Riaz Haq writes this data-driven blog to provide information, express his opinions and make comments on many topics. Subjects include personal activities, education, South Asia, South Asian community, regional and international affairs and US politics to financial markets. For investors interested in South Asia, Riaz has another blog called South Asia Investor at http://www.southasiainvestor.com and a YouTube video channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkrIDyFbC9N9evXYb9cA_gQ
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Wireless Broadband Access Growing in Pakistan
Motorola announced in 2006 that Pakistan planned the world's largest WiMax roll-out. "The deployment is a milestone in the spread of WiMax, a superfast wireless technology that has a range of up to 30 miles and can deliver broadband at a theoretical maximum of 75 megabits per second. The 802.16-2004 standard, which is used in fixed WiMax networks, is being skipped in favor of a large-scale introduction of 802.16e, which was only recently agreed upon by the WiMax Forum," the 2006 announcement said.
Let's examine the state of WiMax deployments and subscriber growth around the world since the Motorola announcement more than two years ago.
The broadband wireless access (BWA) industry has grown significantly in the last few years due to increased availability of spectrum for commercial services and the desire to close the digital divide, according to Wimax.com. A major shift from the industry has been the migration towards standards-based products.
The largest wireless ISP in the world, Clearwire, has more subscribers than the next four BWA/WiMAX operators combined. The majority of its user base relies on the desktop modem from its former equipment subsidiary, NextNet, which is now part of Motorola's operations. PC Cards and VoIP services are now part of the portfolio. The operator is expected to launch its first commercial WiMAX network (using Motorola's 802.16e-2005 radios) in Portland, Oregon before the end of the year. Regulatory approval to form a joint venture with Sprint Nextel to launch a nationwide WiMAX service in the US is eagerly anticipated. A successful joint venture would catapult Clearwire into a unique position as the only fixed wireless network operator to transition into a mobile carrier.
According to Fierce Broadband Wireless, the largest mobile WiMAX deployments reported during first-quarter 2008 were from Korea Telecom with nearly 150,000 subscribers and Wateen Telecom (Pakistan) with more than 10,000 subscribers at the end of that quarter. Wateen is today the largest mobile WiMAX Motorola deployment. In June 2006, Wateen placed an order for 198,000 CPEs from Motorola. Motorola has shipped 60,000 CPEs so far. Wateen has told Fierce that they had 25,000 subscribers by the end of June 2008. The operator expects to complete the order of 198,000 CPEs by this year. It is expected that the gap between mobile "16e" deployments and "16d" will narrow once trials of 16e equipment are complete and certified equipment becomes widely available.
The liberalization of Pakistan's telecommunications industry started in 1997 and accelerated under former President Musharraf and former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. In 2004, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) introduced two types of licenses for ISPs – regional and nationwide, and also exempted them from Central Excise Duty. Over the past four years, the Pakistani telecom sector has attracted more than USD 5.6 billion in foreign investments. During 2007/08, the Pakistani telecoms sector alone received USD 1.44 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) – about 30 per cent of the country’s total FDI. The pace of investment is likely to slow down this year because of the global financial woes.
Pakistan's network operators are offering wide range of technologies like DSL, Cable, FTTH and WiMax. They have added 25,500 new broadband connections in the financial year 2007-08, which is around 150 percent increase compared to the previous financial year, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) statistics reported.
At present Digital Subscriber Link (DSL) is the leading broadband service in the county with 65 percent of the market share. Major DSL providers in Pakistan are Micronet, LinkDotNet, CyberNet, MultiNet and PTCL.
Wateen is likely to see growing WiMax competition from operators including Wi-Tribe, Mobilink and LinkDotNet in Pakistan. Wi-Tribe is jointly owned by Qatar Telecom, ATTCO group and Clearwire. Motorola has signed a multi-year WiMAX contract with Wi-Tribe. Motorola has commenced deploying Wi-Tribe’s WiMAX network in the 3.5GHz spectrum. Commercial launch is expected during 2009. LinkDotNet, a subsidiary of ORASCOM Telecom, is working with Alcatel-Lucent for their WiMax deployment.
According to WiMax.com, Bharti TeleVentures, Reliance, SIFY, BSNL and VSNL (Tata Group) have all acquired licenses in 3.3 GHz range and are in various stages of trials. VSNL has announced Phase 1 pre-WiMAX deployment of Aperto gear in 60 locations, extending to 200 locations within the year. Although there is clearly insufficient spectrum to offer DSL-like service, several operators have indicated that there is still a huge market for 64 and 128 kb/s connections, which should alleviate the lack of spectrum.
Once the trials are over, analysts expect WiMax subscribers to grow to about 19m in India by 2012.
How is Wimax doing in the United States? Jon Fortt of Fortune Magazine recently visited Portland, Oregon, and saw a demonstration of it in a Lincoln Navigator while a "Knight Rider" episode streamed over the Internet to a screen mounted to the car's dashboard. Here's how Fortt sums up his findings:
"The good news is that WiMax appears to work pretty well (no latency or jitter as the KITT car was taking down bad guys), making it a potential competitor to telephone and cable companies' broadband offerings. The bad news is that most American cities may never get post-wired like Portland and Baltimore, the other city now boasting a full-fledged WiMax network."
Fortt believes that WiMax, with its ability to serve up broadband on the go, certainly could spark a fresh wave of innovation. The Obama administration's broadband measures in its latest stimulus package should help give a boost to WiMax deployments in the United States.
While the potential for Wimax in the US market looks very good, I believe the really big opportunity is in the emerging markets, such as India and Pakistan, where the mobile phone has achieved greater than 50% penetration and the PC/Internet penetration remains in single digits. South Asia is witnessing some of biggest planned deployments of Wimax with a lot of consumer interest in both fixed and mobile broadband.
According to Juniper Research, South Asia will be the driving force behind the growth of Mobile WiMax, or the 802.16e standard. The Asia and Australia regions are expected to account for more than 50% of the total WiMax deployments by 2013.
Pakistan, being among the first countries in the world to roll-out a functional WiMax service, is experiencing tremendous growth in demand after Wateen Telecom’s launch of its WiMax service and roll-out plans announced by Mobilink.
India's state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited is rolling out a Wimax network for broadband access in response to government requirement that 20 million broadband lines be in service by 2010.
Given the growing demand for the Internet access and the ubiquity of mobile phones, Wimax roll-out will likely spur the largest adoption of mobile Internet in South Asia in not too distant future.
Pakistan Broadband Overview
Broadband Internet Access in Pakistan
WiMax in Pakistani Cities
WiMax Launch in Pakistan
State of Telecom Industry in Pakistan
Pakistan's Broadband Stakeholders Group
Google and Intel Boost Mobile Internet
WiMax Continues to Evolve in Pakistan
Motorola to Deploy Mobilink WiMax in Pakistan
WiMax's Last Best Hope
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In the face of slowing investments due to global financial woes this information on wireless internet access is very encouraging. Thanks so much for sharing!
Here is the latest teledensity data from ITU:
Both Pakistan (50/100) and Bhutan (37/100) are ahead of India (29/100) in mobile. India might soon be overtaken by Afghanistan (29/100) and even Bangladesh (28/100).
Of course, the fact that Afghanistan is ahead of Bangladesh in mobile penetration should cause all sorts of palpitations in government offices in Dhaka.
Bangladesh was one of the earliest in South Asia to adopt mobile and is the most densely populated country in the world. How they were overtaken by Afghanistan, a war-torn country with difficult terrain, should cause serious re-examination of policies such as the BDT 800 SIM tax. The fact that Afghanistan’s CAGR for 2003-08 is 109%, higher than Bangladesh’s 2003-08 CAGR of 101%, suggests that the gap between the two countries is more likely to increase than decrease.
Pakistan Telecom Report by Budde.com
Over the 2002-2009 period, the number of mobile subscribers rocketed from less than 2 million to more than 94 million (58% penetration). The 2006-2007 period in particular had been remarkable for the country’s mobile operators as the total subscriber base moved from 22 million at the beginning of 2006 to 77 million at end-2007. By early 2008, the 50% penetration milestone had been reached, probably much faster than most people expected. Despite a tightening national economy, coming into 2009 the mobile market continued to expand at an annual rate in excess of 10%.
By 2009, however, Internet penetration remained low and broadband growth had also been negligible. There was some good news on this front when the year 2008 saw an upsurge in broadband subscriptions; importantly, this looked to be continuing in 2009, boosted by the spread of competition throughout the market. DSL subscriptions were dominating the broadband market, quite overshadowing the cable modem broadband services provided using HFC infrastructure.
In the meantime, early signs of wireless-based broadband Internet technologies had begun to appear and by 2008 there were a number of WiMAX networks being rolled out in the larger urban centres. For the time being, however, the number of wireless broadband subscribers remains relatively small.
The big challenge in the short term for Pakistan’s telecom market will be to manage the impact of a pronounced downturn in the national economy. The 2008/09 fiscal year saw a huge dip in FDI as foreign investment in the country suffered a significant overall reduction. In the longer term the ongoing task of regulatory reform will be the major challenge.
• Despite a faltering economy and speculation that the mobile market was saturating, Pakistan still managed to grow its mobile subscriber numbers in 2009, reaching 94 million subscribers (almost 60% penetration) by June 2009.
• Growth in mobile subscribers was continuing at an annual rate of about 12% in 2009, modest compared with previous years, yet still representing healthy growth in the circumstances.
• Pakistan’s mobile sector has been boosted by increased competition, with newcomers Warid Telecom and Telenor (both launched in 2005) having quickly claimed big stakes in the market. By mid-2009, their combined market share had reached just over 41%.
• Broadband Internet penetration remains low in Pakistan (around 0.2% in early 2009) but 2008/09 had witnessed a strong surge in demand for broadband services that looked set to continue.
• Growth in the country’s fixed-line market remained sluggish; fixed teledensity stood at less than 4% by end-2008 with the numbers expected to only edge up slightly in the short term.
• One positive factor in the emerging fixed market has been the success of WLL technology which was supporting around 35% of all fixed subscribers by early 2009.
Pakistan – Key telecom parameters – 2008 - 2009
Category 2008 2009 (e)
• Total subscribers (million) 6.2 6.5
• Annual growth -7% 5%
• Fixed-line penetration (population) 3.8% 4.0%
• Fixed-line penetration (household) 23% 23%
• Total subscribers (million) 3.7 4.0
• Annual growth 6% 8%
• Internet subscriber penetration (population) 2% 2%
• Total subscribers (million) 90.0 99.0
• Annual growth 17% 10%
• Mobile penetration (population) 56% 60%
Here is a recent blog post by Babar Bhatti about mobile financial services in Pakistan:
In Pakistan, the widespread infrastructure of mobile operators provides them strong advantages to serve as an important link in the financial services value chain. As we have seen in Pakistan, banks and mobile operators have partnered up to start MFS. This generated a wave of marketing activity (see these commercials) which also extended to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, highlighting the competition among mobile network operators.
One may ask why did it take so long for MFS to start in Pakistan? Well, unlike entrainment or information services, financial and commerce related services require coordination of multiple institutes and approval of government regulatory agencies. Security, accuracy and establishment of trust of users is also very important.
Easypaisa. An example of this is ‘easypaisa’ from Telenor Pakistan and Tameer Microfinance Bank. Interesting thing about this service is that money can be sent and received without a mobile phone. However, using a mobile phone provides convenience as confirmations are sent as sms. Any person with a valid Nadra CNIC can send money or receive money. Sending/Receiving can be done from more than 4,000 easypaisa shops all over Pakistan. The transaction is encrypted and the process has been approved by the State Bank of Pakistan. Details on how this works are available at easypaisa website and on YouTube.
Regardless of one’s opinion on the convenience and the fees, one must admit that introduction of MFS such as easypaisa changes the status quo for payments which has been around till now in Pakistan.
Telenor is not the only company with plans for mobile financial services. Ufone started premium banking service for customers of Ufone who have account with one its partner banks. This is a different approach where an application on the handset allows eligible customers to carry out financial and non-financial transactions. Mobilink, the largest cellular company by subscribers, is also gearing up for MFS. In July, Orascom announced its plans for MFS:
Mobilink and Citibank will utilize Mobilink’s extensive retail infrastructure to extend the reach of financial services to the previously un-served masses. Using Mobilink’s cutting edge technology, Mobilink users will be able to open branchless bank accounts through a simple and convenient registration process via authorized agents across the country. The service will allow users to maintain their accounts through their phones and make secure peer to peer money transfers to any Mobilink number simply via SMS.
At telecompk.net we have extensively covered the potential, opportunities and market size of MFS.
Here's a report on Wi-tribe's broadband launch in Pakistan:
Wi-tribe, a wireless internet provider backed by Qatar’s Qtel Group, has launched a wireless broadband service in Pakistan. The deployment, which uses WiMAX technology from Motorola, covers major cities of Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, and Rawalpindi.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani, chairman of Qtel Group, said the launch, which is Wi-tribe’s biggest project to date, marks an important stage in the company’s aim to become a top 20 telecom player by 2020.
“Following our launch in Jordan, Pakistan marks a major stepping stone towards our expansion strategy and our intention to leverage the scale and strengths of the Qtel Group in order to deliver the latest technologies to our customers,” he said.
Dr Nasser Marafih, CEO Qtel, added that broadband represents a “major pillar of growth” for the company, particularly in markets which have low broadband penetration rates, such as Jordan and Pakistan.
“Broadband penetration levels in new emerging markets are currently very low compared to markets in the region. However, consumer demand for wireless services is growing at a fast pace. So we will continue to focus on this area in the future as we see good business opportunity and significant growth potential,” he said.
While Pakistan already has about 50 ISPs, services are limited outside metropolitan areas. Access to high speed broadband and mobile broadband is also limited.
As of February 2008, Pakistan had about 100,000 broadband users, although the government has set itself a target to increase this number to 1.6 million by 2010.
Qtel entered Pakistan in April 2007 when it acquired a 75% stake in wireless telecoms operator Burraq Telecom, in a joint deal with and Saudi Arabia's A.A. Turki for Trading and Contracting.
Here's a report on fiber network deployment in Pakistan:
Ranking as the world’s 6th largest, Pakistan has a population of 165 million, an urban ratio of 32.5% and average household size of 6.8 people. This represents a huge market for FTTX (Fibre-To-The-Home/Premise/Business). Cities like Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore are having strong demand for high speed fibre broadband from the government, financial and other commercial sectors.
The huge infrastructures of fibre network in Pakistan are expanding in full swing. Mobilink, TWA, Nayatel, Multinet, Wateen Telecom, Brain Tel and PTCL are active in fibre network advancement. Mobilink is having a fibre optic backbone of 8,500 km. TWA, a submarine fibre optic cable operator, specializing in end-to-end international connectivity, also constructed backbone fibre for Mobilink for domestic connectivity. Nayatel had introduced Pakistan’s first Fibre-To-The-User (FTTU) network with advanced Next Generation Network (NGN) capability, offering data, voice and multimedia services in Islamabad. Multinet with over 4,500 km DWDM backbone is connecting fibre to 107 cities in Pakistan up to 100mbps. Wateen laid 5,500 km backbone network and Metro Rings providing Triple Play (Data, Voice, Video) services in most major cities. Brain Tel offers Quadplay (Data, Voice, Video & Surveillance) in Lahore. PTCL started an exclusive FTTC (Fibre-To-The-Curb) phone connections last year.
“It is an important transformation, you can see great progress every day. In Pakistan, fibre is replacing copper to achieve high speed for Triple Play or Quadplay. You can imagine how promising fibre broadband is. Our partnership with Aspen Optics is a good news to both our carrier and enterprise customers”, said Malik Naseer Ahmad, Managing Director of Digital Solution.
Digital Solution will start to distribute the full product range of Aspen Optics including MetroBlazer™ media converters, concentrators, distribution & CPE switches as well as Geebic SFP, GBIC, Xenpak, 10GE X2 and XFP.
“We are excited to see this great opportunity, to participate in such a big market growing so fast. In alliance with Digital Solution as our distributor, we are eager to make contribution to the industry by offering innovative products to help customers in Pakistan enjoy the best out of fibre connection”, said David Whitney, Managing Director of Aspen Optics.
Here's recent news on Pakistan's telecom sector expansion, as reported in Daily Times:
Despite inching towards a saturation stage, the telecom sector received $1.438 billion in year 2008 and $815 million in the following year - 2009 as FDI in different projects in the ministry and its attached departments.
The total Internet users of the country rose to 19 million with total broadband users rising to 413,809 million. Total direct and indirect jobs in the telecom sector are 1.36 million.
During the past two years, the total phone lines increased from 94.695 million to 103.801 million with mobile lines increasing from 88.019 million to 97.58 million, almost 59.6 percent upward slide, while the fixed lines declined from 4.416 million to 3.526 million, almost 2.2 percent downward slide. The democratic government, after taking over in February 2008, came forward with policy reforms and policy directives for the telecom sector for year 2010.
Pakistan Telecommuni-cation Authority (PTA) Chairman Dr Mohammad Yasin opined that Pakistan’s telecommunication sector was growing faster, even more rapidly than that of India with over 63 percent teledensity, encouraging the FDI.
“Look, India is lagging far behind Pakistan with 37 percent teledensity as compared to 63.5 percent in Pakistan. Pakistan’s FDI policy is much more liberal than that of India to attract more investment in Pakistan’s telecom sector,” he added.
The PTA chief was of the view that the ever-growing teledensity of Pakistan is unleashing new vistas of opportunities to the foreign and local investors for better returns, especially in the field of data services.
“Services like mobile Internet, mobile banking and Internet Protocol Television hold fortunes for any wise investor,” he added.
The Telecom analysts around the world still believe in Pakistan to be a lucrative market and business monitor forecasts that mobile subscribers in Pakistan would hit 100-million mark by next year.
The sector has been growing at a rapid pace where growth rates have become the hallmark. Although a bit slower growth, of only 7 percent, was observed in mobile sector last year, this trend cannot be attributed only to saturation as there are factors like international financial crisis, devaluation of rupee, security situation and re-registration of SIM programme.
According to the World Economic Forum's Global IT Report 2010, Pakistan has jumped 11 places to 87 from 98 on a list of 133 economies.
Here's how Telecomnewspk.com reports it:
“It is evident that technology is playing a leading role in accelerating economic growth and promoting development,” said Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF) Chief Executive Officer Arthur Bayhan. CSF, a partner institute of WEF, is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Finance, government of Pakistan and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), established to reposition Pakistan’s economy on a more competitive global footing.
Bayhan pointed out that CSF has carried out a policy action plan in 2008-09 to mobilise a dialogue across the telecommunication value chain to define the challenges that confront Pakistan’s telecom and IT industry and to address these challenges. The exercise resulted in an action agenda to tackle constraints and better position the ICT sector in Pakistan to take advantage of opportunities for growth.
“Now within 18 months of the exercise, many of the suggested initiatives and recommendations have taken effect so as to reshape the telecom industry in the most efficient and effective manner. CSF believes that through this focused initiative it has helped transform the Pakistan telecom domain,” Bayhan said.
Published for the ninth consecutive year with an extensive coverage of 133 economies worldwide, the Global IT Report remains the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on the development process and the competitiveness of nations.
Pakistan has fared particularly well in the sub-indexes of Individual Readiness – mobile cellular tariffs (8) and residential telephone connection charge (11) while under the sub-index of Business Readiness the country does good in business telephone connection charge (15) and business monthly telephone subscription (17).
A marked improvement has been seen in Pakistan’s capacity for innovation, which has gone up from 73 last year, to 56 this time but it still requires further improvement. There have been slight improvements in quality of educational systems, up from 104 last year to 99, internet access in schools improving by six places to 75 and company spending on R&D getting better by six places to stand at 80. One of the recommendations put forward by CSF in the action plan was that the telecom operators in Pakistan adopt strategies for creating a conducive and competitive infrastructure cost sharing environment. Accordingly, major cellular operators of the country have signed agreements to get involved in infrastructure cost sharing thereby reducing infrastructure duplication and costs, noted Bayhan. CSF also recommended amplifying the bundled offers like voice and SMS with value-added services like MMS, Mobile TV, Mobile Banking, GPRS etc.
Here's a Business Recorder story about the launch of a new broadband company in Pakistan:
KARACHI (May 28 2010): Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Qubee, Mubashir Naqvi on Thursday announced the formal launch of Qubee broadband internet service in Pakistan. The Qubee service has begun in Karachi through its stores besides a network of local distributors, he said at press conference held at a local hotel. "The internet broadband growth has been forecast to reach about 4.3 million users by the end of 2013 in Pakistan at an unprecedented rate," he added.
Keeping in view the whole scenario, he said, there was a vast opportunity for wireless broadband providers to capitalise on the unexploited market in the country. Naqvi was of the view that the economic and social uplift of a country was altogether linked to the broadband access. Pakistan is amongst the most dynamic telecom economies in terms of internet growth, he cited the observation of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development 2010.
With an initial investment of 70 million dollar in Pakistan, he said, Qubee was planning to seize the opportunity of huge untapped market, adding, "Qubee is responsible for the direct employment of over 120 people in Karachi, which is set to grow to 250 people by the end of the year."
Naqvi said that Qubee would also be available in Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi by the end of the current year to expand its network base across Pakistan over the next few years. CEO Qubee observed that the demand for internet connectivity had never been high in the country, saying that the new broadband service would go fully to satisfy its customers with reliable and undistorted download within a range of affordable packages.
With the brand name Qubee is a wireless broadband internet service provider of Augere Holdings Plc, in Pakistan. It offers connectivity through a technology called WiMax [World-wide Inter-operability for Microwave Access]. The minimum package is Rs 750 a month with 512 Kbps speed and six GB downloading capacity, while the internet gadget is offered to costumers free of cost. The other packages range between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 with different speed slabs and download capacity a month, he told Business Recorder earlier.
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.
Broadband users in Pakistan have reached 816,807 mark, as of April 2010, as per recently published stats by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
PTA stats said that Internet Service Providers of Pakistan added a total of 44,370 broadband subscribers in April 2010 compared to addition of 55,932 broadband subscribers in March 2010.
These statistics suggests that DSL still has 55 percent market share of total broadband market in Pakistan (in terms of subscribers), while WiMAX stands second with 30 percent subscribers’ market share.
EVO EVDO witnessed highest growth rate in last two quarters and has added its market share in terms of subscribers by 3 percent, while WiMAX subscribers’ market share grew by 2 percent.
On other hands, DSL users decreased by 3 percent and HFC saw a decline of 2 percent in market share in last 7 months.
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) now extends its wireless Broadband EVO service to 100 major cities and towns across Pakistan. PTCL EVO is a superior 3G wireless technology that gives opportunity to roam freely with an average download speeds from 300 kbps to 500 kbps.
PTCL has made the broadband technology affordable by lowering the barriers to entry and now geographically, the service is within the reach of a large number of Pakistanis.
The major cities that PTCL EVO covers are, Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Hyderabad, Chakwal, Gujranwala, Muzzafarabad, Rawalakot, Mirpur, Okara, Sargodha, Sialkot, Multan, Faisalabad, alongside other small towns and cities across Pakistan.
Expansion of PTCL broadband network will continue to ensure that more customers get the opportunity to experience the latest wireless broadband and related technologies.
Naveed Saeed SEVP Commercial, on achieving this important milestone, said that the EVO launch in 100 cities reflects PTCL’s commitment to connect its customers to the world via Internet and the company’s commitment to provide its customers with best telecom services at their doorsteps. Working in a market where technology changes every minute, PTCL always strives to introduce products and services that brings more value to its customers.
Here 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.
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.
There are over a million broadband subscribers in Pakistan, according to PTCL:
Pakistani Internet Service Providers crossed one million mark for broadband internet subscribers in the country by totaling 1.052 million broadband subscribers in October 2010, up from 994,911 subscribers in September 2010, according to the recent most data provided by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
DSL companies added the most subscribers for broadband and stood at 516,167 subscribers in October 2010, up from 488,946 in September 2010.
EvDO service providers added a total of 15,540 subscribers in one month, while WiMAX companies added a total of 14,066 subscribers in the month. Total number of WiMAX subscribers in the country has hit 306,665 mark, up from 292,599 a month ago.
DSL remains the top technology used for broadband internet in the country, while WiMAX stands seconds. EvDO is swiftly adding its share for the broadband subscribers.
HFC and FTTH remains the lowest adding subscribers technologies in the country.
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd. (PTCL) is to implement VDSL2 bonding technology to deliver speeds of up to 50 Mbps to its existing DSL subscriber base, using solutions from Alcatel-Lucent, according to Broadband World Forum:
Alcatel-Lucent is to provide PTCL with its Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) IP access platform, as well as its bonding-ready customer premises equipment (CPE).
Alcatel-Lucent will also serve as the project's master network integrator, and will provide a range of professional services, including project management, installation and commissioning, integration and technical support.
VDSL2 bonding works by taking two copper-based VDSL2 lines per subscriber and aggregating them, thereby almost doubling the bandwidth available to existing customers.
PTCL and Alcatel-Lucent are launching 50Mbs service in Pakistan, according to Daily Times:
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) and Alcatel-Lucent in a joint press conference held on Friday announced the launch of VDSL2 Bonding technology for the first time in Pakistan pioneering the commercial use of this technology in the telecom industry globally.
PTCL will be the first service provider to deploy a commercial VDSL2 Bonding solution, showing “our commitment to take the broadband service experience in Pakistan to the next level.”
PTCL will be using VDSL2 Bonding technology to provide existing digital subscriber line (DSL) customers with speeds up to 50 Mbps. The project leverages Alcatel-Lucent’s (Euro next Paris and NYSE: ALU) VDSL2 Bonding expertise and will be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2011.
VDSL2 Bonding takes two copper-based VDSL2 lines per subscriber and aggregates them—almost doubling the bandwidths available to existing customers, or expanding high-speed broadband access to areas that are underserved today. Using VDSL2 Bonding, service providers can extend the life of their existing copper infrastructure - supporting the delivery of bandwidth-intensive services such as triple-play voice, data and HDTV.
According to a recent study from market research firm IHS iSuppli, simultaneous access to applications such as peer-to-peer file sharing, online gaming, streaming audio, VoIP and IPTV will soon require bandwidths between 50 and 100Mbps. This fits exactly with VDSL2’s capabilities—especially when combined with innovations such as Bonding and Vectoring.
Commenting on this achievement, Walid Irshaid, President and CEO of PTCL stated “PTCL is the first service provider worldwide to deploy a commercial VDSL2 Bonding solution that aims at doubling the bandwidths provided to its existing customers. We are thus setting the trend in international telecom, and are taking the broadband experience in Pakistan to the next level. Alcatel-Lucent’s VDSL2 Bonding technology and comprehensive services and network integration expertise is helping us to keep pace with the increasing bandwidth requirements of our customers, while capitalizing on the existing copper infrastructure. This will enable us to quickly deliver high-quality, high-speed and high-availability business and residential services – even in areas where it was not possible before.”
Alcatel-Lucent is providing PTCL with its Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) IP access platform – which is the first platform to commercially support VDSL2 Bonding. Alcatel-Lucent will also supply Bonding-ready customer premises equipment (CPE). Alcatel-Lucent serves as the project’s master network integrator, and is providing a range of professional services – including project management, installation and commissioning, integration and technical support.
“We understand that service providers need the right tools to bridge the gap until fiber deployments become ubiquitous. VDSL2 Bonding is an ideal approach: service providers like PTCL can almost double the speeds supported by their DSL infrastructure or expand their network’s reach. This makes it a fast and cost-effective approach to bridging the digital divide,” said Aadil Rauf CEO Alcatel-Lucent.
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.
Considering all the massive negative propaganda in the Indian and western media about Pakistan, it is interesting to see that some Americans are noticing the 50 Mbps broadband access build-out in the "failed state" of Pakistan by a state-owned telephone company.
In a provocatively titled post "Osama bin Laden Getting Faster Internet Than You Have: Pakistan’s 50Mbps Future", an American blogger Philip Dampier complains as follows: "While America’s heartland is being wired for 3Mbps DSL service, residents in Pakistan are getting ready for speeds up to 50Mbps thanks to a major broadband expansion in the country".
With the placement of UAE's Yahsat communication satellite by a European Ariane 5 ECA rocket on April 22, satellite broadband service by Yahclick in now expected to be available by the end of this year in Pakistan.
The price of customer premises equipment will be around $700 one time (deep discount on the $2000 cost) and the customer needs to pay $40 per month to enjoy 2Mbps of Unlimited Bandwidth Internet connection.
The satellite broadband internet service in Pakistan will provide Communication services to remote areas where telecom infrastructure does not already exist.
Yahsat 1B uses state of the art Ka band multi spot-beam technology, achieving high bandwidth.
Here's a Dawn story on rapid broadband growth in Pakistan:
WASHINGTON: Pakistan is ranked as one of top countries that registered high growth rates in broadband Internet penetration among their populace, the latest worldwide data report for Q1 2010 to Q1 2011 says.
Serbia leads all countries surveyed with a 68% annual growth rate from Q1 2010 to Q1 2011, according to July 2011 Bandwidth Report with data on worldwide bandwidth penetration.
The figures were cited by Website Optimization, LLC, a leading website optimizing firm, sourced from Point Topic, a global broadband tracker, and reported by PRWeb.
Pakistan, which has seen a boom in its promising telecom sector and information technology services in recent years, recorded around 46.2 percent growth of subscribers and is placed fourth on the ranking list.
The closest South Asian country to Pakistan on the list of top countries is Sri Lanka at the 11th spot with its broadband penetration growing in 30s while India lags at the 14th place in terms of broadband growth.
Globally, only Thailand and Belarus had greater percentage expansion than Pakistan, apart from top-rated Serbia during the period.
Pakistan’s digital growth prospects have begun to look brighter lately.
Besides having a large bilingual (English and Urdu) Internet conversant population, Pakistan’s software companies have carved a niche internationally in recent years.
According to government figures, the country’s information technology exports totaled $1.4 billion in the last financial year.
Experts say the IT industry, which adds thousands of skilled workers every year, has the potential to hit multimillion export target within next five to ten years. Additionally, mobile phone and wireless Internet usage are also expanding rapidly.
The survey data shows that China continues to lead the world in total broadband subscribers. As of the first quarter of 2011, China had over 135 million broadband subscribers, with the US at over 88 million subscribers in second place. Japan, German, and France followed China and the US in total subscribers.
PTCL brings 100 Mbits fiber to home service, according to Online News:
KARACHI: Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has deployed its first ever Fiber to Home service based on Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology in Karachi.
PTCL with its commitment to provide the latest technology and innovative products to its customers has introduced its first ever Fiber to Home service in Karachi while this service is also available in Lahore and Islamabad as well, says a press statement received here on Wednesday.
GPON provides a capacity boost in both the total bandwidth and bandwidth efficiency through the use of larger, variable-length packets. It not only provides substantially higher efficiency as a transport network, but also delivers simplicity and superb scalability for future expansion in supporting additional services with lowest cost for all modes of operation.
With this unique capability PTCL has raised the bar of customer experience by many notches. Initially the service includes unprecedented voice quality on telephone, extremely fast and reliable broadband connectivity and digital television with amazing video quality.
PTCL’s SEVP, Business Zone South, Abdullah Yousef Abdullah said on this occasion, “PTCL will widely deploy Fiber to the home technology of which the first step has already been taken in some parts of Karachi giving our valued customers the opportunity to experience the latest technology and the best quality of service.
Our aim is to delight our customers with such innovative products right at their doorstep which suits their life styles and spending budgets”.
As part of the mobile broadband promotion campaign, PTCL's EVO-WiFi Cloud at 3G speeds (upto 3.1 Mbps) offers a mobile hotspot that intelligently converts your home/work/vehicle space into a personalized wifi zone anywhere in over 100 Pakistani cities and towns covered by EVO service. The EVO-WiFi cloud device costs Rs. 7000 upfront with Rs. 2000 a month for unlimited service.
PTCL has recently launched an Android based thin Apple iPAD2 like tablet computer with EVO 3G and WiFi connectivity built-in. 3G EVO Tab is a 7 inch touch screen tablet with built-in EVO service to offer wireless broadband internet on the go in more than 100 cities and towns across Pakistan. Powered by Google Android Froyo 2.2 Operating system, 3G EVO Tab offers support for both 3G and Wi-Fi for an un-interrupted on-the-go connectivity. With a 5 MegaPixel Camera, a variety of built-in applications, 3G EVO Tab lets users browse, snap, share, communicate, navigate, play games and do a lot more on-the go, thereby making it an ideal connectivity solution for users looking for high speed on-the-go 3G connectivity on an Android platform. PTCL 3G EVO Tab offers convenience and speed with three diverse economy packages to suit individual needs and pockets. Its 12-month bundle offer has been very successful with majority sales in this bracket.Customers can get EVO Tab for as low as Rs 7,999 plus 12-month unlimited EVO service, all at Rs 31,999. In addition to the 12-month contract, EVO Tab offers bundled packages based on 3 and 6 month contracts at Rs 27,999 and Rs 29,999, respectively with 3 and 6 month of unlimited EVO service.
Here's a report from The Nation newspaper on the growth of PTCL's broadband business:
LAHORE - The broadband segment of the telecom sector has witnessed a tremendous growth over the years, with subscribers growing by threee-year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 85 percent.
According to telecom industry experts, though the growth could be attributed to a low base effect; nonetheless low broadband density of only 0.8 percent compared to country’s total teledensity of 69 percent leaves ample room for further growth.
Latest data reveals that in 1QFY12 PTCL’s DSL, customer base increased by 9 percent with a steady market share of 95 percent. Therefore, with available growth room, it is believed the broadband would also shoulder the declining fixed line business. Experts estimate that the broadband will contribute approximately 8 percent to the topline of the company in FY12.
They said that the segment growth prospects also stems from being the major beneficiary of company’s CAPEX program. In the last thee years, PTCL capital expenditure stood at Rs24b with major expansionary projects like expansion of optical fibre network in Balochistan to acquiring of VDSL2 bonding technology for high speed data transfer and many more all coming under the broadband segment.
The largest telecom operator has underperformed the broader KSE index by 33 percent during 2011YTD, on concerns of its ailing fixed line business segment. However, Muhammad Milwala, a telecom sector expert, believed that fixed line is only one-half of the PTCL coin and investors have overlooked the growth story in PTML (Ufone), PTCL’s 100 percent owned cellular firm. Therefore, in order to capture the complete essence of Ufone’s story, he advises investors to look at company’s consolidated earnings rather than stand-alone which is usually announced at the Karachi bourse after the PTCL board meeting.
This investment case is also driven from growth prospects of its broadband business (subscribers witnessed CAGR of 85 percent in last 3 years) that has a potential to cushion the decline of fixed line. Overall, it is expected company to post double-digit increase in consolidated profitability of 20pc.
Investors must only look at consolidated statistics as Ufone is becoming a large part of PTCL. Due to the changing dynamics of telecommunication industry (fixed line to wireless technology), Ufone has become the spearhead of PTCL’s earnings growth. As per estimates, the segment contributed approximately 47 percent to company’s topline while, approximately 50 percent of PTCL’ 1QFY12 is attributed to Ufone. During FY12, it is expected the pendulum would further swing towards Ufone, with estimate Ufone’s revenue to surpass that of its parent company and segment contribution to consolidated bottomline is estimated to stand around 68 percent. In addition to Ufone, broadband would also be the potential savior for PTCL.
Here's an excerpt from "Back to Pakistan" by Leslie Noyes Mass talking about the extensive telecom coverage in remote Northern areas of Pakistan:
"The Eagles Nest is aptly named: it perches on top of a ridge amid rocky scree and jagged peaks. Behind us are 24000-feet snowcapped summits, soaring into the sky. Below, the valley where we have spent the past few days is recognizable by its row of cell phone towers and the Hunza River. I have been astonished that, remote as we are in Hunza, first-class cell phone and Internet connections are available 24/7. We are as close to civilization as the briefest click and as far away the loosest stone on that crumbling highway north or south."
The highway Mass is referring to is the world's highest called Karakoram Highway at an altitude of over 15000 feet. It's currently being repaired and expanded with Chinese help. Talking about it, she writes:
"I wonder what a wide, asphalt highway would do to this area--bring more tourists and trade and change forever the lives of the people in the distant villages hidden among the rocks, I imagine."
Here's a Business Recorder story on PTCL's wireless broadband network coverage in Pakistan:
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited's (PTCL) EVO wireless broadband has become Pakistan's widest broadband Internet network covering 90 percent of the nation's population in more than 180 cities and towns.
PTCL has also recently expanded coverage of its fastest Nitro Rev B network to 70 cities.
Customers can now cruise with matchless speeds of up to 9.3Mbps with EVO Nitro's Rev B in more than 70 cities.
PTCL's EVO wireless broadband is the only wireless broadband network providing Rev A and Rev B connectivity in Pakistan, giving unlimited data volume downloads in unlimited usage packages.
Its superior 3G experience comes in a variety of pre-paid and post-paid device and connectivity package options that give customers multiple bill payment and pre-paid recharge options to suit their needs.
"PTCL is leading the mobile Internet revolution in Pakistan by continuing to expand and enhance our wireless broadband services to provide seamless coverage," said PTCL Senior Executive Vice-President, Naveed Saeed
Here's a <a href="http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/03/13/ptcl-claims-to-hold-95-share-of-dsl-broadband-sector>report</a> on growth of broadband in Pakistan:
<i>Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) claimed that it acquired 95 percent of the DSL market share with increase of 17 percent subscribers’ base in the first half of the current financial year 2011-12, the company financial report said.
According to an estimate, the company has nearly been subscribed by 1.5 million users. PTCL’s efforts in DSL business expansion were instrumental in making Pakistan one of the fastest growing countries in the world in terms of broadband growth.
The product portfolio was suitably diversified providing unparallel range from 256Kbps to 50 Mbps at competitive pricing to meet individual requirements of a wide range of customer base encompassing urban and rural communities alike.
Besides the company special promotions and bundled deals were encourages subscribers to upgrade their connections in terms of speed without any price increase.
Moreover, the introduction of Videophone with plug and play feature linking the service through regular DSL connection improved the subscriber experience.
The company also introduced FTTH (fibre to the home) in major urban areas to meet the ever-increasing demand of higher bandwidth and superior quality of services.
EVO Witnesses 30% Growth in H1FY12
In the half-year 2011-12, ‘EVO’ the wireless broadband service based on 3G technology witnessed a 30% growth in its customer base. This was made possible by introducing various products and packages encompassing latest technology.
The 3G EVO Tablet, launched on the Independence Day of 14th August 2011, is Pakistan’s first 3G enabled Android Tablet with built-in EVO wireless broadband for high speed on-the-go internet connectivity.
Similarly, economical packages were also offered on the EVO Cloud – the product enabling simultaneous 3G wireless broadband connectivity through Wi-Fi multiple devices.
Ufone Revenue up by 6%
The revenues of PTML (Ufone), the wholly owned subsidiary of PTCL also rose by 6 percent in the half year under review. The revenues of PTCL were Rs. 29 billion registering 6 percent increase.
PTCL Group earned revenues of Rs. 55 billion which were 6 percent higher compared to same period last year. The Group’s net profit after tax remained at Rs. 4.6 billion during the period under review depicting a decrease of 21 percent over corresponding period last year. PTCL’s net profit after tax was Rs. 2.9 billion which is 29 percent lower than the profit in same period last year mainly on account of decrease in Other Operating Income.</i>
Wimax achieves 50% penetration in Pakistan, according to Telecom Lead:
WiMAX technology has achieved a penetration rate of 50 percent of all broadband connections in urban centers in Pakistan.
Pakistan has a huge untapped market with only 7 percent of households having subscribed to broadband internet. The fixed market space is virtually untapped and future potential for growth is immense for broadband operators.
Pakistan has 4 WiMAX operators, namely Wateen, Qubee, Mobilink Infinity and Wi-Tribe who account for around 29 percent of the broadband market share. Consumers in the country are showing their preference for wireless broadband, which offers a lucrative untapped broadband market.
Recently, the WiMAX Forum hosted the South Asia Conference 2012 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The forum conducted the conference under the patronage of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, and co-organized by Wateen Telecom.
The conference was aimed at creating awareness about how WiMAX is a cost-efficient, sustainable and easily scalable solution for broadband distribution.
WiMAX can help improve the country's economy by helping industries such as electricity, aviation, oil & gas, agriculture, healthcare amongst others in becoming more efficient, transparent and vertical through its various applications.
WiMAX can help resolve Pakistan's electricity crisis through smart grid applications, through efficient and secure electricity distribution.
"This success of the technology is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. I am delighted to come to Pakistan and look forward to returning to continue supporting the success of WiMAX operators in the country," said Declan Byrne, president of the WiMAX Forum.
The conference included speakers from Airspan, Fanoos Telecom, Gemtek Technology and Banglalion among others who discussed various go-to-market strategies, planning considerations and applications for WiMAX operators. Alepo, a provider of WiMAX solutions shared how broadband and mobile networks can collaborate for better provisioning of data services for consumers.
Mohammed Yaseen, chairman, PTA, shared his vision for the country's broadband policy in enabling the country's economic and social needs, spoke to the delegates present at the conference.
"Wateen Telecom is focused on proliferating broadband internet in Pakistan and we are firmly committed to the idea that WiMAX can change every aspect of life in Pakistan for the better. Being one of the pioneers for the technology in the world, Wateen believes WiMAX is the solution of choice for emerging countries and can leapfrog Pakistan to progress," said Naeem Zamindar, CEO Wateen Telecom.
Here's an excerpt of a Business Recorder story on Wimax in Pakistan:
Pakistan is among very few countries where various competing broadband technologies have been allowed by the regulator.
Though current broadband subscriptions are abysmally low at less than two million; PTA expects subscriptions and users to reach 19.5 million and 78 million respectively by 2020.
Future growth is expected to be driven by wireless broadband, as it can substitute fixed broadband (DSL) and offer mobile internet through dongles & wifi hotspots.
The WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) technology is a serious contender for future broadband uptake in Pakistan because it can roll out broadband very quickly, and operators can rapidly expand their footprints if things work out with the telcos.
Globally, the highest WiMAX penetration is witnessed in Pakistan, with nearly one in three wireless broadband subscribers using WiMAX technology.
Pakistan is hosting four WiMAX operators, and all of them are competing to establish their strongholds in major metropolis....
Here's Daily Times on PTCL 3G EVO mobile broadband offer:
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) is offering free 3G EVO Nitro 9.3 Mbps USB with 3 months free internet for advance payment of Rs 6,000 only. The small and compact 3G Nitro USB is an easy-to-manage USB dongle that offers a truly mobile Broadband internet experience at hyper fast speeds up to 9.3 Mbps. The 200 plus EVO coverage areas ensure that PTCL customers remain connected on the go. All new customers can avail this offer by making advance payment of Rs 6,000 only. The offer comes with free 3G EVO Nitro USB and 3 months free internet. PTCL is continuously building a truly mobile telecommunications infrastructure across Pakistan, said PTCL Senior Executive Vice President (SEVP) Commercial, Naveed Saeed.
In addition to adding $500 million to Google's revenue, young Pakistanis are making significant voluntary contributions to Google offerings like Google Maps. This has attracted the attention of Google bosses like Eric Schmidt who recently visited Pakistan and described Pakistan's young demographics as a great asset.
Here's an ET report on Google in Pakistan:
Google earns an estimated $500 million in revenues from its users in Pakistan, about 1.3% of the firm’s global total, according executives at Google Pakistan, who held their first ever public event in the country to highlight the technology giant’s interest in the country.
“Pakistan is Google’s next big market in the region,” Google’s head of Emerging Market Development, Southeast Asia, Jana Levene told a gathering of IT experts, bloggers, businessmen and selected journalists at Pearl Continental hotel in Karachi on Monday.
The gathering comes after Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt visited Pakistan in June to meet with the country’s politicians and businessmen. “It was just a regular visit. He wanted to find out how important the use of technology for the country’s leadership and businessmen is,” said Badar Khushnood, Google’s consultant in Pakistan.
Moreover, Google has intensified its operations by getting involved in a lot of projects – especially with the Punjab government – in the country recently. “Innovation Punjab” is one example where Google has partnered with Punjab Information Technology Board. It has launched a social innovation fund – in collaboration with Pakistan Software Houses association, also their partner for the event – to support young entrepreneurs struggling to get their ideas public.
Google’s increased interest in the country, Schmidt’s visit of Pakistan and now this event sends very strong signals to the country – the giant may consider opening an office in Pakistan. Khusnood denied if Google was opening its first office in the country anytime soon but added it couldn’t be ruled out. Google’s representatives attributed Pakistan’s growing importance to multiple factors.
“To enter a market, the first thing we look at is its demographics – number of internet users in that country,” Jana Levene said, explaining why Google is interested in Pakistan. “Twenty-two million internet users is a huge number. It’s more than Australia’s whole population. That’s why we are here,” she said.
The second thing Google is interested in, Levene said, is the size of the market. “Pakistan is a $400 to $500 million market for Google,” she said. Currently, four of the top 10 most popular websites in Pakistan are Google’s sites.
But the key takeaway from the event was not the information, but the fact that it was addressed by six senior Google executives, a strong indication that the technology giant wants to expand further in the Pakistani market.
“We are calling you to help us bring more Pakistanis online,” Jana Levene said addressing country’s leadership as well as the technology sector. “Tell the world Pakistan is economically viable. It’s a safe place to do business,” Levene said.
Here's a Nation report on PTCL's Wi-Fi enabled USB:
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) has introduced Pakistan’s First Wi-Fi enabled USB ‘3G EVO Wingle’ that connects multiple Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously at hyper speeds of up to 9.3 Mbps, says a Press release.
PTCL 3G EVO Wingle is a perfect work and travel companion providing a powerful Wi-Fi experience on the go, connecting 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices to PTCL’s revolutionary 3G EVO Wireless Broadband. The tremendous ease and comfort of 3G EVO Wingle with its state of the art Wi-Fi capability and fast internet browsing brings an unparalleled experience for PTCL customers.
“3G EVO Wingle will revolutionize the way people connect and surf on the go”, said Senior Executive Vice President (SEVP) Commercial, Naveed Saeed. “Being the largest telecommunication company in Pakistan PTCL has always been the trendsetter for other companies”.
3G EVO Wingle launch comes with a special bundle offer of 3 months unlimited internet and free Wingle device for just Rs 7,500. PTCL also offers customers the flexibility to opt for various post and prepaid packages based on their needs and requirement and access to broadband internet anywhere anytime.
“We are constantly bringing products that provide maximum utility to our customers” said Executive Vice President (EVP) Wireless, Omer Khalid. “PTCL has specially taken this initiative so that our valued customers can work play and surf on the go”.
PTCL 3G EVO Wingle provide customers seamless roaming experience at speeds up to 9.3 Mbps in over 200 cities, with auto switch over to 3.1 Mbps speeds in over 250 cities. The devices come with secure password protection to ensure optimal connection security.
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.
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.
“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.
Here's a Telecom report on growing base of broadband subscribers in Pakistan:
Pakistan ended October 2012 with 2.25 million broadband subscribers, up from 2.21 million in September, according to figures from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Most subscribers used DSL to connect to the internet, with the numbers rising to 913,102 from 904,154 a month earlier. Furthermore, the number of EV-DO internet users grew to 700,214 from 666,886 in the prior month. However, the Wimax internet base fell to 587,967 from 591,680 in September and the number of HFC internet users slipped to 34,141 from 35,343. There were also 9,299 FTTH users in October, up from 8,971 a month earlier, and 3,069 broadband subscribers used other technologies.
Here's a Financial Post story on $100m deal for satellite Internet access in Pakistan:
With the launch of the first four satellites in [external] O3b Networks’ satellite fleet only 78 days away, O3b announced today a strategic agreement with Pakistan’s largest ICT company Interactive Esolutions. Using multiple O3b beams to provide coverage of the entire country, Interactive will be providing a full suite of services in Pakistan, including trunking services to underserved regions, cellular backhaul for mobile operators and enterprise and e-government services across the country.
O3b Networks will deliver fiber-like speed at sub 150 millisecond latency and affordable prices, opening the door to new applications and growth opportunities for customers in Pakistan.
Mr. Shahid Mahmud, Chairman/CEO Interactive Group said, “We are extremely excited about this agreement as we strongly believe that the Pakistani market offers immense appetite for bandwidth and data. Our customer base varies from Telecom operators to large and small enterprise across the country. We anticipate great demand in the Oil & Gas sector, Health, Education, Shipping and Government sectors. We are happy that Interactive will be contributing to the growth of broadband through this state of the art technology. We firmly believe that together we will usher in a new era of Internet usage proliferating the positive effects of connectivity amongst the people of Pakistan.”
“We are honored to support Interactive Group in continuing their history of technical innovation and service to Pakistan,” said Steve Collar, CEO of O3b Networks. “Pakistan, with its burgeoning population and growing economy is in desperate need for state of the art communications infrastructure. By overcoming the geographical hurdles presented by mountainous terrain, working together with Interactive we can ensure that broadband connectivity is available across the entire country.”
O3b’s unique eight satellite, Medium-Earth-Orbit fleet enables affordable, high-speed connectivity in places where traditional satellite and fiber offerings are unavailable or extremely costly.
Here's a report about Effective Measures eyeing Pakistan market:
KARACHI, PAKISTAN: Effective Measure, a rapidly expanding leader in digital audience profiling and measurement in emerging markets, has marked its official entry into the booming online media market of Pakistan.
Founded in Australia and operational in some of the world's most dynamic digital growth markets, Effective Measure has made a further commitment to assisting in the development of the Pakistan online media industry.
Effective Measure has been on the ground in the Pakistan market for over a year and has now formalised its presence following a series of key client wins and the coveted official industry endorsement by the Pakistan Advertisers Society (PAS) to facilitate digital audience measurement for the Pakistan digital media industry.
Effective Measure marked its official entry to the Pakistan market by supporting the PAS Awards on the 26th of April and hosting a series of high level briefings with key clients over the last week with visiting Effective Measure CEO Richard Webb and Effective Measure Regional Managing Director MEA, Brendon Ogilvy.
"The vibrant, emerging Pakistan market represents a great opportunity for Effective Measure to help transform a nascent digital media industry into a booming digital economy. We are delighted with the support and collaboration that we have experienced with local media and industry over the last year as we solidified our position in the market. The year ahead will be an extremely exciting time to be part of the local digital market and we will endeavour to share our international expertise to assist in expediting that growth potential and providing world class metrics and data that serve this diverse audience," Webb.
The Effective Measure solution benefits advertisers and media owners by offering superior access to audience reach and demographic data.
And heading up the Pakistan expansion is...
Leading Effective Measure's expansion in Pakistan is Effective Measure Country Manager-Pakistan, Imtiaz N. Mohammad, who has been developing market alliances and relationships over the last year. He joined the Effective Measure team with a rich background in both entrepreneurial digital projects, with technology consultancy Inspire-X and Crosby Asset Management and fixed and mobile content expertise with companies including SmartPhonz Wireless.
"As the Pakistan media market embraces digital it also faces regulatory, technology centric and economic challenges. Effective Measure's global experiences at the grass roots of emerging markets can help ease those challenges and turn them into electric opportunities. The potential in the Pakistan digital media market is huge and armed with the right tools we will assist in fostering the collective goal of turning Pakistan into a knowledge based economy," said Mohammad.
Under the PAS alliance Effective Measure has been working in collaboration with PAS to establish a market leading digital audience measurement service for the Pakistan industry. The breakthrough recognition of the Effective Measure platform, which was announced in March, has given Pakistan's advertising, publishing and digital media sectors a new level playing field to accurately assess measure and develop their valuable digital assets.
"The MEA region continues to exceed expectations across the digital media industry. The diversity of content and enthusiasm for digital engagement across all technology platforms is forcing advertising agencies and publishers to lift their game on all fronts. Insight, audience depth and accountability are no longer luxuries but mandatory tools of the trade and Effective Measure relishes bringing these opportunities for world-class digital development to the Pakistan market," said Effective Measure Regional Managing Director MEA, Brendon Ogilvy.
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.
From Middle East North Africa Financial Network:
The number of 3G subscribers has touched around 4 million mark, apparently surpassing all other broadband technologies in the country.
There are around 3.7 million broadband users in Pakistan as per official data for all technologies combined including WiMAX, DSL, EvDO, FTTH, Satellite, HFC and others till May this year.
Three mobile phone operators have already announced that each of them has crossed 1 million mark of 3G subscribers while Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is yet to formally release the stats about 3G and 4G subscribers.
According to Mobilink, it has 1 million 3G users on October 22, Telenor has 1.3 million 3G users on October 28 while Zong has also announced that it has 1 million 3G users. Ufone has not said a word so far about its subscribers.
Based on operators' announcements, there are at least around 4 million 3G users as of today.
With these figures, one can ascertain that 3G subscribers have crossed the numbers for all other broadband technologies, that too within just six months of auction of 3G and 4G licenses.
From Telenor Pakistan CEO in Newsweek Pakistan:
Pakistan is a vibrant, rich society full of potential and the means to realize it. It is much more than what the headlines in the Western media often convey. Despite its challenges, and all investments are challenging, it is a haven for foreign investment. The success of our company, Telenor Pakistan, testifies to this reality.
Telenor is Norwegian and operates across Europe and Asia as one of the world’s leading telecom and digital service providers. And Telenor Pakistan is very much a Pakistani success story. In March, we will mark a decade since our launch in the market here. When we started, we were the sixth entrant in the telecom sector. Today, with 36 million GSM customers alone, we now vie for leadership in a highly competitive sector.
We are bullish about Pakistan and our commitment to it is profound. We are in the process of building our new head office here with an investment of $70 million. We have, so far, invested $2.2 billion in Pakistan, and we expect our investment in the coming years to be of the same order of magnitude. We have just invested in a new 3G license and are deploying 3G sites around the country in both urban and rural areas every month. The spectrum auction conducted this year was executed with the highest level of professionalism and transparency, conditions that allowed participants to make bids with the greatest confidence in the process. Pakistan’s progressive approach to telecom is publicly recognized: on Oct. 27, Pakistan was elected to the ITU Council, the telecom industry’s global governing body.
The country has a deep pool of talent in all disciplines. The universities deliver great people to our doorstep year after year. Of the 2,800 or so direct employees of Telenor Pakistan, 2,798 are Pakistani nationals. We export more of our talent to the Telenor Group than any other business unit in our worldwide family of companies. This place is a goldmine of winners with an overwhelming desire for personal achievement and, in our company, a desire to build an empowered Pakistan.
Pakistan’s telecom sector is taking the lead in ensuring financial inclusion, an essential driver of economic growth and international competiveness, can be attained. We are contributing to the formalization of the economy through EasyPaisa, an award-winning suite of services in partnership with Tameer Microfinance Bank Limited. We transit close to Rs. 500 billion every year through EasyPaisa, which has a customer base of over 6 million. EasyPaisa is growing every day, thanks in no small part to the State Bank of Pakistan, a visionary financial services regulator and growth catalyst.
The data business is still essentially nascent. Our growth has been enabled by the dynamic regulatory environment that Pakistan offers foreign investors. We have been able to actively pursue our vision of empowering societies through our GSM and financial services with the assistance of the progressive, business-friendly policies of successive governments.
Our journey in Pakistan has been rewarding but not without its difficulties. The telecom sector’s success has been made possible because our voice, and the voice of the industry, is heard by the government, the regulators and state agencies when we discuss ways to evolve economic, industrial, fiscal, and taxation policies. We have always found open doors to address grievances and to find ways and means to increase our impact on society and the economy.
We have found in Pakistan not just a thriving market but a home that rewards our industry and recognizes and embraces foreign investment as critical to fulfilling the country’s economic aspirations. As an investor, you couldn’t ask for more.
Foley is president and CEO of Telenor Pakistan. From our Nov. 1-15, 2014, issue.
#UAE’s Yahsat launches broadband services in #Pakistan #Internet Access
A satellite broadband service of the UAE-based Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), YahClick, has officially launched services in Pakistan.
“Customers across Pakistan will now be able to connect to a satellite broadband via a small dish and modem, without the frustration of congested networks,” Yahsat said in a statement.
The statement added customers can connect to the satellite anywhere in the country, including places where terrestrial infrastructure is currently not available.
Read: March statistics: Broadband subscriptions edge past 12 million
“Our consumer launch in Pakistan is a significant milestone for YahClick. Regulatory approval by the Pakistani authorities for consumer use, paves the way for us to continue our global growth strategy in this promising market,” Yahsat CEO, Masood M Sharif Mahmood, said.
“We are confident that with the launch of our service in Pakistan, we will attract even more businesses and home users who are striving for better connectivity and access to global online, social, cultural and knowledge communities.”
Satellite technology is being used by YahClick to send and receive high-speed broadband internet signals in Pakistan linking some of the country’s most important infrastructure, including over 154 ATMs for many banks, and supporting election offices in remote areas and also connecting 1,600 students.
“YahClick will help Pakistan accelerate its economic growth and social development by improving access to information and reducing operational costs for internet access in the most remote and currently underserved areas,” Mahmood added.
Read: Stakeholders criticise tax on internet usage
Almost 34,000 subscribers have been acquired by YahClick for its satellite broadband service, up till now. Across 13 countries out of its 28 country footprint, the service has been installed of which seven are in sub-Saharan Africa.
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