Read This Before Buying a 3G Phone, or it May Simply Not Work in Pakistan!

When buying a smartphone, brand, price, specs, value for money and resale price are only few of the criteria that go through the mind of a potential buyer. One troublesome omission from that list is frequency bands which, to be fair, traditionally weren’t an issue but have become one with the introduction of 3G and 4G in the country.

Why Frequency Band Really Matters?

Well, the selection of smartphones available at online stores has increased dramatically and many stores are offering imported handsets from foreign markets that offer better value for money. However, they are failing to mention their 3G/4G bands and are selling smartphones that don’t work in Pakistan.

In simpler words, there are bands (frequencies) for 3G and 4G technologies — just like radio frequencies — and operators in Pakistan operate their 3G networks in 2100Mhz band only. Now 3G smartphones that doesn’t offer 3G network compatibility in 2100 band will simply not work in Pakistan.

3G smartphones that don’t offer 3G network compatibility in 2100 band will simply not work in Pakistan.

Let’s use an example. The Redmi Note 4G is a smartphone that offers a 5.5 inch screen, 13MP camera, expandable storage and a Quad Core Snapdragon 400 processor. You can get this handset on online stores (we won’t name them for now) for roughly PKR 23,000. It has great specs and a great price point so buying it makes sense right? Not really.

There is one detail these online shopping portals fail to mention. The frequency bands for 3G and 4G supported by the Redmi Note 4G — or at least one version of this phone that is available in market — doesn’t support 3G or 4G networks in Pakistan!

Now we do not know whether this is deliberate misleading of customers or just sheer ineptitude but even when we contacted customer support of a major online store, they assured us that the Redmi Note 4G had LTE connectivity and would work in Pakistan.

It’s a shame that these stores don’t even bother to do research for the products they are offering and shift the responsibility on the customer instead. Just imagine getting your smartphone and finding out that you can’t access 3G or 4G on it. It is also entirely possible that many online stores would refuse refunds citing some bogus excuse like they sell the product as is and they aren’t responsible for ensuring compatibility.

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Update:

Please note that at least one variant of Redmi Note 4G doesn’t work in Pakistan. While there is a variant that works in Pakistan — as per few friends’ claims — the example we referred above was about an online store that was selling incompatible Redmi Note 4G in Pakistan.

Please note that our focus isn’t about Redmi Note 4G or any other particular handset, but about the fact that not all 3G and 4G phones are compatible with operators in Pakistan and you must do a check before making a purchase.

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Make sure that the 3G/4G smartphone you are buying are compatible with 2100Mhz for 3G and 1800Mhz for 4G networks 

We want to call out these online stores to stop these shady practices and clearly state if a smartphone has different frequencies than the ones offered in Pakistan. Not doing so is misleading the customers and a poor way to run a business and we won’t hesitate to call them out publicly the next time it happens.

How to Findout the Frequency Bands of Smartphones:

As mentioned above, you should determine the frequency bands of smartphone before making the purchase. You can do this by looking at the specifications of phone given on the box, or by looking for the specs of the (phone that you are buying) on your favourite phone sepcs website, such as GSMArena.

As an example, check out the box of a phone below. It clearly displays the network bands that this particular phone supports. As mentioned above: 2100 for 3G means this phone is going to work in Pakistan.

3G_Band

In addition to this PSA, we have compiled a list of the frequency bands used by 3G and 4G services in Pakistan. Whenever you are buying a smartphone, please make sure that the 3G and 4G bands match the ones we have listed below. Otherwise, high speed internet simply won’t work.

Telco Technology Frequency Band
Ufone 3G 2100MHz
Mobilink 3G 2100MHz
Telenor 3G 2100MHz
Zong 3G 2100MHz
Zong 4G 1800MHz
Warid 4G 1800MHz

 

Talal is a Director at ProPakistani. Reach out at [email protected]


  • Thank you so much ProPK. I was searching for the same thing a few weeks back when I was looking for a new phone. I delayed the purchase till I could find the frequency bands and now I can shop in peace.

  • Writer failed to tell that we also need to see that the brand’s 3G/4G band is frequency division and not time division. In Pakistan only frequency division will work even if the phone is 2100Mhz and 1800Mhz supported for 3G and 4G respectively.
    Except for this, it’s a great article and it was needed. Although it should have come earlier.

  • Thanks for sharing this useful information. Care must be taken while purchasing imported handsets. However getting a branded phone which is officially available in Pakistan won’t lead to these spectrum / band compatibility issues.

  • i have a LG handset, LGVS930, which have LTE but frequency doesn’t match even GSMarena mentioned only 1 frequency band, but when reached out to LG customer support online (before purchasing the set). they showed me the internal document of specification. where it shows that it work in Pakistan too. So even GSMarena doesn’t show correct details. Before doing high investment do research, I mean extensive research.

    • I have a Potato, and GSMArena mentioned that it’s not compatible with 3G/4G. But guess what, you’re right, I’m getting 5G on my Potato. I contacted the plant it came from and it showed me internal documentation for my specific Potato, it’s even compatible with 6G! How cool is that?

      Jokes aside, GSMArena can’t possible update the specs for every obscure phone out there (there are literally tens of thousands of those). The specs they mention for flagship and popular phones are spot on though.

      • If you click on expand in the network category then you will be able to see the complete information. It does mention LGVS930 3g band 2100, which means that 3g is supported for this phone in pakistan

        3G bands: CDMA2000 1xEV-DO
        HSDPA 900 / 2100

  • Hi, Great informative article but there is an error. We sell Redmi Note 4G which is compatible with all Pakistani Bands. We all think ProPakistani as a genuine source of good information, please do your due research before posting such articles. We take great care in selecting the phones and never ever have we offered a phone to the customer which is not compatible in Pakistan. Redmi Note 4G comes in 2 variants (TDD-LTE) and (FDD-LTE). We only bring FDD LTE Version because it is compatible with Pakistani 2100Mhz / 1800 Mhz Frequency Bands. I believe an apology to All my Tech and correction in your article is warranted.

    • All my tech guy is correct there are two 4g versions of this phone – below is the information for Redmi Note 4G FDD-LTE from a Chinese retailer.

      4G FDD-LTE (1800/2100MHz) & TDD-LTE (2600MHz)

      3G: WCDMA 850/900/1900/ 2100MHz

  • This is due to TD “Time Division” standard that is only available in China, these devices are only made for chinese market.

  • For your peace of mind here’s a picture of Redmi Note 4G Box clearing showing the frequencies compatible in Pakistan. Again, please do not post articles without due diligence. This article has to be corrected and a formal apology on this article to All my Tech should be published.

  • Ab koi popat he hoga jise ye basic information malum nhn hogi about 3G frequency band in mobile phones, which is supported or not

  • will this work in Pakistan Xiaomi Mi 4
    3G NetworkTD-SCDMA 2010-2025 / 1880-1920 – 4G model HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 – Unicom 3G model, Telecom 3G model CDMA2000 1xEV-DO – Telecom 3G model4G NetworkTD-LTE 2570-2620 / 1880-1920 / 2300-2400 – 4G modelSIMMicro-SIM

    • Also be careful – mostly phones are locked on specific network for 3G-4G Network
      like my phone – I can’t use 3G-4G Services on my phone –
      HSDPA 850 / 900 / 2100 & HSDPA 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 – for T-Mobile

      • Your phone has HSDPA 2100MHz band.
        Get it unlocked, and it will work with all 3G networks in Pakistan.
        However, this phone does not have 4G.

        • how to unlock ? it get stuck on when I change the network mode from GSM to WCDMA. and on GSM Arena – it is mentioned that

          “HSDPA 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 – for T-Mobile”
          this means only HSDPA will work with for T-Mobile Network.
          please guide me.
          thanks

          • Try Telenor 3G. But you have to be in their 3G coverage area first. HSDPA at 2100MHz should work.
            The problem might be that T-mobile ROM is locked on to T-mobile APN, which is the network setting in your phone for connecting to operator data services. Flashing a custom ROM can solve that issue.

            Another question is, what options does your phone display for network mode ?
            GSM ?
            GSM/WCDMA ?
            WCDMA only ?

            • Yes You are right – my phone is locked on T-Mobile Network, that’s why it drop signal when I select only WCDMA and works on GSM/WCDMA & GSM, and Stuck means ; it remains on 2G.
              Thanks for your reply.

              • Keep you phone on GSM/WCDMA, so that it has a fallback to GSM when WCDMA not available.
                WCDMA will work only when you are in 3G coverage area, otherwise, signal drop.

                • let me share an experience with you.
                  my brother has LG Phone and on his cell phone was showing H* on its phone. at that moment; I insert his ufone sim card in my phone just to verify this but all in vain. Results were “on WCDMA Only”, signal drops

                  on GSM/WCDMA it stuck on 2G. and the same sim card works perfectly on his phone with 3G Network. :(

        • I have LG G3 D850 AT&T. I can select Zong-LTE using Network search but If I turned data connection On it only show Edge as internet connectivity and no H++. How to get 3G & 4G internet on LG G3 D850 then?

      • Dear I have LG G3 D850 AT&T. I can select Zong-LTE using Network search but If I turned data connection On it only show Edge as internet connectivity and no H++. How to get 3G & 4G internet on LG G3 D850 then?

  • Just to alleviate all confusion, I have a Xiaomi Mi4 working in my home with Telenor 3G, and a Redmi Note working in the hands of my friend, tested with Telenor 3G.

    The box spec of Redmi Note 4G posted by AllmyTech is correct, and it will work will 3G and 4G networks in Pakistan.

  • This means my Nexus 5 (US version) will not work on 4G :-(
    3G Network
    HSDPA 800 / 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 / 900 – North American version
    4G Network
    LTE 700 / 800 / 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600 – North American version

  • Well…. i would like to thanks pro Pakistan for once more again, for such a nice informative article, which will definitely help millions of smartphones users.

  • thumbs up for the post, also it confirms what i was telling few that my and 10 other people i know who uses G2 non 802 doesnt work on 4g networks…
    i have personaly checked D800, it works on 3g not 4g.

  • Before buying, the best way, is to check with ur Telecom operator for Compatible 3G/4G mobile phone sets, Zong has a drop down list of compatible 3G/4G sets on their website

  • salam, very good sharing, thnak you bro. but i think we discuss about this mater with PTA because no any mobile manufacture company in PAKISTAN.
    and gsm arena is not telling about all because when i checked about

    Huawei Honor 4 Play then website not mention any frequency just showing 3G Network
    HSDPA

    4G Network
    LTE

    • and one think i want to know about you that G Five G6 support 3G but mostly peoples saying G6 3G not support able in PAKISTAN.

  • I personally use Motorola Electrify 2, for call and SMS it works fine with UFone and Telenor but with Mobilink it works for SMS. Call (send/receive) is simply failed. Can you specify the Call and SMS bands of telcos?

  • I bought Nokia 920 after research that it is a 4G enabled phone. But when I plugged in the SIM it did not work for 4G. It turned out that the phone has the hardware available but you need a separate firmware (software) to enable it to work as a 4G phone. this firmware has to come from the operator for whom getting software from Nokia may not be a priority :(

  • very god & informative articel, realyy opened our eyes, never thought on this aspect while purchasing smart phone, only see whether it has 3g or not.

  • To the author:
    The real factor which many of us neglect i presume including yourself is the speed of the 3g modem it comes in different variants 7mbps to 42mbps.
    This is the main reason for cheap 3g phones cheap 3g modems period.
    So next u invest in somethin make sure it is worth it like those cheap phones which cost around 5k and offer 3g connectivity.

  • @Aamir Bhai do you or any other know the app which can check the handest supported frequencies. It would be easy to check the handset frequencies of gsm/wcdma ot 4g/lte
    would appreciate if any one suggest for all of us

  • app ke malomat k lye k 1900Mhz band b 3G pr chalta hai pakistan mein, tu please ak dfa apna article again sa check kr lye

  • Thanks Talal. I was mislead while buying g9 president. The Govt has offered only 1800mhz frequency band in Pakistan so the writer is correct. don’t be fooled by the online stores saying that the article is wrong

  • Now I understand why Redmi Note 3g dual sim is more expensive that the Redmi Note 4G single sim although it has much better SoC and other stuff on-board :-(
    Shame to large online brands!

  • well you have mixed up china’s 3g standard tdcdma with wcdma. tdcdma or tdd lte wont work in Pakistan at all. only wcdma fdd lte works!

  • At the time of article it seems only Warid & Zong were offering 4G speed. Is it still the case or have other networks started offering 4G as well?

  • GUYS i actually wanna know why warid 4g lte doesnt work on my Samsung Galaxy S4 Model SGH_m919 ?
    Technology
    WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
    Band
    WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM 850/900/1800/1900
    Mobile Broadband Generation
    4G

  • Data Transmission
    EDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSPA+, HSUPA, LTE
    LTE Band
    LTE Band 1, LTE Band 17, LTE Band 2, LTE Band 4, LTE Band 5, LTE Band 7
    Data Transmission Operating Frequency
    LTE 700/850/1700/1900/2100/2600
    does warid lte work on it or not?

  • What about Samsung Galaxy s4 Verizon model sch-i545? As II am using it but only mobilink Sim is working and opening pages and all….

  • I have a redmi note 4g and 3g works pretty fine on it. Plus wcdma is not some alien network. 3g is wcdma tech and gsm works with 2g and wcdma works with 3g. Plz don’t confuse cdma with wcdma.
    Though I have one issue. Telenor and mobilink networks work with 3g connectivity on my , however ufone never goes beyond edge. Never. Not even once in the past one year. Any idea why that is??

  • I am using lg g2 d802 but not getting 3g even if i am in 3g zone some one said its a common problem that can be solved by roting and installing a custom rom? Any geek who can confirm?

  • this article is very good but one thing is missing, most phones dont show frequency but bands … in Pakistan we need Band3 supported phone for 4G networks …

  • I have bought a brand new samsung galaxy tab E 8.0 sm-377p which only works at LTE 4G bands of 1900/850/2500..its not accepting any sim from zong and ufone…can anybody tell me any possible way out of this?

  • Excellent and useful information. I have to send mobile phone as gift to Paksitan, so searching for the information for the compatibility whether they will work in Pakistan and found this article that helped me a lot as I have had a bad experience in the past long time ago when mobile phone came, someone sent me gift from USA and it was not compatible to work with Pakistani networks. I appreciate the writer. Thank you.


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