When and What to Expect from 3G?


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.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK

  • In my opinion after 3G rollout initially Cellular operators will be targeting wimax broadband customers as they are low hanging fruits to straight away capitalise. So very tough time ahead for all wimax operators.
    Also with strong OTT penetration, it would not be possible for CMOs to charge Rs 5 per minute for video calls in fact they will lose their current revenue from voice and sms services after 3G. So its a double edge sword for telecom operators.

    • Hi Ejaz i beg to differ with you as you said its double edge sword for telecom operators, i guess you didnt focus on how many ppl are using currently GPRS, MMS and vedio call service which is only 1.6 million are using currently these services. But after the launch of 3G and all other ecomerce business evolution when Banks bring on net banking, and other companies launch their apps for shopping and all other things which going to generate a Eco System and it is estimated within 1 year we will have areon 16 to 17 million users using 3G and imagine the revenue currently with 1.6 Million compare to Revenue After 3G of 16 to 17 million users you cannot grab that in numbers.Be patience and see how it will evolve.

    • Well, the companies are investing money initially for the license etc so they will charge for it. Rs.1000/GB is not bad when you look at other “developed” countries where you have to shell out >$20 for a gig of 3g/4g data.

      When it is live if people can afford it then good for them, if they can’t stick to Edge. It is a luxury not a necessity.

  • “There is a lot that will get impacted with the emergence of 3G ranging from our lifestyles to the national economy.”

    How 3G will impact the national economy.

    • I think it needs to be a very public oriented copetition controling authority that should look into if mobile operatore are getting together to foolöd the public with prices hike.

  • As it was to be rolled out originally in 2008 , the Operators have been working on making the BTS ready. My friend who was working on the upgradation process was in my remote village in KPK to put on necessary stuff to make their BTS in there ready for 3G , so the coverage will be good , and it will not take much time to reach you. When 3G comes , i hope PTCL will stop flying and come back to earth on improving their service and customer support , because it will be a huge blow for them.we have better bandwidth then BD so pricess will be competetive too hopefull.y

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  • Well i think it I’ll not going to work in Pakistan because first they have to give full awareness of 3g network then implement that because people think that it is quite expensive and they will prefer other networks………

  • Btw, isn’t it time for 4G planning at least? 3G is already too late, but welcome.
    On the other hand, how one can expect rise in broadband customers’ number unless the prices are cheap enough to make a common man with an old desktop PC buy a broadband connection?

  • @Admin my question is, When youtube will available in Pakistan.
    on Tuesday 20th Jan, the youtube starts opening on my PC, im surprised i also checked it on Android, it was working. and i use it for several hours until electric loadshedding. I had a PTCL-BB

  • Pakistani people do not need 3G, they need some other required things for living e.g. jobs, homes, security, electricty, cheap foods etc.

    • 300Mbps LTE-A isn’t even available in USA or UK. Yeah, shame on the govt. to not have something even the US can’t.

  • The writer is not aware of correct situation of the cellular industry. Currently, only Telenor (100%), & Mobilink (25% & rapidly expanding) have 3G network ready. Rest of the companies have to invest million of rupees in the expansion and up-gradation of their networks to 3G, even for hotspots.

    Telenor & Mobilink just have to switch on where ever they found it feasible on the day (if they succeed in auction).

    Another blooper by our beloved writer is that Speed of 3G is depending on Auction. Speed has nothing to do with the Bid price as Telenor and Mobilink has already invested in Network without knowing the final auction price. Now if we agree to writer than what they do if price go higher than their expectations????

    Speed will depend on the standard set by PTA and than applying them in proper zeal. as currently PTA is not working properly so most of the networks have pathetic services.

    Yes, Price will be high till the time other operators get their network up & running.

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