Cellcos’ Price-War and a Compromise on Quality and Innovation

Quest-Kung-Fu-1286260532As another week commences, so does the barrage of advertisements from all of Pakistan’s cellcos, adamant on grabbing as many clueless subscribers as possible.

Ufone letting its usual suspects run around some city in an attempt to downplay other networks, Mobilink producing some Jazzy tunes to let everyone know that they still dominate, Telenor jingling away showing the flexibility of their product portfolio, Warid parading a beautiful model to explain some great offering which most of us forget to listen to as we were too mesmerized by the visuals, and Zong grasping at its target market of low income for dear life with offers of anything and everything that can be free.

With so much to digest, what does the consumer actually end up gaining?

Well, we can now link ads with companies within the first few seconds of it appearing; thank you Ufone and Telenor for keeping it consistent. However, while many rejoice at the seemingly low rates that are being constantly revived, for the pre-paid segment predominantly, it takes deeper analysis to see that all this run-around is definitely not the ideal option for Pakistan’s cellular market.

From 45 paisas every 30 seconds to 30 paisas every 20 seconds; we are spoiled for choice. But in reality, this war is all in the name of numbers; subscriber numbers, that is.

Every push made by Pakistan’s cellular company is done to increase those stats prior to the end of a quarter, in a bid to inflate the users on the network. This assists in additional revenue and helps project a healthier image of the company when results are reported.

Anyone thought about measuring quality?

While the PTA performs random checks on each cellular network, very few consumers undertake any deep analysis of the quality of service that will be offered by a company prior to subscribing. Yes, opinions are voiced. But over 70% of subscribers make their choice simply due to pricing they have seen or been advised of. After all, if I say that Cadburys is good quality but you get three Dodo bars for the same price, the masses will choose the latter. That’s the tested fact.

And the cellular companies in Pakistan know that. The level of innovation in the industry is equivalent to the evolution of man from a single-cell organism. Which consumer group is actually demanding it? How many of us would stand behind the company which proclaims to charge more than the others, but offer a guaranteed service quality irrespective of location?

Of course, this trend could be linked to our poverty levels and the importance of getting as much out of your money as possible. But seriously, if poverty was such an issue, where are the stated ‘100 million’ subscribers getting the billions of rupees to continue topping-up their phones? We are prepared to pay Rs.100 for a scratch card that ends up giving Rs.70 of credit, and then pay more for the gimmicky weekly offers.

India’s launching 3G, the West is moving towards 4G and Japan and Korea are so far ahead, the rest of world just gawks with amazement. The reason for these transformations is the strong consumer sense that prevails in those markets; people want quality and value, and this pushes the cellular companies to innovate rapidly in order to compete effectively.

My message to all you subscribers is to simplify. Sit down and calculate what you spend for your mobile service and the quality received. Is it worth it? If not, step up and let your voice be heard. If so, let everyone know.

So, the next time you are watching the ‘U’ team on TV or being emotionally connected to the ‘Apna Hai’ shout; take some time to make sense out of it all. Then send a message to the cellular network letting them know that you are no longer buying scrap.


  • Ashhar

    Dear Propakistan

    I beg you pardon please rename your page to propakistaniadvertisement.pk

  • Ashhar

    There are some manners to put addviretisement. Nichay oper dai bhaai har jaga add .. ye koi tarikay kaar hai ?

  • shad0w

    These offers are all BullCrap, it’s high time we got affordable and speedy mobile internet! I hate it when there’s an ad on about the offer on mobile internet!

  • Faran

    Very good post. Loved the opinion. so strongly agree with the author.

  • Munaeem

    Good post by the writer.

  • ahsan

    “u jokers” eh ? you look like a pissed off jazz customer :P lol anyway amir bhai you never announced the new author’s names :S

  • Kashif

    This crap war is useless, as everybody’s imposing daily charges. If u calculate these charges, u’l endup spending more than u need. Im talking about average users, not the freaks. Ufone has become the filthiest in this war, degrading network quality, imposing daily charges, charged delivery reports, no economical package for 30 or 20 sec. Bachat offer is crap wid rs. 3.75 daily +tax, weekly sms pack not provided to all… Voice quality sux even in i 10 islamabad. Yet ufone is wasting money on exaggerated ads, claiming to be best. My foot!

  • amir

    YR PLE KHUD TO ADD DALNE KI TAMEZ SEKH LO DOSRO KO BAD MA JOKERZ YA APNA HAI KA TANA DENA….

  • Ansari

    What a rant! I mean what are you going on about? Do you actually have stats to prove the network quality degradation?? And please dont blame the telco’s for the price wars, it us consumers who dial the helpline and cry about everything being to expensive or how everything should some how be free!

    PTA itself has a pretty strict check on the networks and not to mention the fact that they get stats of complaints logged at any operator to monitor the network quality.

    Funny you mentioned 3g and 4g here regardless of where it is, bottom line is, out of the near 100 million who use cell phones in this country, hardly 5% own handsets that actually support 3G. Infact the most used handset on any network is the Nokia 1100, which contitues about 35% on all networks. The countries you compare have nothing in common in terms of consumer type, need, demographics or economics.

    Ranting is good if you do it with stats, otherwise its just something you are crying about because you cant fix it.

    • ahsan

      so a rant because of a rant is alright? lol either way the author wont bother either reading your comment or responding that’s something I’ve learned over the years here :P so save you breath mate =)

      • Ansari

        he wudnt reply coz he has already ended his rant…. but at least someone took notice……..

  • Someone has commented that ProPakistnai.pk is doing just advertisement. I would say they are doing a very good job. Because they bring all latest news and information to us that are happening in Pakistan.

  • amir

    I TOTALY AGREE WITH U @ANSARI ITS THE CONSUMER WHO CRIES FOR CHEAPER RATES IF THE AURTHOR HAD THE DATA OF CUSTOMER LOGGED SUGGETIONS HE WUDNT HAD SAID THIS….CELCOS KIA KAREN AUR ROTI SE SASTI CAL KR DI HA AB AUR KIA CHEA ITNE SASTAY MA ITNE QUALTIY B PATA NE KSE MIL REHA…..WE R A NATION WHO EXCEL IN CRITICISM ONLY….

  • Ali

    A very good post seriously, consumerism is missing in our society and we are to blame ourselves only.

    As far as placing ad is concerned on propakistani website, yeh it seems an overdose. Commercialism is good but greed is not appreciated.

  • LOL :) As long as these advertisements on ProPakistani are bearing the costs of running this website and providing me with free information… I don’t give a hoot… nobody should,…. less anybody is willing to pay subscription fees to ProPakistani.