State of Broadband Internet in Pakistan : Overview

Internet Service Providers in Pakistan are offering wide range of Broadband technologies, such as DSL, Cable, FTTH and WiMAX. Currently, DSL is the leading broadband technology in Pakistan with approx 65 percent market share, while major DSL providers in Pakistan are Micronet, LinkdotNet, Cybernet, Multinet and PTCL.

HFC (Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial) is the second largest broadband technology in terms of market share. Approximately, 25 percent of total broadband subscribers in Pakistan use FHC technology. Worldcall happens to be the largest cable modem broadband provider in Pakistan through the use of FHC network in Karachi and Lahore; along with comes Wateen Telecom which is also providing broadband using FHC. Competition in DSL market is easily seen, while the core retention element is the service and support.

Use of FTTH and WiMAX has increased, though not with the same ratio as in developed countries, but emergence and benefits of services such as IPTV is pulling customers towards FTTH. There are around 2800 FTTH and 20,000 WiMAX subscribers in Pakistan. Wateen Telecom and recently launched Mobilink Infinity are two WiMAX providers in the country. However, due to first of its kind experience of WiMAX technology, service issues are being reported.

Beyond WiMAX Worldcall’s EVDO services are recently introduced in Karachi; that are gaining some momentum. It is also told that PTCL is also nearing its EVDO launch in main cities of Pakistan.

At the end of July 2008, there were total of 170,000 broadband subscribers in the country, showing 150 percent increase in subscribers when compared with stats in July 2007. Despite this growth, Pakistan still lags behind in overall number of broadband subscribers, range of broadband services and investment in next-generation broadband technologies.

With (PTCL’s) wired and network capacity of about 5.5 million subscribers, it is foreseen that DSL may not cater the future broadband requirements of the country. This leaves a huge investment potential in Fiber and wireless broadband access technologies.

In such a scenario, expansion and up-gradation of infrastructure is required so that operators can deploy Next Generation Networks using Internet Protocol (IP). This will also trigger investment opportunities for the backhaul and Local Loop Infrastructure providers.

A significant reduction in broadband service cost has been observed in Pakistan, with per month subscription rate for 512 KB unlimited DSL is reduced from US $ 55 to US $ 16.

Not: Fact and Figures are from PTA’s 2007/08 Annual Report

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK