Warid Telecom is seeking its chance to deploy 4G LTE network for high-speed broadband with its existing license and spectrum from 1800Mhz band that it had bought in 2004, we have confirmed with sources.
Despite the fact that the spectrum allocated to Warid (in 1800Mhz band) might not be sufficient enough for parallel and smooth quality of service for mobile broadband, Warid has decided to go with 4G LTE deployments in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.
If plan goes smoothly then more cities are likely to be added in future.
Warid officially confirmed ProPakistani about its plan for roll-out of new technology that will enable its users to experience high-speed internet on mobile phones.
Without revealing any further details, Warid said that it is consistently committed to provide its customers with innovative and advanced technologies that will further build upon its services.
When asked from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority if Warid can offer 4G LTE services with its existing license, a spokesperson said that Warid has a technology neutral license and a spectrum from 1800Mhz but it will have to get necessary approvals from authority before launching any such service.
While agreeing to the fact that Warid’s license is technology neutral, the spokesperson said that approval for launching 4G LTE will be subject to 4G KPI and rollout obligations (as per normal 4G licenses), which are hard to meet with the spectrum that Warid has.
When asked if Warid is indeed capable of offering 4G LTE service with its existing license and spectrum, Mr. Parvez Iftikhar, an independently working telecom consultant who has headed a major network infrastructure firm in Pakistan from 1998 till 2007, said that theoretically as well as legally Warid can offer 4G LTE service to its customers.
However, minimum amount of spectrum required for LTE is 2x10Mhz, while Warid has just 2×8.8Mhz in 1800Mhz band, which means they can offer LTE services but for limited subscribers only, opined Mr. Iftikhar.
Moreover, Warid will have to free-up its 1800Mhz band for data services, which is currently being used for voice services. Meaning that company will have to shift voice to 900Mhz band that will require additional investment, said Mr. Parvez Iftikhar.
Not to forget, Warid has 2x5Mhz spectrum from 900Mhz band, which might get congested if entire voice traffic is shifted to it.
Mr. Parvez concluded his verdict by saying that proposition is theoretically, technically and legally possible, however, practically it might not look very fascinating as Warid may struggle with meeting PTA’s rollout and necessary speed obligations.
Experts say that Warid will have to make deadly compromises with the quality if it opts to offer wireless broadband services on such a narrow band. With this approach, their voices subscribers will also get impacted with degraded quality.