Misdirected AD Campaigns Resulting into Poor 3G Adoption

By Brandsynario

The highly anticipated third generation ofa mobile telecommunications technology, 3G for short, was perceived to be the next big thing and it was largely expected that this new technology will modernize and upgrade the trend and usage patterns of high speed internet in Pakistan.

While it is too early to issue a definitive verdict at this point in time, but early impressions and consumer response to 3G isn’t very convincing.

Inside reports from sources within Pakistani telecommunication companies suggest that the number of consumers who have subscribed for the 3G facility is not very impressive. While we don’t have any figure with us to share with you, but industry itself believes that consumers’ response to 3G can never be termed overwhelming.

Considering the tariffs, demand and the hype, such low adoption rate of 3G in Pakistan is very surprising.

While there are other elements involved, speculators believe that the biggest reason for an unimpressive 3G uptake is the Telco’s “mishandled advertising”. Telecommunication companies have spent humongous amounts yet the outcome was not as amazing as they might have urged.

Every 3 out of 5 mobile users are aware of 3G/4G, and this awareness was largely created by TV advertisements, followed by word of mouth and ATL marketing- Newspapers & Billboards etc.

Nearly all telecommunication operators spent hundreds of thousands of rupees on advertising yet 3G didn’t gain the anticipated acknowledgment amongst the multitudes. The main reason behind this advertisement failure is the misdirected focus. Telecommunication companies operating in Pakistan focused upon building the brand not the product, with many consumers left uneducated with regards to the actual benefits of 3G as opposed to the perceived ones.

Every 3G campaign talked about how outstanding the brand that offered this facility was while totally missing the benefits of the service and how it makes life easier. The audience needed to be educated about the offering. The majority of people define 3G and 4G to be mobile internet only, whereas just 1 out of 10 people delineate it to be ”Faster & Easier – Downloading, Browsing & Video calls”. Large no of mobile internet users are unaware of how to connect and subscribe to 3G packages.

On the other hand countries like Australia, India and Malaysia introduced 3G into their previously saturated telecom markets with a very different marketing approach, to create a unique selling proposition.

Case in point, Indian telecom brand – Idea cellular approached their eventual goal with a simple, to-the-point product-first marketing regime. It is safe to assume now that the brand’s advertising spend paid off. The ads were made keeping the product in mind, conveying the actual use, need and benefits associated with the product. Their campaign “No Ullo Banaowing” not only created awareness about the existence of the product but also communicated the benefit of using 3G – “ What an Idea Sir jee…”

They advertised the technology wisely and efficiently keeping its basic benefits in mind, or like marketing intellects say, ‘building the product before building the brand’, and something Pakistani telecom companies missed.

Pakistani telecom giants spent millions on building their own brand with clever advertising tactics like Zong’s ‘Super 3G’ – China mobile’s sad attempt to brand their 10 MBps 3G technology. On the other hand there is Mobilink, with its never-ending celebrity endorsements – from Ali Zafar to Shaan to the Prodigal Pakistani daughter Nargis Fakhri. But why? Why spend on developing the brand when it is already strong enough in the market – why not work towards a stronger product.

From amongst the telecom operators, Zong has performed the best when it comes to connectivity issues and where customer satisfaction is concerned. This is an indicator of their better communication and service proposition.

While we know that telecom companies must have huge plans in their pockets for future campaigns, we just hope that 3G uptake will only get better during coming months.

Check below the infographic with marketing spend of Telecom companies for 3G specific campaigns:

3G-Infographic


  • the main issue is with their 3G coverage … provide full coverage in cities, claiming 3G covered. I live in Johar Town Lahore. and no 3G coverage is here till date :/

  • Main issue is availability of 3G in whole area. For example, 3G signals are available around my office…in b/w office to home (20-25%) is 3G covered ,,, at home there are no 3G signals available. So, how can I subscribe to 3G package (10Mb connection at office, 4Mb connection at home).. I need 3g in b/w home and office, which unfortunately is not covered…
    Main issues

    1) Areas covered

    2) Speed (advertised blazing speed what you get is turtle speed)
    3) Cost of 3g package
    4) separate package for 2g and 3g?

    • I don’t really think ANY operator has ”separate” 3G/2G packages. No one at all. It seems you’re misguided…

        • yet ufone 2g packages are converted and amended for 3g reception as well. suppose if you’re using a 2g daily package or either monthly, your services and package itself gets converted to 3g as the moment you enter into a 3g covered area, meeting all the conditions for 3g reception. though the bandwidth is the lowest there is while you’re using 2g designed packages i.e 256/kbps. moreover if you subscribe a highend 3g package and move to an area where 3g is not available, your reception itself turns into 2g with that typical dying bandwidths. basically all the packages have been turned to 3g with cost/bandwidth management strategies but a 3g user is entertained with 2g as well when not present in 3g coverage area.

        • What I simply meant was, 3G packages DO work on 2G Networks. You are NOT charged separately when you move from a 3G Zone to a 2G Zone.

  • someone bought a qmobile big one and told me to have a look i said its gud but i didnt knew whether it supports 3g or not i asked him about it he said sir chaley ga nai dorey ga then i came home and checked on internet the full specs of his phone it says it only has 2g !!!!!!!! the thing is people dont even know what is this technology!!!pity!

  • I live in Lahore near Lahore university but no 3g coverage of any telecom company, I am using evo wingle which is much better, 3g rates are very very high, evo wingle offer for 1500 20gb where as other don’t . main reason is coverage and high cost.

  • Yes they need to focus on coverage rather than speed average 3-4mb is ok as the network is still in development and as the critics said they need to educate people via there ad rather then disco dancing.

  • first thing is high price 4 rs main 4mb wtf kind of package is that. you cant even open a site with it. 1500 for just 10gb. these are just joke really. second reason is coverage as lots of people have yet to receive coverage even where they claim to be service which probably will be fixed over time. But with 3g speed you need high data bundles else if you want just facebook and twitter then 2g is far better.

    • Just 10GB…Have you seen the prices and data caps around the world? This is not suppose to replace your home dsl/cable connection.

        • And in other countries per capita income is higher as well. Mr. Musa is right, they really should lower their prices. I think 5 GB package should not be more than 150 RS. They should think of China products policy, keep the price low, sell more units.

          • Since this is just the start they can’t do that, do you remember gprs rates around 9-10 years ago ? Heck sms was around Rs.2/sms or something similar.

            They also need to recover the investment they have made in getting the license, infrastructure, marketing etc which are just a few overheads of running a business.

            At the end they are all businesses in the market to make money.

            • If businesses start thinking like you do, I suppose they would flop on day 1.

              (”Since this is just the start they can’t do that / They also need to recover the investment they have made in getting the license, infrastructure, marketing etc which are just a few overheads of running a business.”)

              A very small example. Here in our local market of F6/2 a bakery opened recently. The regular price of bread everywhere is Rs. 75. They started with the price of Rs. 60 (DESPITE OF INVESTING OVER 1 MILLION IN DECORATION/ETC)

              If they want people to move over to 3G, they should have cheap prices for a few months, then increase the prices once people are addicted to it – or keep the prices low forever and earn more by selling more…

              No one recovers investments on day 1, companies plan for 10 – 15 years, and it takes time to recover investment. If they do as you say, the only thing they will do is FLOP this entire 3G thing as only the people who are filthy rich or the ones in need are going to use it. No one will bother wasting a dime on it for FB/Twitter/Movies/TV,etc in other words an ordinary middle class person will not use 3G for luxuries.

              • 1 million..that’s cute.

                And since none of the companies are thinking like you are and still posting revenues which they are happy with and continue to not lower prices I guess they are all retards for not going by your business “strategy”.

                • Right eyescreaman, When the effects of wow will fade over the minds of the people, companies will have had their recoveries for estimated cost gaining the tech licenses and implementations and eventually the costs for services will be dropped to lower and the volumes for bundles will be brought up higher. somehow despite the fact that if cost/quality analysis is observed, costs are much lower than anywhere else in the world keeping per capita income of the nation in sight and people who are in the wow effect, which probably consists over 60 percent of the country are using the packages despite of low volumes, just to have a glimpse of new technology arrived. in terms of average revenue it might be slow as the general public goes for the cheap packages just for checking purposes and then they usually stick to them. but with time, revenue gauges will show improvement as coverage carpet widens and more 3g equipments are there in the market to consume the service. although 3g is here but cost of implementation has not dropped because of extra equipment is required there at carrier’s technical end and as coverage areas grow wider, there are investments. Currently we can just hope that in probable future we will get better packages concerning the costs and volumes and we will make better use of it, instead of songs,movies etc..

      • This is not another country. This is pakistan and it has some of the lowest mobile phone rates in the world because incomes are very low here. If you want 3G to succeed you will need to reduce prices.

        And why do you say it can’t replace home connections? Is there some technical reason why? We are at the limits of DSL speeds because PTCL’s poor infrastructure can’t support it. That is why even they have shifted their focus to wireless products. Consider for a moment what I’m saying. The company with the largest and only land line network in the country is pushing wireless broadband over wired broadband. And here you are saying that cellcos who’s core business it is to sell wireless connectivity shouldn’t do the same.

        • First….rates are low not because of people have low income [you don’t sound naive enough to think that a business will think that way, are you ?]. Rates are low because of the dense population, more subscribers mean more revenue even if ARPU[average revenue per user] is low.

          You are also forgetting this was the same situation when GSM cellphone services first started in Pakistan. Remember all those people buying a mobilink/Jazz/Ufone SIM for 3-5k ? Now the net cost of a SIM is zero[sometimes you even make a profit due to the credit you get on a new SIM]. Same thing will happen will 3g in a few years, when they have blanket coverage and more subscribers.

      • i posted links of uk but they havnt been approved yet. just search internet plans of uk 3 mobile. they have unlimited plans.

        • ..or.. All you can eat Data plans. Same does giffgaff & lyca. NO FUP. But that applies to only one device/tablet, tethering isn’t allowed.

      • Have you seen call prices, utilities prices, petrol prices & income around the world? Don’t compare other countries with the market of Pakistan. You’re too naive to do so.

  • how can adoption happen when the most populous cities of the country are not covered completely? Jadoo ka chiragh?

  • the main issue which i think is very expensive 3g packages & 3g coverage which is very low. they need to concentrate on these issues speedily, advertising doesnt matter if you dont have gud packages & coverage.

  • MARK my words.. after 3G/4G roll out across Pakistan,the data traffic
    statistics suggest that building internet attractions like web surfing, video
    streaming, and online gaming will bring immense pressure on limited network
    spectrums. Subscribers will soon start facing diminishing quality standards for
    3G and 4G networks.
    The growth in data usage will also lead to the decline in
    voice revenues, hence putting pressure on mobile operators to upgrade their
    network capacity.

  • There is no benefit in 3G for a common mobile user. The corporate users are well aware of 3G and its benefit. Advertisement is not the reason for poor adoption.
    Its simple ,3G hype was artificially created and reality is different.

    • No benefit? Are you crazy? Realtime access to information and fast, global communication has no benefit in your eyes. You’d rather work for rupees than dollars. You’d rather be ignorant than know.

      • The bulk of 130 million mobile users in this country work for rupees and probably by your definition can be i considered ignorant as well.

  • I see the main reason being high cost. telenor providing the largest monthly bundle with lowest price compared to other networks 10Gb for 1000rs . still very costly

  • Price are too high. Reduce prices or forget about it. Wimax was supposed to herald the golden age of Internet access in this country. It failed because prices were too high. 3G will also fail unless they do something about prices. Take PTCL and TWA to court for fixing prices.

  • I would blame the stupid tariffs by telcos for the slow adoption of the 3g in Pakistan.
    Nobody is going to pay a 1000 rupees for 8gb (Telenor monthly) of internet with the current 3g coverage where you will be using 2g in most areas while having paid for 3g.

    Telenor monthly gives 8gb data for 1300 rupees incl taxes. while on the other hand you can pay 50 rs daily and download as much data as you want on that day. It doesnt make any sense at all.

    • why are you looking at highest package.. telenor is cheapest yet and there are lot of other packages with lower rates and limits…

    • There are no taxes on 3G internet. If you’re talking about easy load/top up, that would count around Rs. 1,400 worth of top up to purchase an internet bundle worth Rs. 1,000.

  • Telenor for one is lying about their coverage. Its no where near as shown in their coverage maps. For instance, where I live, its under covered area but I only get 1 bar and that too not inside my house or on terrace lol I only get 1 bar in the highest place in my area.
    Askari 14, Rawalpindi. Full 3G signals of zong and mobilink however.

  • pahly protest to khatm hojay.. logo ko kuch or dikhae day to hi kuch or socha jay… wait for coverage areas plus smart phones adoption to be enough to adopt 3G

  • The main reason for slow adaptation is lack of coverage. None of the operators provide blanket coverage in cities where they have started 3g. So how will a customer subscribe to something that is still in infancy.
    Like suppose i live in hyd nor mobilink or telenor provide complete coverage.
    Am still stuck with damn evo.

  • It is because your shitty 3g coverage.Getting no 3g signals in some areas.These companies launched 3g without proper coverge and expect customers to subscribe wow.

  • Pro Pakistani team, can we start a poll on which services are good in which areas ? Like the best provider in Islamabad, best in Lahore, Karachi etc. in terms of 3G services and telco services. It will greatly help users to have a centralized feedback on ufone, zong, mobilink, warid etc and can easily make decision on what to chose and what to expect.

  • telenor expand 3g in 32 cities,ufone in 10 cities, mobilink in 8 cities
    and warid have currently no 3g
    but but
    zong have 3g as well as 4g but shame for zong give 3g only in 3 cities

  • can anyone answer my sensible question: why would i use 3G if the wifi connection service is availble at my home & office as well & i dont need that much video calls shaske however rarely in a month when i call outsiders from my PC-PC UK,USA & Canada sitting at home not even try to think to switch on data connection when i got the wifi, why would i choose to switch on, what is the main purpose of the 3rd Generation Technology when we got already goodies aorund at home paying ransom amount to the cable wale bhae. why why???!!!

    • brother read the below points. I hope I will be enough clear.
      1- there are some people who are VERY MUCH into social media specially Facebook and Twitter. These people cannot live some hours without these services. They always need (want) to post and get updates from these sites. So 3G package is for such mummy daddy people who have WiFi at home and office but not in between these locations when they are on the go.
      2- There are some professionals/businessmen who constantly need(want) to check their emails for some valid reasons. May be client’s emails or issue notifications etc. These men have WiFi at home and in office but when they are travelling they need 3G to check their emails or browse some important websites and get updates.
      3- kuch bohat janooni qisam k log hain jo video calling k bghair nahi reh saktay.. they can avail fast speed WiFi at homes or in offices/universities but they want to video call their friends on the go, so 3G helps them there.
      mere zehn main in teeno reasons k ilawa 3G ka koi or istemaa nahi a raha filhal.

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