The WiMAX Forum, the global body that certifies and promotes the compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless products, hosted the South Asia Conference 2012 at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan.
The event was held under the patronage of the country’s regulatory body, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, and co-organized by Wateen Telecom.
It brought together over 100 professionals from government organizations, telecom operators, equipment manufacturers, solution providers, media and other ICT related industries, who had travelled from across the region to attend the conference.
The aim of the conference was to create awareness about how WiMAX is a cost-efficient, sustainable and easily scalable solution for broadband distribution. It can help improve the country’s economy by helping industries such as electricity, aviation, oil & gas, agriculture, healthcare amongst others in becoming more efficient, transparent and vertical through its various applications. For instance, WiMAX can help resolve Pakistan’s electricity crisis through smart grid applications, through efficient and secure electricity distribution.
“WiMAX technology has achieved a penetration rate of 50% of all broadband connections in urban centers in Pakistan. This success of the technology is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. I am delighted to come to Pakistan and look forward to returning to continue supporting the success of WiMax operators in the country,” Mr Declan Byrne, President of the WiMAX Forum, stated in his welcome address to representatives from across the globe.
The Conference included speakers from AWB, Purewave, Airspan, Fanoos Telecom, Gemtek Technology and Banglalion among others, who discussed various go-to-market strategies, planning considerations and applications for WiMAX operators. Alepo, a leading provider of WiMAX solutions shared how broadband and mobile networks can collaborate for better provisioning of data services for consumers.
Pakistan has four WiMAX operators in the country, namely Wateen, Qubee, Mobilink Infinity and Wi-Tribe who account for around 29% of the total broadband market share. Consumers in the country are showing their preference for wireless broadband, which offers a lucrative untapped broadband market.
Pakistan is the first country in the world to have rolled out a nationwide WiMAX network, established by Wateen Telecom, making the country a perfect setting for the WiMAX community to host it’s South-Asia Conference.
Chairman PTA, Dr Mohammed Yaseen, shared his vision for the country’s broadband policy in enabling the country’s economic and social needs, spoke to the delegates present at the conference. “The PTA is thankful to the WiMAX Forum for bringing together industry leaders from the region to discuss vital issues such as exploring different go-to-market strategies and applications to make investments by the telecom investors in the country profitable. Pakistan has a huge untapped market with only 7% of households having subscribed to broadband internet. The fixed market space is virtually untapped and future potential for growth is immense for broadband operators,” said Dr Yaseen.
Speaking about Wateen’s commitment to WiMAX, Naeem Zamindar, CEO Wateen Telecom, said,”Wateen Telecom is focused on proliferating broadband internet in Pakistan and we are firmly committed to the idea that WiMAX can change every aspect of life in Pakistan for the better. Being one of the pioneers for the technology in the world, Wateen believes WiMAX is the solution of choice for emerging countries and can leapfrog Pakistan to progress.” Naeem Zamindar has the honour of being the first Pakistani to join the Board of Directors of the WiMAX Forum.