Predicting Customers' Loyalty Based on Network Quality

I will not roll back the history and the details of how the Telecom industry of Pakistan reached here; instead I will directly state that today we have a state of (semi) saturated cellular market, intense price war amongst operators, very tough economic situation and above all consistently depreciating value of Pakistan Rupees.

If we keep all these things in mind, you will agree on following points

  • More investment (for network expansion) is one of the toughest decision that stakeholders will make
  • Operators can’t further lower their tariffs
  • Operators want to cut every possible operating expenses
  • Operator wants more customers
  • And they want to retain their existing customers.

If all this is true, then how to achieve last element discussed in above equation, how to actually incentivize the customer to remain loyal. This is the question today in the minds of Telecom bosses.

As experts opine, this state of market arrived little early, and they say that other (non-industry) factors (including global recession) coupled with the amount of telecom consumers in the country, actually helped this happen and resultantly strategists are more of concerned about retaining the customers instead of bringing new ones.

Everyone knows that in order to retain a customer you need to provide quality after sale support and services. If we focus telecom industry, we can precisely state that Network Quality and support is all you need to retain your customer.

Based on following inputs, we will try to present you a picture of network quality of Pakistan Operators

  • Market trends
  • Hundreds of emails that ProPakistani receives
  • Experts’ opinion
  • And the Surveys and Polls that ProPakistani conduct on regular basis.
  • (Alas we don’t have regulators QoS Survey reports here to quote)


Zong launched its service all over Pakistan in April 2008. Earlier on, we assumed that they inherited ordinary network which was under consistent up gradation since China Mobile acquired Pakstel, but even after 15 months quality of Zong’s network has not reached up to the standard.

We know that Paktel’s GSM network was rolled out by ZTE, however, latter contracts were granted to Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent. So when we talk about technologies, Zong has the benefit of experiencing both European and Chinese vendors.

It is said that complaints, largely coming from central and south regions are more of maintenance flaws instead of network equipment constraints. It is believed (by network experts) that network engineers (from RF) are responsible for significant number of downtime of cell sites, lack of statistical data keeping, planning, and optimization of network and its utilization.

Voice quality, network congestion, signals issues or not signals at all, and similar concerns are what bothering Zong customers despite the best tariff available.


Comparatively, despite weak marketing of its brand, Warid has the best network quality amongst all the mobile phone operators and due to this its customers remain loyal with the brand.

Warid didn’t spread its arms to larger amount of areas, but they did well wherever they went. And look at the charts, they are doing well in sales despite very little marketing or let’s say no marketing at all (when compared to other operators).


Ufone is doing well in urban areas, however, reports from rural areas are not good, especially in peak consumption hours. They have well recovered from a very intense situation and over network is returning back to its optimum state.


The largest cellular operator, Mobilink is offering best tariffs now. In the recent past customers had started switching from the Jazz brand due to very high tariffs but after the recent revision in tariffs by the company, the churn rate has dropped notably. However, the quality of service of Mobilink is still not up to the required standards.

Call Echo is the most reported complaint from Mobilink customers.


Telenor Pakistan is apparently working more on spreading its coverage. Their quality of service is actually not backing company’s claims. Not as much as Zong, but Telenor has got issues with its network.

We have reports of day long down times, inconsistent signals and call connectivity issues.


Now if we recall recent Net Addition in subscribers of cellular companies, we will know that Mobilink has regained its lost momentum, while Zong is flowing down the bottom in last two months.

As stated above, Mobilink has started getting new customers, while it managed to retain old customers due to better rates, while on the other hands – Zong has started loosing customers due to ordinary services despite best rates.

This actually proves that customers who are experiencing bad services won’t bother to remain with an operator; because they have 4 other telecom companies and at least 26 prepaid packages to choose from.

The alarm for cellular operators that experts are buzzing is to focus on network quality, and retain what you have got – that’s the next business plan of Paksitan Telecom industry.

On a side note, isn’t this PTA’s responsibility to keep an eye on network quality of cellular operators? Do you remember when last publicly available QoS survey was conducted? Answer in comments to qualify for an exclusive dinner with Katrina Kaif.

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

  • the customer wants the QoS much more then the tariffs.n the network operators should focus on their service..the above points only show that the network service got more customers who provided the best service and the wider network of its services..

  • Warid the best network if some have n’t used warid in PK sorry to say he has no idea of quality of service, the best network iz warid in PK

  • Currently, i’m using Telenor & I think Telenor is the worst provider amongst all. sab se pehle Balance inquiries ko restrict kia, phir sab se pehle help line pe charges deduct kerne start kiye, phir sab se pehle balance inquiries pe charges impose kerne ka shosha chhora, & i m more than 100% sure k jitna network Telenor ka gande hai utna tu ufone ka bhi nahin hai, msgs ki delivery reports bhi band ker di hain & trust me raat ko msgs deliver hi nahin hote, main sirf 3 months complete hone ka wait ker raha hon & phir Mobilink mai wapis chala jaon ga.

    • “sab se pehle help line pe charges deduct kerne start kiye
      msgs ki delivery reports bhi band ker di hain ”

      i m not with u on these points as ufone was the first to impose these disgusting methods

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  • No doubt warid rocks! no operator comes close to service provided by them.
    U dont have to wait for 3 months its 2 months for MNP.

  • No doubt warid is best in quality terms but have worst custome care. Mobilink, Ufone, telenor are than in line in terms of quality but if we have a look upon 2008 than its obvious that zong has done really well yet a long way to go for zong.

  • You see you cannot single out any network. Wireless network can never be 100%. There are call drops low coverage areas congestions even in Britain even if you take vodafone or orange for example.
    Its very easy to criticize the network quality but you need to understand the short falls of each company.
    Lets start off with warid, it seems he has very minimal knowledge. Warid is only strong in Lahore not where ever they went. However, i must agree they had a proper plan and they backed on that plan to capture urban areas. Karachi and other metro cities they dont do as good leave aside rural areas where they dont have any presence.
    Telenor, Telenor is the best company in terms of taking care of its employees, they were focused came in pakistan with a target to capture rural areas and they have successfully manged to do so but they do have their shortfalls. i.e. heavily relying on vendor to do their job which has caused great problems with the operator. Telenor is strong in rural areas but urban cities.
    Ufone: Ufone has major network issues but due to their amazing advertizing they have managed to get a lot of customers even with those network issues. Ufone is good in Rawalpindi and Islamabad not as much in rural.
    Mobilink: Giants, over a decade in the business. Well to some using mobilink is a mindset, its a status symbol now, all operators are busy fighting paisa war but they still have loyal customers, people have used mobilink for the past 10 years dont really want to change to other networks. For mobilink if you look at the stats more churn is happening after MNP as many customers wanted to keep the same number.
    Zong: Zong, following is what people associate with Zong great rates, awful advertising, problematic network.
    i believe its a great achievement for zong to be even compared with all other operators they have been in the market for more than 5 years atleast and within 1.5 years they have managed to leave a mark. Telenor did launch after launch to get where they are now.I have great love for Pak china friendship and i am very optimistic that they are here to stay!

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