies on real-world field testing of mosquito larvae and reports from hospitals to predict where dengue outbreaks are starting. If a certain neighborhood is suspected to be at the beginning of an outbreak, then government officials could search out mosquito-larvae reservoirs such as pools of water that are likely causing the problem.

The system was put to use this summer. Using 1,500 Android phones, government workers in the region tracked the location and timing of confirmed dengue cases and the mosquito larvae that carry the disease. Each case was tagged by time and location. “Because of the Android phones, we could localize the outbreak to a couple of hundred houses. Inevitably, we would find some water in or near these houses.” ....


http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506276/pakistan-uses-smartphone-data-to-head-off-dengue-outbreak/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on Mobilink planned 3G upgrade:

Cairo-based Orascom Telecom (OT), controlled by Russia’s Vimpelcom, said on Sunday it had awarded a deal to upgrade its Mobilink mobile phone network in Pakistan.

It signed a five-year agreement with China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and France’s Alcatel-Lucent to design, purchase, deploy and maintain the next-generation mobile network equipment and supporting services, OT said in a statement.

OT said Mobilink expected the improved capabilities to allow the firm to boost network efficiency and reduce operating costs.

The upgrade would enable the firm to offer 3G services once such licences are issued in Pakistan, it said.


http://dawn.com/2012/11/11/orascom-to-upgrade-pakistans-mobilink-cellular-network-2/

Riaz Haq said...

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.....


http://tribune.com.pk/story/532133/qmobile-conquering-the-pakistani-market-one-phone-at-a-time/

Riaz Haq said...

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.
India 6000
Indonesia 1200
Lao P.Dem.R. 600
Malaysia 3400
Philippines 500
Pakistan 100
Sri Lanka 50
Thailand 2000
Vietnam 500
Egypt 150
South Africa 2000
Tunisia 200
Zimbabwe 50
Bolivia 100
Chile 400
Colombia 20
Peru 50

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....


http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/12/raspberry-pi-global-sales-spread/

Riaz Haq said...

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...



http://tribune.com.pk/story/567313/high-growth-market-telenor-upbeat-on-pakistan-as-focus-shifts-from-voice-to-data/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Toronto Sun story on rising use of smartphones in Asia:

It’s not just the prices of phones that are dropping. Tablet prices are actually falling at a faster rate creating across the region what Singh calls “a whole new category of Internet user.”

Demand for tablets in the Philippines, for example, grew fourfold in the past year, according to consultancy GfK; prices across Southeast Asia during that period fell by a quarter.

Talmon Marco, CEO of Internet phone and messaging service Viber, says the shift from a standard phone to even the most basic device running operating systems like Android is like “moving from a great bicycle to an old leaking 1970s car. That car can still take you from New York to Chicago in a couple of days. The bicycle never will.”

Whatever the quality of hardware or connection, a smartphone or tablet shares the same DNA - user interface, apps and access to an online store - which stimulates higher usage, Marco says.

“The spike in usage seems to happen when the user moves to a smartphone - any smartphone,” he said. “These users are by far more active than users on a feature phone.” Viber is seeing its fastest growth and highest usage in Vietnam, Pakistan, Myanmar and many African countries.


http://www.torontosun.com/2013/07/23/for-the-mobile-internet-tomorrow-belongs-to-asia

Riaz Haq said...

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.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/technology/apple-is-set-to-announce-two-iphones.html

Riaz Haq said...

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 ONE
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/-

HTC Wildfire
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/-

HTC 8X
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/-
...


http://www.pakistantribune.com.pk/4170/a-review-of-best-htc-mobiles-in-pakistan.html

Riaz Haq said...

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.


http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/18750/why-does-pakistan-need-3g/

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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


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

Riaz Haq said...

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.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/631041/punjabs-model-of-m-governance/

Riaz Haq said...

From Express Tribune:

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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.


http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/12/11/leveraging-mobile-phones-for-innovative-governance-solutions-in-Pakistan

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Bloomberg on 3G-4G auction in Pakistan:

Pakistan plans to auction licenses by March to run third- and fourth-generation mobile-phone networks, with both existing and new operators eligible to bid, the country’s telecommucations regulator chief said.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has hired Value Partners Management Consulting to advise on the sale, including the base price and number of licenses to be auctioned for a 15-year term, Chairman Syed Ismail Shah said in an interview in Islamabad yesterday.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government expects to fetch between $1.2 billion to $2 billion as a result of the spectrum auction, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told reporters Dec. 11.
“The licenses will be technology neutral and will be offered through an open bidding,” Shah said. “It will not only be for 3G, they can introduce any other advance technology including 4G.”
The telecommunications market was deregulated in 2004, and the number of mobile-phone users in the South Asian nation grew to 129.58 million as of September this year from 12.7 million in 2005, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
The regulator plans to auction 30 megahertz of spectrum to new as well as existing operators that include Pakistan Mobile Communications Ltd.’s Mobilink, Telenor ASA’s local subsidiary, Warid Telecom of Abu-Dhabi group, the Pakistan unit of China Mobile Ltd. and Ufone of Pakistan Telecommunication, part-owned by Emirates Telecommunications Corp.
The government hasn’t specified how to divide the available spectrum. “It could be three lots of 10 megahertz each or there can be several combinations,” Shah said.
The regulator has yet to decide whether to leave it to the market to determine the tariff or if any regulatory intervention was needed. “We don’t want a price war because it compromises quality of services as well as profitability of companies.”


http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-20/pakistan-to-auction-licenses-for-3g-4g-mobile-services-by-march.html

Riaz Haq said...

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.”

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/03/20/business/mobilink-rolls-out-pakistans-largest-3g-ready-network/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune story on the economic impact of 3G service in Pakistan:

One of the biggest questions asked when the arrival of 3G services is discussed is its benefit to the public purse.
While there is no official study available that could provide a credible assessment of the impact on economic growth and subsequent contribution in tax revenues, there is a report that gives a snapshot of the next five years. The study, conducted by UK’s Plum Consulting, has its limitations but gives an overview of what is to come.

Plum Consulting is a specialised consulting firm offering strategy, policy and regulatory advice on telecoms, online and spectrum issues. It conducted the study last year but did not factor in fourth generation spectrum in its calculations.
What we know from Plum Consulting is that the overall size of the economy will grow by Rs380 billion to Rs1.18 trillion in the period up to 2020 after the roll out of 3G spectrums. The present size of Pakistan’s economy is estimated at Rs26 trillion and a minimum addition of Rs380 billion means a positive impact of 1.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Chairman Dr Ismail Shah said that the Plum study does give a broader trend. He said the rolling out of 4G spectrum will add another 20% in the GDP value assessed by Plum Consulting.
Plum Consulting says that economic studies have shown that there is a positive relationship between broadband penetration and GDP growth in both high and low income countries. Estimates of the impact of a 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration on GDP growth rates range from 0.1% to 1.5%, with higher impacts found in lower income countries.
It added that the net present value of additional GDP over the period to 2020 is Rs1.18 trillion in the High Demand scenario and Rs490 billion in the Low Demand scenario. This is equivalent to an average 0.13 percentage points increase in the annual GDP growth rate over this period.
Plum Consulting observed that additional GDP could yield additional tax revenue for the government in the range of Rs23 billion to Rs70bn. It further said that in a high-penetration scenario, it could generate up to around 900,000 jobs by 2018, if spectrum had been released in 2013.
“As broadband is a general purpose technology it has the potential to bring significant benefits across the whole economy, and so we expect the release of spectrum for mobile broadband to have a positive impact on employment across agriculture, industry and services sectors”....


http://tribune.com.pk/story/686266/launching-3g-services-public-purse-to-become-heavier/

Riaz Haq said...

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.”


http://www.dawn.com/news/1096258/smartphone-market-to-double-next-year

Riaz Haq said...

Spectrum for 3G 4G auction today in Pakistan, reports The Nation:

The mobile operators are going to submit their sealed bids on Monday (today) for the next generation spectrum auction that offers 3G and 4G licences simultaneously.
Presently there are 6 blocks available with PTA to be auctioned and there are five players in the market. One block is reserved only for the new entrant and no one from the existing telecom company can bid for that but the new entrants can bid for the reserved block and for the other 5 blocks too. Sources in the telecom sector say that the government will not be able to obtain $2 billion that it is aiming and the maximum gains it can get will stand at $1.4 billion with minor up and down.
There is 30 MHz available in 2100 MHz band for 3G, 20 MHz available in 1800 band for 4G services and 7.38 MHz available in 850 MHz band for 2G service and the last one is reserved for new entrant. All the players are bound to bid for the first mentioned 2100 MHz band to qualify for the bid of 1800 MHz band that offers 4G services.
Sources told The Nation that in 2100 MHz band, a bidder can bid for at least 5 MHz and in 1800 MHz band they can bid for at least 10 MHz. The base price set for the 2100 MHz band is $29.5/MHz and it is $21/MHz for the later.
Presently there are 5 companies operating in the market and among them Warid Telecom seems not interested in bidding for the next generation spectrum auction. Most probably the remaining 4 will take part in the auction and all of them might be successful in obtaining licence for the next generation mobile services but only two will be able to get 4th generation licence.
The bids submitted today will decide, whether the next stage of auction will be held or the licences will be allotted to the bidders. The sources said that if the number of applicants exceed the number of licences available that technically are 4 then the next round of auction will start on April 23 and the bidders will have to compete to obtain a licence.
But the sources said that apparently there is no hope that the number of applicants will exceed so today might be considered the last day of auction and Pakistan Telecom Authority will decide, who to allot a licence for what.
The sources said that most probably the licences will be auctioned at the base price and the government might not meet its expectations to earn much from this auction, not at least $2 billion that it was aiming to obtain from it.
The major reason is that the licence reserved for the new entrant fall in the category of 2G technology and no company seems interested to buy a 2nd generation licence while others players in the market having 3G or 4G licences. The sources said that government claimed Turk Cell was taking interest for the spectrum reserved for new entrant but there is no evidence yet that it will submit a bid for that.


http://www.nation.com.pk/business/14-Apr-2014/bids-for-3g-4g-licences-auction-today

Riaz Haq said...

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.


http://newsweekpakistan.com/3g-spectrum-sale-exceeds-target/

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/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Reuters on first round of 3G 4G auction in Pakistan:

Pakistan raised $903 million in its first auction for 3G mobile phone networks on Wednesday, as well as $210 million for the more advanced 4G spectrum, with four foreign-owned companies emerging as winners from the long-anticipated bidding process.

The South Asian country of 180 million people hopes to use the auction as a way to boost the economy and promote advanced telecoms technology among its 132 million mobile phone users.

The four winners of the 3G auction were Russian-owned Mobilink, Chinese-controlled Zong, Norway's Telenor (TEL.OL), and Ufone - a company jointly owned by the Pakistan government and the United Arab Emirates' Etisalat (ETEL.AD).

As for the 4G spectrum, the sole winner was Zong, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Warid Telecom Pakistan, another company operating in Pakistan, did not make any bids.

Ismail Shah, the PTA head, announced the results to reporters late on Wednesday after the auction, which lasted all day.

Pakistan is the only major country in the region that still does not offer 3G services. Its neighbor, war-ravaged Afghanistan, switched to 3G services in 2012.

The country's telecoms market was deregulated in 2004 and foreign firms such as Etisalat have invested heavily. But services that use 3G and 4G connections have been out of reach of most Pakistani customers.


http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/04/23/us-pakistan-telecommunications-auction-idUKBREA3M1DS20140423