Pakistan Telecom industry is already on its toes to welcome next generation cellular networks in the country. The activity has been high and high-ups of cellular industry are working non-stop to plan and figure out the propositions for acquiring and then deploying 3G networks.
3G, which according to de-regulation policy, was likely to get auctioned around 2008, however that didn’t happen for various reason. But now it appears that all the stakeholders are willing to get the next-gen networks to get rolling.
When 3G Networks Can go Live?
If we assume that all schedules will be met, and all the elements that involve license auctioning will go smoothly then it is highly likely that 3G spectrum auction is going to happen around March 2014.
Almost every cellular operator in Pakistan is 3G ready and all they require is some software and firmware update along with few modifications in the core-network to get things going.
After getting the licenses, cellular operators can get 3G networks live with-in one month in select areas of three major cities. However, it may take up to six months to make 3G network work in rest of few major cities of the country.
With-in one year of acquiring 3G licenses, at least 10 cities can expect 3G network, however, the speed of getting 3G service will depend a lot on the auction price. For instance if 3G license price is set high then operators will invest less or slow on network upgrade and vice versa.
What to Expect from 3G?
3G networks will entirely change our lives. There is a lot that will get impacted with the emergence of 3G ranging from our lifestyles to the national economy.
Estimates suggest that number of broadband subscribers will increase from current 2.9 million to around 17-19 million during the first three years of deployment.
On day one of 3G networks, customers are going to get 2Mbps wireless broadband with various pricing patterns. It is likely that there will be capped bundles with various speeds on the offering.
Pricing structure is still hard to predict – as it will depend a lot on then market situation, license pricing and the competition – however we can hint you that 1Mbps wireless broadband with around 20 GBs data limit will cost you around Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 2,000 per month.
Video calling will be another facility to enjoy right after 3G, which is likely to be priced at around Rs. 5 per minute or so.
Pakistan’s cut-throat pricing competition is popular but it has started to disappear, especially during the last year. While we anticipate that 3G services will be affordable but don’t expect them to go as cheap as SMS bundles of current times.