Mobile Broadband Accelerates Data Service Revenue Growth in Pakistan

Mobile service operators enjoyed 24% jump in data revenue in fiscal year 2013-14 ended in June. Meanwhile, Pakistanis signed up for 3G and 4G mobile broadband services at a rate of one million per month over the last five months.

The data revenues of mobile phone service operators reached Rs. 47 billion during the year under review, 47.4% year-over-year growth. “This is a healthy sign in the wake of 3G and 4G services in the country and shows that the use of internet and data services on the cellular mobile has been increasing,” according to a recent Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) report.

As of June 30, 2014 data revenues account for 19.3% of the telecom sector’s overall revenue, up from 16.4% at the end of FY13 – the number for cellular segment, too, increased from 7.3% to 10.1%.

The increased use of social media messaging apps negatively impacted text messaging growth as the SMS volume declined to 301.7 billion during FY2014, down 4% compared to 315.7 billion in 2013. The average monthly SMS per subscriber volume was down to 180 in FY14 compared to 214 of FY13.

PTA reported that each cellular subscriber in the country has 2.17 SIMs on average, which translates to an actual monthly ARPU (per user revenue) of Rs 432.

Mobile broadband roll-out and double-digit growth in data revenue are expected to enable a whole new Internet-based economy with growth of mobile apps from social media, education, health care,  entertainment, financial services and e-commerce to government services in Pakistan.

3G/4G Subscriber Update As Of January 2015:


Pakistan ended January with over 9.07 million 3G/4G subscribers, up from 5.71 million in December 2014, according to data from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). Telenor led the 3G/4G market with over 2.25 million subscribers, followed by Ufone (2.25 million 3G/4G subscribers), Mobilink (2.17 million 3G/4G subscribers), and CMPak (1.85 million 3G subscribers and 5,023 4G customers) Warid had 44,075 LTE network subscribers at 31 January 2015.

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Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan has imported record US$ 544 million of cellular mobile handsets and US$ 682 million worth of telecom equipment during last one year, registering 20.7 percent and 30.3 percent increase respectively.
During the year, both operators as well as cellular mobile customers prepared themselves for 3G and 4G services. The operators upgraded their telecom networks and systems while subscribers opted to shift to smartphones to enjoy such services.
According to latest telecom stats, overall, the telecom imports crossed the mark of US$ 1.23 billion, of which 44.4 percent was for imports of consumer items i.e. cellular mobile handsets.
The telecom experts on Tuesday said there is a dire need for deployment of local manufacturing plant to reduce import bill.
It is now vital to develop local industry for telecom equipments and handsets with cooperation of regional partners engaged in telecom manufacturing.$-123bn-mark.html
Riaz Haq said…
Telecom service provider Telenor Pakistan has achieved 2.6 million 3G subscribers in 73 cities.

The company has launched 3G services in Pabbi, Karak, Sheikhupura, Toba Tek Singh, Lakki Marwat, Mianwali, Khyber Agency and Vihari during the current phase of commercial rollout.

Telenor Pakistan will offer free trial of 3G services — 50 MBs of free data every day — to customers in these newly added areas for two weeks.

The company will be charging 2G data services as usual.

Telenor Pakistan is following a two-fold strategy to roll out 3G sites across the country.

First, the telecom operator will increase the number of 3G sites within a city thus expanding the in-city coverage. Second, it will increase the number of 3G cities across the country.

“We will strengthen network reach and stay committed towards building an ecosystem to further facilitate 3G growth in the country,” said Irfan Wahab Khan, chief marketing officer, Telenor Pakistan.

In 2013, Telenor Pakistan invested substantially in modernizing its telecom network including base station equipment, value-added service platforms, among other things. Telenor Pakistan selected telecom equipments which are 24 percent more energy efficient and possessed intelligent power management features with reduced power consumption.
Riaz Haq said…
Startups in Asia – or any other developed country, for that matter – often complain of a lack of talent in their respective countries. Yet Pakistan boasts of a massive freelancing population. In 2013, there were reportedly 2 million Pakistani freelancers on oDesk, making it the fifth largest contributor globally. oDesk vice president Matt Cooper told The Express Tribune that the “quality of projects delivered by Pakistani freelancers is at par with our top freelancer countries from around the globe.”

Pakistan is slowly but surely joining the high-speed internet world as well. It was late to the game with 3G and 4G mobile services. The latter arrived only in April last year, but ended 2014 with close to 8 million subscribers – slightly more than Singapore, who first got 4G in early-2013. Meanwhile, another 15 million people access the internet from their mobile phones – that’s half of the total number of internet users in the country. It is expected that the number of broadband subscribers will rise to 45 million by 2020.

There are a number of local startups who have made a name for themselves on the world stage, too. Enterprise social network Convo, who raised US$5 million from a US-based VC firm Morgenthaler Ventures in 2013, is widely hailed as an example of Pakistani ingenuity. Morgenthaler Ventures has invested in big names such as Apple and Evernote.

Fashion-with-a-mission startup Popinjay has produced a series of high-end handbags that have received rave reviews from several national and international media platforms, and even in fashion shows. Online car portal PakWheels also recently grabbed US$3.5 million from Malaysia-based VC Frontier Digital Ventures.

See: Popinjay dreams of making poverty a thing of the past for Pakistani women
More importantly, the high-flying founders of these startups constantly mentor and give advice to the next generation in local startup programs and competitions, of which there are many.

The pieces are in place
Tech in Asia held its first meetup event in Lahore at Arfa Software Technology Park, a grey mass of buildings that we would end up spending most of our time in. Security here is tight – my colleagues and I passed through a grand total of four checks before getting the all-clear, and were asked where we were from multiple times.

Jazib Zahir, founder of games studio Tintash, tells us that it is generally the case for establishments that the government considers to be of national importance. Despite being a regular in the premises, Zahir himself had to show his identification card along for verification purposes, as did other locals.

Much like Singapore’s Block 71, these buildings are home to many local startups, many of which are housed in the resident accelerators and incubators. These organizations account for many of the current batch of budding Pakistani startups, and hence quite literally hold up the local startup ecosystem.

The Punjab Information Technology Board – a governmental body – is responsible for the development of two key programs located here: PlanX and Plan9. As the names suggest, the two are close relatives – PlanX is an accelerator born out of Plan9’s incubation program. While the latter focuses on idea-stage startups, only those who have a product and are looking to expand further can join the former.

A round of introductions at PlanX’s quaint working space reveals startups with raw but fascinating products. Several of them have in fact gone on show and won accolades at international startup events, such as Startup Turkey and Startup Asia – these trips are fully sponsored by the government. PlanX’s BookMe, for example, was one of the finalists at Tech in Asia’s Arena competition in Jakarta last year.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan clinches Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award 2015 #WorldMobileCongress #3G #4G …

BARCELONA: In a significant development for the telecommunication sector in the country, Pakistan was awarded the “Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award 2015” at the Mobile World Congress 2015 of the GSM Association held in Barcelona, Spain.
Pakistan was awarded for successfully auctioning spectrum for 3G/4G services in the 850 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands in 2014, and thereafter the rapid uptake of 3G services in the country.
“The award to Pakistan is an indication of the global community reposing its trust in the telecommunication sector policy practices of the Government of Pakistan,” a statement from the Ministry of State for Information Technology quoted minister Anusha Rehman.
The award is one of the two annual mobile excellence awards given as recognition of growth of the mobile industry in the country.
​The minister in her key note address said that in a short span of 6 to 8 months since launch of 3G/4G services in Pakistan, mobile broadband subscriptions for 3G stand at around 10 million.
“The Spectrum auction for next generation mobile services has not only enabled the people to gain access to mobile broadband services but has also encouraged investment in mobile networks in Pakistan,” said Rehman.
The minister added that the introduction of 3G and 4G services in Pakistan was a step forward towards creating an ‘accelerated digitisation ecosystem’ with special emphasis on ‘Bridging Broadband Divide’.
She said the government has accorded the highest priority to the development of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and applications for the provision of quality services, education, employment generation, and women empowerment.
Rehman is currently leading a delegation of Pakistan at the annual GSMA Mobile World Congress, being held in Barcelona, Spain.
Riaz Haq said…
Xiaomi smartphone in Pakistan:

The Xiaomi Mi Note is one of the hottest smartphones on the market that you can’t get in the U.S. The phone, a stiff competitor to Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy and Note lines in China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Pakistan -- basically every market but the U.S. and Europe -- has its own Android-based software ecosystem, MIUI 6, which happens to look a lot like Apple Inc.’s iOS. That’s part of its appeal: a phone that is every bit as beautiful as an iPhone, but for hundreds of dollars less.

Xiaomi had a whirlwind 2014, with a whopping 61 million handsets shipped. The smartphone maker now has Google Inc. on its toes, concerned that the distant competitor, known more for its software and services than its devices, could drive customers away from its Google Play offerings. Xiaomi has also surpassed consumer-electronics behemoth Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. as the largest mobile manufacturer in China in terms of shipments to the country, according to the International Data Corp.

Xiaomi was gracious enough to let me review its latest and greatest smartphone. So take that, Apple and Samsung: a Xiaomi phone in the U.S.

The Xiaomi Mi Note features a 5.7-inch Full HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip, 3 GB of random-access memory, 16 GB and 64 GB internal storage options, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 4-megapixel front camera and the Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS with Xiaomi’s MIUI 6 interface. The device sells for 2,299 yuan ($371), making it hundreds of dollars cheaper than a base-model iPhone.

First Impressions

The Xiaomi Mi Note is thin, light and quite compact for a phablet with a 5.7-inch display (it’s about the same width as the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus). Some aren’t enamored with the thinness of the Mi Note (less than 7 millimeters), but it’s a plus in my book. The Mi Note is nice to hold, but the all-glass exterior can be slippery. The back panel appears to be made of the same Gorilla Glass as its front display, which gives it a nice premium look. But glass back panels are prone to shattering when handsets are dropped.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan figures prominently among major growth markets in #InternetTrends 2015 report by Kleiner Perkins @kpcb

Internet Penetration 11%, Mobile phones owned by 144 million out of 196 million population. Only 6% own smartphones. Opportunity for strong growth with 3G, 4G rollout done in 2014.
Riaz Haq said…
#Facebook, #Telenor launch in #Pakistan, Browse 17 Websites for Free … via @ProPakistaniPK

As we told you yesterday, Telenor, in collaboration with Facebook today launched initiative in Pakistan, with which all Telenor customers — both prepaid and postpaid — will be able to use selected internet websites for free.

Telenor launched the program with 17 websites today, which are available for free unlimited browsing. However, external links, if any, will be charged as per usual tariffs.

Launch event or was attended by high-ups of Telenor Pakistan, including Michael Foley, CEO, Telenor, Irfan Wahab, Deputy CEO, Telenor Pakistan and Aslam Hayat Khan, VP, Telenor Pakistan.

Facebook officials, lead by Ime Archibong, Global Head for Strategic Partnerships at Facebook, in first of its kind representation from Facebook in Pakistan, were also present at the event.

Telenor has said that its initiative is aimed for first time internet users. Company has said that its currently not looking at any business proposition, instead the whole initiative is targeted to convert more users to internet.

Here is the list of websites that can be browsed for free:

Facebook, Telenor Mobile Portal, AccuWeather, Babycenter & MAMA, BBC News, Bing, ESPN Cricinfo, Facts for Life, Girl Effect, IlmkiDunya, Malaria No More, Mustakbil, OLX, Telenor News, UrduPoint Cooking and Wikipedia

Telenor users, in whatever city they are or whatever package they are on (postpaid included) can go to from their cell phones to access these websites. While accessing website, users will be presented a list of websites they can access for free.

Alternatively, if you are smartphone user, you can download app from your respective app store an use it.

Any usage with-in website (or the app) will be free.

Both 3G and 2G users can access for free, and there is no need to subscribe or activate anything. You can start browsing for free, right away!
Riaz Haq said…
The mobile phone imports into the country increased by 13.06 percent to US $539.583 million during first nine months of the year 2014-15 over the same period of last year’s imports of $477.255 million. On month on month and year on year basis, the cell phone import in March also increased by 1.05 percent and 64.94 percent when compared to the import in February 2015 and March 2014 respectively, according to the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The mobile phone import during March 2015 stood at $73.929 million against the import of $73.161 million in February 2015 and $44.822 million in March 2014. Similarly, the overall telecom imports also increased by 14.70 percent during July-March (2014-15) over the same period of last year. The imports of telecom into the country during first nine months of current fiscal year were recorded at $1.071 billion against the imports of $933.543 million in July-March 2014-15. On year on year basis, the telecom imports telecom imports in March increased by 8.46 percent from $100.144 million in March 2014 to $108.619 percent in March this year whereas on month on month basis the telecom imports decreased from $115.454 million in February 2015 to $108.619 million in March 2015 thus showing 5.92 percent decrease.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Telecommunication Company limited (PTCL) has introduced a 4G LTE tablet dubbed ‘CharJi Evo Tab’. The dual-SIM tablet provides LTE speeds of up to 36 Mbps and enables customers to access voice connectivity through GSM SIMs just like a mobile phone. The device features a 6.98 inch screen, 2 GB RAM and Quad Core processor. The tablet also includes 16 GB in-built and 64 GB external memory support, 8-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front camera.

The CharJi Evo Tab is available for PKR 25,000. Customers who acquire the device will also receive a bonus of 5 GB CharJi LTE data and 15,000 Ufone on-net minutes, valid for 3 months and a free 1-year subscription to its Smart TV app. Customers will also have access to a pre-installed Sygic application for turn-by-turn voice guided navigation across Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #smartphone sales jump 124% year-over-year. #3G #4G …

Shipments of smartphones in Pakistan increased by a massive 124% year on year during the first quarter of 2015, with shipments up 21% when compared with the previous three month period. That's according to the latest findings from global technology research and consulting firm International Data Corporation (IDC), which attributes the shifting dynamics of the Pakistan mobile market to the deployment of 3G 4G networks across the country and the subsequent rise in demand for devices that are compatible with the new infrastructure. Pakistan has traditionally been a feature phone market indeed, just three years ago (2012), 93% of all mobile phone shipments in the country were feature phones since there was no network to support smartphones. Even those consumers that did own smartphones had to be content with only using traditional voice and SMS services. In the last year, however, the market has experienced a drastic shift to the smartphone form factor. According to IDC's Global Mobile Phone Tracker published in Q1 2015, smartphones now account for about 30% of all the devices shipped to Pakistan, up from 25.3% in the previous quarter and from 14.7% in the corresponding period last year. This shift is set to continue, as IDC expects the proportion of smartphones to overtake feature phones by the end of 2017. The Shift to Smartphones in Pakistan The rapid shift to smartphones began in 2014 following the deployment of 3G 4G networks in the country. Inevitably, there is now a scrum of vendors trying to get a share of the pie, and as telecom operators deploy infrastructure to the whole country, the level of competition is only expected to increase. Data from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) shows that only about 10% of all subscribers in the country are using 3G 4G networks, so the shift to smartphones will gather even more pace as the numbers of 3G 4G subscribers increase. Another important factor to consider is that mobile phone penetration currently stands at around 75% in Pakistan, meaning there is a sizeable share of the population that has yet to acquire any type of mobile device. Uptake among these first time buyers is sure to spur the smartphone market's development even further. Meanwhile, dual device ownership is expected to rise, with consumers increasingly acquiring a smartphone in addition to their existing feature phones, not only so they can capitalize on the added benefits of smartphone ownership, but also so they can leverage the on net savings that telcos may provide for both voice and data usage. Vendor Specific Trends As the above shift is taking place, the market is witnessing an increase in the number of vendors offering different SKUs of devices. QMobile continues to dominate the market with an overall unit share of 58%, leading in both the feature phone and smartphone segments. Nokia and Voice are the other key players, with shares of 17% and 5%, respectively. The market is also witnessing an influx of new vendors. Despite QMobile's strong lead, IDC expects competition to intensify as other players like Voice, Samsung, Huawei, and Lenovo make inroads into the market. "We expect to see fluctuations in the market's vendor shares as large global players start to establish a stronger foothold in the market and new players try to gain a slice of the action," says Nabila Popal, IDC's research manager for handsets and display solutions in the Middle East and Africa. "Samsung, for example, initially had a hard time in the Pakistan market, but recent changes to its product mix and target price bands have helped it to finally gain traction in the market, recording a 6% share of smartphone shipments in Q1 2015." ......
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan Mobilink expands #3G network coverage to 200 cities - Telecompaper …

Pakistani mobile operator Mobilink has expanded its 3G network coverage to 200 cities across the country. Mobilink added 178 cities to its 3G network coverage in the first half of this year, Pakistan Tribe reports. Mobilink commercially launched 3G services on the local market in July 2014. To support its 3G services, Mobilink's fiber optic network currently spans over 8,000 kilometers.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #broadband subscribers reached 38m in October: PTA. #3G #4G #Internet

The total number of broadband subscribers has crossed 38 million by the end of October 2016. According to the latest data of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the number of broadband users has reached 38076286. Addition of 35.45 million mobile broadband subscribers Since the launch of 3G and 4G LTE services, mobile broadband subscribers have reached 35.45 million. The total usage of data during September 16 to October 16 was 53,340 terabytes. 2G share remained 87 percent in terms of voice, while 13 percent was data share. In 3G technology, 3 percent was voice, while 97 percent was data usage.

Before 3G and 4G launch, the total volume was 1,243 Tbs in January 2014, whereas, it increased gradually after 3G launched. In December 14, the total usage was 6,903 terabytes which increased to 23,980 in December 2015. In September 2016, the data usage was 45,672 terabytes. The PTA data also claimed that the teledensity has reached to around 71 percent. It indicates that majority of people now have access to basic voice telephony, mostly on mobile phones.
Riaz Haq said…
#Visa QR #mobile payments coming to #Indonesia, #Pakistan, #Vietnam

Visa will soon be expanding its QR-based mobile payment service to ten more markets, including Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam.

The service, named mVisa, is now live in India, Kenya and Rwanda, and will soon be available to merchants and consumers in the three new APAC markets, as well as Egypt, Ghana, Kazakhstan, and Nigeria.

mVisa, a mobile solution, aims to provide easy and secure digital commerce to financial institutions, merchants and consumers in emerging markets.

The service is designed to help merchants overcome infrastructure issues by allowing consumers to use their mobile phones to make cashless purchases at merchant outlets, pay bills remotely and send money to friends and family members by securely linking their Visa debit, credit or prepaid account to the mVisa application.

mVisa digitizes the underlying account and allows consumers to transfer funds from their account to the retailer’s account reliably and securely by scanning a QR code.

Use cases of mVisa include the allowing subscribers of Tata Sky, a direct-to-home service provider in India, to recharge their account by using their mobile phones to scan the WR code directly from the TV screen or online. This function allows Tata Sky customers to order and pay for monthly or one-time services from home without having to visit a physical retail outlet.

Mahanagar Gas Limited, a utility provider in Mumbai, also issues customer bills printed with the mVisa QR code. Customers scan the QR code on the bill, as they would at a merchant outlet, and complete their transaction at their leisure.
Riaz Haq said…
Cybernet #Pakistan and PEACE Cable International Network Company Ltd is set to increase Pakistan's #internet #infrastructure capacity by 96 terrabits per second with the country's first carrier-neutral, open-access #submarine #cable system. #bandwidth

Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) Cable International Network Company Ltd and Cyber Internet Services Pvt Ltd (Cybernet Pakistan) signed the agreement on April 16 in Cairo, a press release said. A Memorandum of Understanding for the project was inked in 2018.

The PEACE cable system, with landings in Pakistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya and France, will provide critical interconnectivity to the economic corridors of Asia, Europe, and Africa.

It is a 12,000-kilometre-long, privately owned cable system "that provides an open, flexible and carrier-neutral services for its customer", the press release said. The first phase of the project will connect Asia, Europe and Africa. PEACE is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2020.

The statement said that the project would enable carriers to extend gigabit speeds to the local population and will be instrumental in meeting the exponential growth in bandwidth demand from mobile and fixed broadband users in Pakistan and neighbouring countries.

"The system design will adopt the latest 200G technology and WSS technology, which provides the capability to transmit over 16 terrabits per fiber pair, servicing growing regional capacity needs," the statement said.

Cybernet is the PEACE Cable Landing Station Partner in Pakistan and will be deploying PEACE Pakistan Cable Landing Station (CLS) and managing its operations. Cybernet will also be building Pakistan’s first carrier-neutral cable landing station for PEACE cable by March 2020 in Karachi.

Cybernet Pakistan CEO Danish Lakhani, while addressing a ceremony in this regard said that the submarine cable system would have an "outsized impact on the digital landscape in Pakistan".

"With its ultra-low latency design, the cable will cut down transit time between Pakistan and France to under 90 milliseconds — dramatically improving the response time of internet-based applications and the experience of our users," he explained.

"The cable will also bolster the redundancy of our country’s connectivity to the rest of world," the CEO added.

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