Biggest threats to 3G and 4G in Pakistan

Biggest threats to 3G and 4G in Pakistan | PakistanTribePakistani telecom operators are now offering 3G and 4G services to the green flag holders after completion of auction’s first phase.

Telenor, Ufone, Mobilink and Zong are running pilot projects to check the new technology in different areas of the country.

Many from the telecom or telcos claim that PR and ATL did its work to attract users, there is no doubt that users are excited but few believe the credit goes to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) delay in the auction, telcos fail to generate awareness at the users level.

It’s a week now that Pakistan officially turns into 3G and 4G enabled country but there are lot of grey areas and question while we talk about the ground realities.

There are reports everywhere in conventional and new media that 3G and 4G cost will be three times higher than current tariffs.

Though, Pakistan has good a number of telecom users with more than 120 million but the number which can be avail high-end services of 3G and 4G are estimated to 20 percent (12 million) including 3 percent (3.3 million) postpaid users.

It’s yet to be confirmed that the predicted numbers can be achieved or not? But one thing is confirm that telcos can’t do the job by their own.

We all remember the 4G advertisement of Telenor appeared on the hoarding at Islamabad’s busy area couple of months ago but in reality Telenor auctioned for 3G’s 5MHZ spectrum only. Despite the 2nd largest telecom operator status, Telenor fails to buy 4G spectrum like Zong and 10MHZ of 3G like Mobilink and Zong.

Smartphones and tech equipped devices

Second threat to the stable 3G and 4G environment is the availability of technology enabled devices. almost all members of tech world know that raise-in-tax is on the government tables.

According to the report already published in, Pakistan government is planning to raise the tax on android based smartphones.

Many distributors and retailers are trying to maintain good stock of android based devices before any tax-raise announcement.

As a platform, Google’s owned Android is the largest operating system being used by Pakistanis.

Coverage quality

Coverage will be the biggest challenge for all telcos including Warid, whic plans to acquire 4G LTE technology.

If for the time being we exclude rural area from our debate, urban parts of the country even those areas where telecom operators have good numbers of users base are facing compromised coverage, bad signals and poor quality of voice services.

In this situation good coverage will be the top demand of users of 3G and 4G technology, but there is no answer that how telecom operators will fulfill the demand. (We aren’t talking about fulfilling demands in the Ads like one did it about 4G, we are talking about reality)

Users database

PTA and telecom operators claim that 20 percent (24 million) of current telecom users will shift to 3G and 4G, they also assume that postpaid users will also shift towards new technology.

We hope that PTA and Telecom operators have solid and reality based arguments in favour of their calculations but the situation isn’t seemed in favour of the prediction.

WiFi enabled environment, availability of Wireless internet devices at consumer level, cost of 3G and 4G packages, policies of digital media stakeholders, coverage quality and data-less planning can be the biggest threats to attract considerable numbers of consumers.

About the author

Shahid Abbasi

Shahid Abbasi is founder and editor of with 10 years experience in conventional media, he is one of the pioneers of new/digital media in Pakistan. He tweets @MShahid_Abbasi

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