4G in Pakistan: What to Expect?

If you follow ProPakistani, you’ll know that 4G is right around the corner. What does it mean for the common man though? What can it do that 3G can’t and do you really need it? We take a look at these questions and the future of 4G in Pakistan in this blog post.

It is no surprise that 3G has had a lackluster start to life in Pakistan. The adoption rates have been on the low side and people haven’t really embraced it as much as the telecom operators would have liked. The factors that have contributed to this are varied. Lack of coverage, lack of content that properly leverages 3G and poor planning mean that 3G hasn’t taken Pakistan by storm. So how exactly is 4G going to solve any of these problems?

Firstly we need to understand how 3G and 4G differ. In one word, 4G is fast. Much faster than 3G. According to Zong, their 4G offering will give speeds of up to 150 Mbps which is 8 times better than normal 3G. That opens up a lot of doors in terms of what entrepreneurs, developers and local start-ups can offer. A few examples include consistent and reliable video calling, Wi-Fi hotspots that can replace broadband connections and multiplayer gaming.

You only need to look at mature markets to see how fast internet at your fingertips can encourage innovative solutions to common problems. Our neighbours, India, have done extremely well for themselves and it is common place to see giants like Amazon investing in local companies. Even one example of mobile e-commerce is enough reason to be excited, it is a staggering $50 billion market and we are just getting started with it in Pakistan. Success of EasyPaisa shows people are open to new mobile based solutions that are helpful.

Unfortunately for the immediate future, it is not going to be enough to convince people to switch to 4G. That is because the jump from 3G to 4G is much less dramatic than 2G to 3G. The very same services and facilities that use 3G get enhanced with 4G. So it’s less of a ground breaking technology and more of an evolution. We’ve already discussed how Pakistan lacks the infrastructure and ecosystem for utilizing fast mobile internet so it’s going to be a waiting game. People will take up 3G and 4G slowly in the meantime but to truly permeate the market and reach critical mass, the telcos are going to have to wait for everything else to catch up to the speeds.

In addition, telcos will have to ensure that they cover a lot of ground. If 3G and 4G are available in specific pockets of areas, they are never going to be main-stream. The crucial thing is to make sure that people know they can rely on fast internet when they need it. Then the government and the local startups will have to come together to make an ecosystem that is conducive.

Overall, we have to remember that new technologies get introduced and taken up slowly. Availability isn’t the only thing; you need to have a whole ecosystem to take advantage of the service.

Right now for most users, 4G is simply going to be a faster way to hit their data caps. Until there are demonstrated advantages and a thriving ecosystem, it’s going to be a slow and steady game for 3G and 4G adoption in Pakistan.

Talal is the Editor in Chief at ProPakistani.


  • Friendly critic

    4G is faster than 3G -> Already known!
    Telecos. need to aggressively work on expansion to get into game -> Already known!

    What’s new in today’s post?

    • Guest

      They did not any post for today and thus posted intellectual piece of art. Hats off to ProPakistani

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    • Ahmiq

      I dont know about bahrain but if i compare the Data rates of Pakistan with Germany. It is WAY to cheaper. I get 500 MB 3G data plan for 9.99 Euro a month

      • Fakhre Alam

        1BD = 272 PKR.

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        but if we look at it from behrain’s economic point of view, 40BD or 80BD is very small amount for such a great deal. even PTCL dsl 16Mbps is at 11000+taxes per month,

      • Arsalan Shah

        I don’t understand why people have lost their minds that they’re comparing Pakistan with Germany! (or EU/UK for that matter)

        Germany minimum wages 8.50 euros (£6.80 / Rs.1,130) PER HOUR.
        UK minimum wages £6.31 (Rs.1,050) PER HOUR.

        Minimum wages in Pakistan: Rs. 10,000 PER MONTH

        Rs. 333/day (working 30 days/7days a week) and if you work 10 hours per day (LIKE IN THE EU/UK) Rs. 33.3 PER HOUR.

        Rs. 500/day (working 20 days/5days a week) and if you work 10 hours per day (LIKE IN THE EU/UK) Rs. 50 PER HOUR.

        It’s great to know that show-offers like you have been to the EU and know about that, guess what, I’ve been to the EU as well, but it’s about time you people stop showing off and stop being so naive by comparing UK/EU with PAKISTAN!

        60.3% of Pakistan’s population lives on under $2 a day, Less than Rs. 250 which is 1/4 of what a person in Germany earns in ONE HOUR. (source HDI/wikipedia)

        Do you know anything about GDP of Pakistan/UK/EU? I aint even going there…

        PLEASE STOP WRITING CR*P, AS IT ONLY MISLEADS PEOPLE.

        • Ahmiq

          I would have loved to see the actual comment you posted and would have loved to write it’s reply. but since it is not here i shall not write a reply.
          Since you had posted that one earsn 8.50 Euro per hour , do you know how much is the cost of living ? Taxes ? Food? travelling? Electricity ? Health Insurance? Old Age Insurance ? Entertainment Tax? Do you have ANY idea , how does one get’s to earn that 8.50 Euro which you mentioned? What is the toughest job you have ever done ? You must be thinking one only earns in euro and spends in PKR! in Europe. Or you might be thinking Euro’s and Pounds grow on a tree , so every morning you go out and take some from there. How very typical Pakistani of you brother. Please Grow up!.

          • Arsalan Shah

            Lol. My actual comment will have all the answers for you. P.S. I have only spent 3 yrs in Pakistan out of 22!

            ”I don’t understand why people have lost their minds that they’re comparing Pakistan with Germany! (or EU/UK for that matter)

            Germany minimum wages 8.50 euros (£6.80 / Rs.1,130) PER HOUR.

            UK minimum wages £6.31 (Rs.1,050) PER HOUR.

            Minimum wages in Pakistan: Rs. 10,000 PER MONTH

            Rs. 333/day (working 30 days/7days a week) and if you work 10 hours per day (LIKE IN THE EU/UK) Rs. 33.3 PER HOUR.

            Rs. 500/day (working 20 days/5days a week) and if you work 10 hours per day (LIKE IN THE EU/UK) Rs. 50 PER HOUR.

            It’s great to know that show-offers like you have been to the EU and know about that, guess what, I’ve been to the EU as well, but it’s about time you people stop showing off and stop being so naive by comparing UK/EU with PAKISTAN!

            60.3% of Pakistan’s population lives on under $2 a day, Less than Rs. 250 which is 1/4 of what a person in Germany earns in ONE HOUR. (source HDI/wikipedia)

            Do you know anything about GDP of Pakistan/UK/EU? I aint even going there…

            Born and raised in the UK. Moved to France at the age of 17, Spent 1 year there. Spent 6 months in Germany, Switzerland Also been to Belgium & all Scandinavian countries (apart from Iceland) & Living in Pakistan since 2011.

            PLEASE STOP WRITING CR*P, AS IT ONLY MISLEADS PEOPLE.”

          • Arsalan Shah

            Next, even after taxes, health insurance (PAYE TAX = 20%, Health Insurance or NHS/NI = 5%) Even if you take total as 50% inclusive of all the retarded senseless things you mention, still that leaves alot for them to spend aswell as save.

            Their standard of living is MUCH higher than us. Why? Cuz of senseless people like you! I have done all sorts of jobs, by working at takeaways or by cleaning floors from £6.31 per hour to being a carer (residential care) £9.12 to being a software designer @ £29.55/hr.

            Stop talking rubbish by talking about entertainment tax, etc. It’s everywhere in the world. Why not mention when you topup your phone in the UK, there’s NO GST or WHT at all?!? no tax during calls, the amount is usually inclusive of tax, which is pretty decent. No drama like here.

            If you think people in UK pay more tax, means you have never been to the UK nor know about it. People in Pakistan actually pay much more taxes just via telecom industry.

            GST (or VAT as we say there) on electricity in the UK is 5% what’s the GST in Pakistan on electricity?

            I never thought pounds grow on a tree, I know how hard it is to earn but you seem to think they grow on a tree. First grow up yourself, before accusing others of thinking that money grows on trees.

            • Ahmiq

              A normal call costs 15 euro cents and almost the same for SMS. You only lived 3 years in Pakistan?! It very well explains , your tone you use for other people. Perhaps if you had spent a little more time in Pakistan you would have learnt some manners!. Rude English mentality with stupid attitude.

              • Arsalan Shah

                Personal attacks wont change anything. The argument we had was not ”concerning” my manners, but concerning the facts which you tried to distort and after my reply have failed to address the actual issue. I am not the issue that needs to be discussed or analyzed, especially by you who doesn’t know me.

    • eyescreaman
  • Mobile companies should cover first rural areas as this technology is more required there than urban,

    • What…? A premium technology powered by premium costs is required in rural areas more than the urban ones? OK, I’ll just take your word for it.

      • don’t start that shit, I mean only that a lot of companies already giving net facilities in urban areas so people are less interested, and in rural areas people don’t have any choice so who start this facility they will gain users faster. got it.

  • Muhammad Mashhood Iqbal

    Main issue is data caps. Some people are saying Germany rates are higher and UAE are higher… I just want to say that pakistan cant be compared with other markets because majority of people here belong to middle class then how they can manage to use these 3G packages they will rely on evo or wingle for wireless broadband which has higher caps and lower rates 2GB or 4GB caps are too low for price they are taking. Telcos must have to overview their data caps, coverage and rates. Then again saying people will never go to 3G/4G untill rates are down coverage and caps. They cannot pay 2 bills instead of 2. They must have to take steps to overcome this issue.

  • Muhammad Mashhood Iqbal

    Another thing is 4G is fast and caps will be ended in just 3-4 days… 30GB rates are ways higher…

  • Zameh

    To an extent you’re right

  • Ahmad Wahid

    We better get increased data caps like 30GB, 50GB, 75GB, 100GB and even more if we want 4G to be successful. Crap packages like Char ji by evo with 50GB are useless with those speeds.

  • is pakistan poor country?

    • AJ

      lol

    • Arsalan Shah

      Not for rich people.

  • Muhammad Musa Raza

    Many countries are providing unlimited data caps on 3g and 4g. On smartphones only apps update would consume about 500 mb and if you want too upgrade your smartphone software atleast once a month that would be around 1 gb so what you gonna do with 2 gb 3 gb data caps? If you want emails or facebook or whatsapp only then 2g speeds of warid and telenor is more then enough.

    • Arsalan Shah

      Didn’t know Telenor is offering 2G speeds… hmm…

      • Muhammad Musa Raza

        read again what i said and then comment.

        • Arsalan Shah

          ”If you want emails or facebook or whatsapp only then 2g speeds of warid and *telenor* is more then enough.”

          Didn’t know Telenor is offering 2G speeds… hmm…

          Oh btw, after reading again I caught a grammar mistake. It should be ”more THAN enough” instead of ”THEN” :P

          • Muhammad Musa Raza

            thanks for correcting my grammar mistake. As i said for email and browsing 2g is more THAN enough. good enough?

  • Fakhre Alam

    people from rural areas who constantly need internet facility eventually move to urban areas. a 3G/4G tower costs several million rupees to the company and in rural areas the payback period is long thats why telcos will provide the service in urban areas first.

  • xain

    Telenor is giving rs50/day unlimited default rate, way better than ptcl, know it people..,..

  • Ammar

    “According to Zong, their 4G offering will give speeds of up to 150 Mbps which is 8 times better than normal 3G”

    LOL OK

  • Saleem Shah

    if zong 4G is not showing you speeds of 150Mbps then its useless to subscribe for 4G and use 3G instead

    • shaheerk

      If companies that run fiber optic networks can’t provide more than 2 or 3 megabit per second speeds (as their base package), then I don’t see why cellular companies should be singled out either.

      Just sayin’

    • Atifsh

      150Mbps is theoretical…..
      no harm in subscribing to 4g, Zong is not charging any more, same 3g rates apply so no worry there and big thumbs up to Zong.

  • No, I didn’t get it. In your opinion, cost-effective solutions like Broadband internet should take a back-seat and extremely expensive 3G/4G connectivity options should be given to those who can only afford sub-par 3G/4G devices at best in the first place?

    • Who are the people in Urban? most of them belong to rural area, they only leave their areas for these facilities so if the govt provide these facilities in rural areas as fast as the do in urban then people will not moving to urban areas,

  • Sumair

    In UAE du mobile is offering just 25 GB per month for a price of 500 dirhams!! That’s around 13,500 PKR……I use their most basic package that is 40 MB per month for 20 dirhams or 540 PKR!! You guys are still getting cheap 3G/4G. See for yourself
    http://www.du.ae/mobile/data/databundles

  • Muhammad Musa Raza

    In dubai parking for 1 hour is 10 dihrams here its 10 to 20 Rs for whole day. lol you cant compare any country with Pakistan man. Still lot of ppl go to uae for work coz income is low.

  • yasmeen

    Any news as when Warid is launching 4G LTE?

    • Naveed

      15th October :)

  • Bilal Ahmad

    not right time to introduce 4G in Pakistan, people are yet getting familiar with 3G, 4G will get very disappointing response. a few people own 4G-LTE capable devices

  • Mohammed Usman

    its useless to say that there is no unlimited 4gb package,i wish i could demonstrate to bring 3g and 4g networks back

  • Shoaib

    Practically 4G is going to impact corporate sector.Corporate sector will get speed on 4G more than 45 Mbps which will give boost to their business as quality counts lot for them.Such type of investments by corporate sector on 4G will raise their profits.So Switch over to 4G will be more prominent among corporate sector.

  • Waleed

    simple thing is, the more areas they start 3G services in, more profit they’ll get. i really wish 3G spreads much faster than 2G did, i want it soon in my small city Chichawatni.
    i’m sure people will move to use it, no matter poor or rich. today’s Era is where people just want to spend money on something..

  • Muhammad Usman

    Just want to ask 1 question is 4G more power efficient than 3G..yes or no.. Which will consume my battery faster..

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