3G/4G Users in Pakistan Cross the 38 Million Mark

The number of 3G and 4G users in Pakistan reached 38.269 million by end of January 2017 against 37.574 million by December 2016, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) report revealed Tuesday.

The number of mobile phone users in Pakistan reached 137.095 million by the end of January 2017, up from 136.489 million by end of December, an increase of around 0.606 million new users during the period under review.

According to the PTA report, the total subscribers of Jazz – the merged company formed from Mobilink and Warid — reached 51.534 million by end of January 2017. Mobilink had a subscriber base of 41.253 million by end December 2016 while Warid had 10.27 million users a month ago.

Zong and Telenor subscribers reached 27.496 million and 39.586 million by end January 2017 as compared to 26.929 million and 39.453 million by end of December respectively.

Ufone subscribers continued to decline and subscribers decreased to 18.478 million from 18.581 by end December 2016.

As per PTA report Jazz 4G subscribers reached 700,486 by end January 2017. Warid LTE had a subscriber’s base of 637,363 by end December 2016.

The number of 4G users for Zong jumped from 2,274,157 subscribers during December 2016 to 2,855,336 subscribers by end of January 2017.

Teledensity for cellular mobile reached 70% and broadband subscribers reached 40,786,778 by end January as compared to 40,147,991 by end December 2016.

Here is some more data concerning the growth of mobile users:

Mobile Phone Users

3G Users

4G Users

Honorary Mention

Zong has picked up its pace in the 4G segment during last four months. At a time when Pakistani handset market is still struggling with 4G  smartphones — as there are not many 4G compatible handsets in Pakistan — Zong outplayed other operators by selling 4G SIMs through its MBB devices.

Let’s have a look at their 4G numbers during the past 12 months:

While we don’t have exact numbers, through sources we can confirm that more than 85% of Zong’s 4G consumers are on dongles / MiFi devices.

Interestingly, a lot of home users and small business are now relying on Zong 4G MBB devices, which shows that there’s huge potential in this segment.

Top benefit for this 4G consumer is that its ARPU (average revenue per month) is at least 15$, up from usual 2$ ARPU for common Pakistani mobile phone users.

With Zong’s plan for having more than 10,500 4G cell enabled cell sites by the end of 2017, it appears that Zong is all prepared to captured 4G market even when their users will grow across the country with time.

It is highly likely that Jazz and Telenor will also get aggressive in MBB 3G/4G segment. But a lot will depend on how far and how deep these operators can go in terms of 4G coverage.

Also note that with growing number of 4G users, operators will have to add more towers in the same area to accommodate them. So for instance if there are 100 4G users served with a single tower, any additional customers connecting with the same tower will result into inferior service quality for everyone.

To maintain quality and reliability for a wireless broadband network, operators grow their cell towers to maintain quality of service for increasing number of consumers. This is where the real test will be as the operators with the most 4G towers is likely to come out as the winner.

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