What's Better: 3G, no 3G or 4G?

No doubt, “TMT”, Technology, Media and Telecommunications will be a next BIG thing in the world and it is now not so far to expect that in every part of the world, maximum percentage of the people will be dependent to “TMT”.

Technology is evolving day by day; From TV’s to IPTV, Internet TV and now 3D TV and highly innovative mobile phones like Apple IPhone and Google Nexus Android are the examples of technology evolvement in last 2 years.

From Dialups to Broadband and now Fiber to the home and 4G / LTE mobile networks, People are getting used to high Data speeds and usage of DATA and information Accessibility is much in trend these days.

While reading news that India is going to launch bidding for 3G services soon like there are rumors that it will be in March or April, 2010. There is another neighboring country, Bangladesh planning to auction 3G this year.

I started a discussion with my friend about 3G services in Pakistan and its usage and especially it’s “SUCCESSION RATE” in the Pakistan. Because launching services for the sake of launching and global market equilibrium will definitely not worth it – if this service does not give a return.

PTA is looking in to matter of 3G services bidding that is for sure, as it is also stated in PTA’s recent annual report. PTA states that 3G as fuel for increasing ARPU.  Let us look by segmenting different topics on 3G services in Pakistan.

First alarming question that came into mind is that should Pakistan go for 3G networks or beyond it, by beyond I mean 4G, E-Edge?

    I will present you the facts you can draw your answers and can post and discuss in comments as well:


    • Mobile market is penetrated to 58%
    • Subscribers have reached 97 million figures, expected to be 100 Million soon.
    • ARPU’s are low because of excessive usage of Voice services
    • Local content for using mobile broadband like 3G is not as such available.
    • 3G will require huge imports for equipments infrastructure and can result in devalue of a Rupee.
    • New generation mobile phones like Apple IPHONE, Google Android, Windows mobile etc, are available in Pakistan.
    • Usage of new generation phones in masses.
    • DSL broadband has market share of 64% out of total broadband – Out of 413,809 total subscribers DSL has 262,661 subscribers.
    • There are only 2 Mobile TV’s available  i.e. Telenor & Mobilink

    Prospects: How Useful 3G Services could be?

    • Advertisement pushing services on mobile in form of MMS or video clips.
    • Mobile TV
    • Mobile broadband
    • Revenue opportunity for Mobile handset market whole-sellers, retailers.
    • High mobility for professionals, dependent on the 3G network coverage and deployment.
    • Local content development opportunities.
    • High stream Video telephony
    • More competitive rates to subscribers

    And list goes on!!!

    Will 3G deployment create opportunities?

    • More Jobs, but mobile operators will prefer to hire internal resources on the same projects, because this is just an upgrade to technology and will not require much resource.
    • Opportunities for Telecom and IT vendors.
    • Customer service Outsourcing could also be in consideration of mobile operators, so it will outsourcing industry.
    • Mobile handsets selling & buying opportunities
    • High ARPU’s
    • More mobile subscribers

    What could be in Danger?

    • Demand shift: Some mobile handsets may get obsolete and this could be also possible some old handsets with 3G feature may become expensive.
    • After a while of 3G services launched, DSL Broadband service providers could be in danger because of mobile broadband. But let’s see what time has to say about it.

    3G vs 4G

    Technology 3G 4G
    Frequency band 1.8 – 2.5GHz 2 – 8GHz
    Bandwidth 5-20MHz 5-20MHz
    Data rate Up to 2Mbps 100Mbps moving – 1Gbps stationary
    FEC Turbo-codes Concatenated codes
    Switching Circuit/Packet Packet

    As an end user, I was more keen about speed, and 2 Mbps seems more than perfect to me – with 3G. However, 100 Mbps or even 1 Gbps could be heaven, but this looks unreal to me, at least in Pakistan for next 4/5 years.

    It is debatable, if we should wait for next few years to get 100 Mbps or we should be contented with 2 Mbps for time being.


    3G services will definitely add value to mobile user experience. But with that PTA has to make sure that 3G services’ availability and accessibility must be deployed at masses and must ensure some best key performance indicators for the evaluation of 3G speed variability.

    With that local content developers have great opportunity to earn much revenue from. Even though we have not seen much local WAP portals or mobile sites that could offer local content even on 2.5G mobile networks.

    With this PTA also needs to ensure the market equilibrium by launching these services, which may be affected in future.

    3G articles from ProPakistani Archieves

    • When 3G will be launched?

      • milkywayer

        we’re already in the 3.5G phase with Wimax. IF the users are going to demand better services, it should be 4G, NOT 3G. because imaging the local n00b companies (and the incapable emploeyees) managing to launching 3G in a year, then taking care of issues for the next 2,3 years to make it usable), then we’ll still be hanging on to 3G in 2015.

        Ask for 4G, thats what we need. if we’re already too late for 3G, and other countries are jumping to 4G and allowing users to enjoy CURRENT/up-to-date speeds, then why cant we jump to 4G, since it’ll be the same as embracing new technology for 3G.

        4G all the way if the companies are going to do it.
        and trust me, if they don’t, there’s alot of competition, these Cellular companies will be sticking to their voice calls only for the next decade if they don’t act fast because some other player will come and launch 4G before them.

        The sad thing is, these cellular companies are run by monkeys who spend more on marketing and less on proper services or customer care, so it’ll be a while before they recognize they’re wasting on on an an opportunity this big.

        For now, i’m happy with my 2mbps dsl also, but in 2,3 years, i’ll be demanding more, like thousands of other dsl users.



    • Umer khan

      In past two companies Mobilink and Telenor were offering mobile tv,but now Telenor has discontinued mobile tv and now only Mobilink is offering mobile tv.

    • Hammad

      Well i thnk its better to wait 2 or may be 3 years n get 4G if ths is possible.From what i hav come to kno 3G is not cost effective at all.

    • Muhammad Tayyab

      You should now that in every part of world. 3G network has been launched. And in Pakistan there is no such things at all. By the way our networks are again moving into the monopolistic competition. That is worst…

    • Altaf

      Let’s see if we get 3G in our country. Then we can think about 4G.

      The world is already talking about 4.5G!

    • Tee Emm has got a different viewpoint, he says “In PK, the best G is Yes Sir G” lol


    • A.R.S.

      3g is better caz the accessibility of 4g through mobile is not possible yet and those mobiles cost a fortune so it’s better to go for 3g it’s already too late now they should have launched it by now

    • Mohammad Naseer

      3G .. Max data rate is 2Mbps… ?? please check again, it should be 21Mbps and with MIMO 28 – 42 Mbps

    • imrankhan

      i Think world biggest network of 4G is present in pakistan in form of WiMax.
      WiMax is actually a 4G Technology

    • ardisher

      Guys, get rational here, only .05 percent of the total telecom subscriber base is the user of internet in comparison, how can a company invest 500 million dollors in return for nothing
      we should just wish to have 10mbs speed in DSL for the time & let Wi-Max succeed

      • milkywayer

        user base is developed once a service is offered. if the cellular companies offer broadband at the same prices as dsl companies, users will defly switch becuase mobile internet is more attractive for obvious reasons.

        now sitting and doing nothing waiting for users to become in thousands and then offering a product is not a good business practice. see how the mobile usage boomed when the prices were lowered.

        its about offering affordable good products that users increase

    • 3G at 2Mbps? I thought PTA’s license would cover technologies up to HSPA+ with theoretical speeds up to 56Mbps?

      In fact HSPA+ could even go as high as 168Mbps using multiple carrier channels.

    • Jessica Magert

      What is the reason for delay in implementing 3G and 4G Mobile services?

    • Arif Kamawi

      Lets say that some countries, like India and Bangladesh would have this 3G network in the near future (until June) and in Pakistan it wouldn’t be available still, and we would have to wait for about 5 years. Then why not we should have this 3G network here as well. Like the old sayings (Nwo 9 Naqd na Terah 13 Odhar). We have to go forward step by step…

    • Eshban Bahadur

      After the launch of 4G in other countries, 3G becomes available in Pakistan.

    • Abdul Wahab

      Lets be honest here, shall we, top of the market phones, iphone (6 months old) and nexus one(few weeks old), both have hardware for 3g, no 4g or anyother stuff better than 3g, consider the life of a phone a user would like to keep, let be very modest here 2 years(sounds fair), so if you dont get 3g right now and if we have top of the market phone, what we gonna do for next two years, come on give us the already so late 3g, and please for God sake lower the price of mobile internet, I would only pay for like Rs 100 for 500MB, and thats even for low end users. and last,,, kick the etisalat out of Pakistan, bloodly good for no sucker arabs are sucking blood and making roadblocks for us, its not UAE who will get laying down from you, so get the f out of here.

    • Zulkifl

      I think the main reason for 3G technology not being made available yet is its huge deployment cost as compared to its potential subscriber base.

      The country where more than 50% (lets say, frankly I think its more than 50%) of subscribers only knows how to make or receive a call/sms shatters the vision of company that these advanced technologies can be a success at large scale.
      Well, in my opinion, there can be a limited launch, as in for major cities and later on the services can be expanded depending on the success/failure of these services. But launch on massive scale, I dun see it in near future.

      To be realistic, revenue is always the first priority of the company, companies give a damn to new technologies if the prospects are not bright that they get more than they invest, specially in such economic conditions where inflation is already making the companies sweat.

      Here, one more point, SMS is a success in our country because the trend was developed. Likewise if the trend for the usage of data services is developed, only then there could be a great chance that new technologies be deployed soon, otherwise we have to wait until someone like PTA issue orders to deploy these technologies :)…In my opinion telcos are not willing to do so in near future unless they envision the potential target market for these services (the educated users willing to use these services out of the whole subscriber base)

      In person I wud love go for latest technology :)
      The future is of data services there is no doubt about this, global trend is the indicator, but local market will take its time catch up!