WiMAX Industry Gets Foggy For Further Investments

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Ever since the WiMAX industry saw its first commercial roll-out courtesy of Wateen, which was arguably the biggest commercial WiMAX network in the world, it has not enjoyed the glory the investors may had anticipated. Situation is not different for other WiMAX operators too, though they are making some money but balance sheets are not that catchy.

Reason is: We, as Pakistanis, are not used to pay for data services – probably because paying for data services is a secondary stage that comes after the primary understanding of what data services actually are.

When Mobilink launched its WiMAX services under the marquee ‘Mobilink Infinity’, it was termed as the 10th best launch by the WiMAX Forum. Quite an achievement, right? To me, on the other hand, it appeared like a cart about to sail down a steep unobstructed path straight into the slums because:

  • Common users did not have a hint of what WiMAX is; they did not care and they should not have cared too!
  • To a good educated majority it seemed to be as just another internet connection able enough to take them to their Yahoo inboxes
  • Our marketing was as un-educating as anything you might think of

This argument is valid for Qubee too. Along with WiMAX providers other broadband operators kept venturing in, for instance PTCL released its EVO connections, and the market grew tougher. It became gruesome for the operators to strive for their share of customers and survive the brutality.

Mobilink perhaps did not try getting serious with the situation; it did not look ready to give Infinity a refresher. Things worsen so much that the sales and operations staff had to rely on door-to-door sales services to register few bits on the work sheets.

Those working in Infinity’s teams are worried for their future; for the future of WiMAX; for the return of time and energy they have put in thus far. We have heard that WiMAX arm of Mobilink is certainly not doing well financially, and it is evident from its long awaited spread out in Lahore and Islamabad – which is yet to happen. The parents (Orascom) are a little offhanded about their child and are reluctant to float in some cash for obvious reasons.

Industry, as a whole, has started to show some sort of a shape:

  • Wi-tribe rising above all as the most rigorous – if not efficient – service provider in terms of its customer support and problem resolution services. Though limited data packages remain their biggest constraint when compared to Wateen.
  • PTCL cashing its status of a blind king and utilized its deployed network, established lines and age old customers to grasp a decent figure of subscribers
  • Abundance of managerial issues, financial mishaps and having more than one core product, Wateen never managed to shine the way it could have
  • Qubee trying to expand
  • Mobilink Infinity…waiting for the right time

Broadband industry is perhaps waiting for that alleged data boom in the country and all shareholders are saving their money for that time.

One may argue that regulatory bodies as well as service operators should have been more pragmatic on their marketing, educational and sales fronts rather than deducing their bits of satisfaction by registering the country as the first good-for-nothing WiMAX hub.


  • Ahmed

    Qubee got expensive. 4000Rs upfront for a 1MB connection now. I dont know what kind of target market qubee has since for that one could go for EVO or other options. But then wi-tribe and qubee are the only two which can be seen in the market today. Wateen is almost non-existent when it comes to adverts or anything new.

  • WATEEN is quit better then PTCL or Qubee but today we need the high speed internet like 6 or 8mb in cheap rates like 3 to 4k but no one offer 1.5mb,s abov.

  • dstar101

    i am using wateen 1mb unlimited download wimax, it’s quite good but sometimes they limit torrent download speed to 15kbps which kinda sucks.it would be better if they offered 2mb without torrent throtling

  • kashif

    i think real problem is their tarrif, my friend in london using 30MB brodband speed with TV and some phone line bundle kind of thing in 20 british pounds that makes about 2700 rupees a month and what we are paying…?

    10MB = 10000 rupees

    in pakistan students cant afford too much money (like 1700 rupees for only 1mb connection), see why not just add 3 hunder more and get 4mb connection in 2000 rupees.

    if they can offer 1mb in like 500 rupees then u ll see wimax everywhere in pakistan.

    • Samz

      I agree with kashif.

      Customer support and pricing issues are main hurdles

  • Sumair

    anyone knows when Infinity is coming to Lahore and Islamabad???

  • billabadmash

    The big issue why wimax is flop is tarrif and lack of technical support and capped connections wimax data rate should be higer then 5mb to cath people attention but they are offering 1m or little higher for pathetic prices so i dont see a good future of wimax they should milk the cow rather than go kill and enjoy just once time meat :(

  • Smarty boy

    The blind king rulez with a lion’s share and high arpu bb subs…more 750,000 subs (DSL + EVO) and still galloping…

    • F

      Yeah Blind King (PTCL) Rocks…..using 4MB landline DSL plus 3.1 MB EVO :D

  • M A Hameed

    WiMAX operators have committed the same blunder that their predecessors did (using phone lines). Both have focused on providing Internet service, which becomes a commodity soon. The money is in Internet-based services, which are waiting to be started. One wonders why the bright minds managing WiMAX operators have not been able to find ways of making money.
    Great opportunities are available to make WiMAX a source for great prosperity if only minds are open and there is willingness to follow unconventional ways. Treading the beaten path does not lead to success.

  • If wimax is not internet, then what is wimax.
    As far as I know it is a protocol better than WiFi.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WiMAX

    You did not mention what you assume wimax to be.

    Also by being something else, what does it deliver to the customers that the customers are wanting now due to which they shall consider buying it.

    There is a mobile wimax. If there is a restriction on that from the PTA and the consumer depends on that protocol then PTA has again restricted technology against their mandate to work for the consumer.

    Please email me if PTA is restricting wimax mobile against the consumer.

    Regards,

    Khawar