Here’s How Telenor Plans to Unlock 4G’s Potential in Pakistan

Telenor Pakistan has remained rather quiet about its 4G services since it acquired additional 4G spectrum in August 2016. Neither their branding nor their marketing campaigns have been as aggressive as what we saw with the likes of Zong and the hype has definitely been below expectations.

This was probably due to some internal restructuring that Telenor Pakistan was undergoing and the initial roll-out push (read investment) that company needed before doing full-scale campaign on its 4G services.

Telenor Pakistan says that it did rigorous planning for its 4G network and took time before investing and rolling out its network during Q1 2017.

Current Stats

  • 4G users: Around 300,000 till March end
  • 4G Enabled Sites: More than 2,000
  • 4G Covered Cities: 93

“We have converted more than 2,000 cell sites to 4G network during past three months with more to come in coming quarter”, said Omer Bin Tariq, Director Segments & Products, Telenor Pakistan while speaking with ProPakistani.

He said that total count of cities with Telenor’s 4G coverage currently stands over 93 and the number is going grow rapidly in next few months.

“Telenor Pakistan is already seeing tremendous response — in terms of uptake, service consumption, usage patterns and retention — from consumers, which is actually beyond what we were expecting”, he said while adding that the real challenge is to retain the customers where Telenor Pakistan is doing wonderfully well.

Without revealing the plans, Telenor said that it will continue to invest in 4G.

4G Handset Compatibility Issues

With enormous opportunities in data segment, Telenor is somewhat caught up due to limited 4G handset availability in 850 MHz band.

850MHz is comparatively a new band in the region for 4G network. Other than Telenor Pakistan, only Reliance of India is deploying 4G network in 850MHz band.

With its wider coverage opportunities per cell site — which is usually great for rural areas — operators like Telenor face the challenge of too few compatible handsets that operate in this band.

Not to mention — with lower number of overall 4G compatible handsets in market — the 4G ecosystem is already under-developed in markets like Pakistan, 850MHz band further limits Telenor’s possibility of stretching 4G across the masses.

A market survey revealed that less than half of 4G handsets available in Pakistan operate with 850MHz band, meaning that Telenor’s potential is halved already.

“But this will not remain the same, as more operators are using 850MHz band for 4G in the region, the phone makers have started shipping 850MHz compatible 4G smartphones”, said Omer Bin Tariq.

While referring to shipments during past three months, Omar said that almost all 4G compatible Smartphones now support 850MHz, “Real challenge [for Telenor and all other operators] is that overall 4G ecosystem in Pakistan is not very developed, for instance 4G compatible handsets in Pakistan — among all smartphones — is not more than 6-7 percent”, revealed Omar.

“So [with a balanced strategy] along side working with phone makers, we are launching Telenor branded handsets and then wingles and dongles to make sure that phone compatibility is not an issue”, he told us.

Way Forward: 4G Dongles and Wingles

Telenor is working on a way-around to deal with the situation, and that is to stretch the service consumption through wingles and dongles.

Market experts say that wingles and dongles are actually going to benefit operators in many ways. First they will notably reduce the entry cost for consumers as they won’t have to invest heavy on compatible smartphones to use 4G services.

Secondly, as the fixed network is either poor or non-existent in Pakistan, operators can tap home-users with 4G wingles to become their primary internet users for general purposes.

Experts said that home users with 4G wingles will mean lower churn with higher ARPU, something that telecom operators dream about.

But you have to have a tremendous network for this to work, which means that telecom operators must invest heavily on network to become the ultimate internet providers without any bottlenecks.

Unlike Smartphone users, 4G on wingle has to be consistent for which the network has to be ultra responsive.

With rich coverage in rural areas and million of users looking to use internet for the first time, Telenor is placed wonderfully well to reap the potential that 4G offers in Pakistan. But with Zong in the play, Telenor will have to invest heavily to become the first choice operator for masses in the country.

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

  • zong is offering both 4g and 3g in our area jazz is also providing 3g and telenor has not even started 3g in our area

  • Just to inform users 850Mhz is cheap band for 4G this only shows signals but very less through put and very less cell sites required in this band.
    1800 Mhz is still the best one. Telenor always for cheap solutions and 850Mhz and ZTE are the biggest examples of this. For those who only believe of stupid ads and its not talk shock era. Quality of service is / was / will never be the priority of Telenor Pakistan. They are treating us like fourth world country. Pakistani market transformed in to data market before the expectation this so called europen company (telenor).
    Keep my words bad time of Telenor Pakistan has been started. India they have sold, Thailand they have lost big revenue due to no roaming charges now as days (Thanks to Apps like skype, viber, whatsapp etc).

    • In India they sold because of Jio thingy, that clever guy only bought 4g equipment for his spectrum offering and thus didn’t invested anything on 2g or 3g cell tower equipment. So he was able to beat off everyone in that market and thus telenor left, many others will leave next too. Telenor treats Pakistan bad because we as a nation want to be treated as bad as possible. Telenor like others will only be interested to milk dollars from Pakistanis and Pakistani govt has done everything possible to create economic crisis and anarchy in Pakistan in order to loot and plunder. Thus we lack dollars and Telenor is not interested in investing in our country.

    • I don’t understand why operators like Zong sells the MBB devices claiming to offer 150Mbps speeds, while no one in the world has crossed 50Mbps yet, the highest LTE speed in the world is offered by South Korea i.e 41Mbps…is this what we call in urdu “Safaid jhoot”? Or am i missing something? Please shred some light on this any tech loving person?

      • 150Mbps is device’s capability. This actually means that if you have local network (let’s say within your house), you will be able to transfer data among devices at the mentioned rate. Bandwidth provided by the operator is different. 4G LTE wireless broadband is able to handle download speeds between 5 and 12 Mbps (Megabits per second) and upload speeds between 2 and 5 Mbps, with peak download speeds approaching 50 Mbps.
        I hope you get the difference between device’s capability and connection’s capability.

        • just to clarify things further, having 150 Mbps LTE Cat 4 capability doesn’t mean that you will be able to transfer data among devices on your local network at this speed. 150 Mbps is device capability to handle LTE Traffic on a standard which is LTE Cat 4 in this case, local network speed depends upon WiFi module your device is using, these two are completely different things.

      • Bhai g wo 150mbps device ki connecting speed hy agr aapka network itna data afford kry ga to 150mbps aaye gi or jitny b 4g networks hain wo abhi b 4g ready k phase me he hy ju ju ye aapni speeds up kr rhy hy 4g ki trf ja rahay hain abhi tk koi b network fully 4g tk upgrade nhi hua warna aapko itni speeds mil jati

      • Lol… Ali Asghar sahab kia hogaya hai aapko… When Zong started its 4G serives. They provided nearly 100 Mbps. I personally used at that time and Speed test was showing 99 Mbps.

      • Not necessary brother, I get upto 70 mbps on zong LTE. I got 70mb in Khanewal, a not so big city

  • Telenor 4G maximum download speed in DHA Lahore = 1.5 Mbps
    Telenor 3G maximum download speed in DHA Lahore = 0.75 Mbps

    Tell me again, how to unlock “the 4G potential”? ?

      • Why you even need impressive 4g speed in DHA you guys have fiber internet infrastructure. further more you need to test speed from Californian servers not local Pakistani servers. As most websites are hosted in America’s west cost.

  • Their strategy sucks big time. They should update their system to latest technology like Zong did. Stop selling stupid dongles & WiFi’s we have enough of them in Pakistan. Telenor was onced considered the best mobile network in Pakistan but not anymore. Telenor internet is not good as it should be. They have 4G in very limited areas of Pakistan. They should also improve their customer care services, their staff don’t like listening to their customers.

  • They are reducing MBs of packages and increasing prices. And still they think to compete Zong.

      • Zong offers 1 GB in day time offer. Telenor reduced it to 750 and now from last week they reduced further to 500 MBs. Zong still offers 2GB for a week in Rs. 100. And Telenor’s highest internet bundle is 4GB I checked today on their app.

        I don’t know how Telenor is cheap.

        • You should check djuice weekly bundle. In Rs 85 they give 1.2 gb plus 100rs bal to call all networks. Plus they give 100 mb free everyday for 4g. Also in Rs125 they give 2.5 gb plus 50 rs call balance plus 100 telenor mins. Also telenor MBB bundles are still the same ie 55gb in Rs2200. Is zong still cheap than telenor?

          • Have you checked djuice hybrid bundles call rates? And where are daily packages? In weekly packages Zong is giving 2GB internet and 50 all net minutes in Rs. 100.
            And on data sims Zong is still offering 50 GB in 2000.

            And don’t compare Telenor’s speed with Zong.

            • Rates are fine. I activate Rs 85 package and get 1.2 gb and 100rs bal which equals around 40 mins to all network. You calculate the same on zong and it il be expensive. Telenor speed is good enough for YouTube and browsing. 1 gb main ap ne torrenting karne hai kia?

                • agar ap ke area main sai nai tu kia pura network kharab ho gya? In khi clifton only jazz have good signals. Zong and telenor both are unable to make even calls. telenor4G is flawless in my area but it doesnt matter what speed is coz both network can easily play vdos without buffering.

                • Faisalabad mein shaid sab se low quality telenor internet ki hai hai….
                  kisi jagah tou 3g show hi nahi hota…. hamary area mein zong & mobilink chaltay hain……..Ufone bhi bus avain hi hai

                • Same here in multan . 144p video is hardly played on youtube on telenor in multan.worst 3g and worst 4g is of telenor .most unreliable .

                • Agree Mujhy ChenOne Road py Speed Nhi milti is liay me ab Warid 3G use kr rha hon Due to Speed
                  Better than Telenor in Speed at Least :)

            • ///And on data sims Zong is still offering 50 GB in 2000///

              Zong updated it to 2500 a month ago.

                • just checked with helpline and even with their sales staff of MBB/data sims. They say its 2500Rs for 50gb now. You can even check zongs website. Also that pathetic day time offer is also gone from their website. Its time based offer for 4pm only. For 24hours offer they give 100mb for 15rs which telenor4G give for free everyday

                    • Helpline aur salesman dono se pocha hai. Ap ka koi zong main hai tu 2000 main lagwa lo

                  • 100 MB free is only available at newly covered areas. No more available in Faisalabad.

                    • Telenor is a fucking bad company. They are giving 100 MBs free on 4G daily. Whenever I turn on data it shows 4G since I am in 4G coverage area. And as soon as I turn on data I receive sms that I am using internet on standard rates. And according to live chat their system says I am not in 4G coverage area. Thats why I am being charged. Stupid company

                    • And Telenor help lone people are jokers. On 345 they are saying that 100 MB free 4G offer has expired. Lols what a group of jokers.

                • Aaj telenor k payroll pe boht log aaye hue hn . But telenor ko pata hona chahye k ase propakistani pe 2 4 comments karwana se kuch nhn hota .network quality deni parti ha

  • The future is with Jazz and Zong and I am seeing no chance for Telenor and Ufone. They way Zong and Jazz are getting aggressive and getting so many port ins from Telenor and Ufone they both will be the only competitors in Pakistan. Jazz is re framing its spectrum and here in Karachi, i got 18-20 MBps speed on Jazz 4G which is quit good.

  • All Indian handsets are 850Mhz 4G band supported..

    i am using Jio’s 850Mhz 4G band network coverage is awesome.
    speed is also best because of carrier aggregation with 1800mhz 4G band.

    Indian handset maker also launched 4G VoLTE feature phone under Rs1,999 INR.

    Reliance Jio also planning to launch 4G VoLTE feature phone under Rs999 to Rs1,499 INR.

      • Naveed bhai YouTube pe jio ki speedtest dekh len in most areas people getting 2-3 Mbps downloading and around 1.5 Mbps uploading speed.

            • woh sab Jio k starting k time the..
              now jio have stable network..

              one more thing jio give free 4G service and India ki population kitna hai pata hai na ?? saare freeloaders jio 4G pe aa gaya hai..

              just think tumhare pakistan me zong ya warid 3months k liye free 4G service de, bina koi paise liye.. phir speed kitna milega ??
              saare pakistan k log free zong 4G use krne lage toh ??

              Airtel ki speed best hai becoz airtel ka service koi use nhi kr raha hai..
              Supreme Court of India me saare airtel, vodafone & idea mil k case kr diya hai jio k free service k uppar but jio phir bhi case Jeet gaya :D :D

              Jio ki actual speed 90Mbps+ hai but free service k chalte 2-3Mbps pe aa gaya hai.. but still good bcoz its free 4G service.

              anywyz mujhe Jio pe average speed 20Mbps+ milta hai..
              max 50-70Mbps milta hai.

              jo log metro cities me rheta hai ya jio k free users jada hai woha pe 2-3Mbps mil raha hai.

              kuch logo ko band bhi change krne nhi aata hai jio 850mhz, 1800mhz & 2300mhz 4G band pe chalta hai..

              redmi phones me 4G band change krna blocked hai, without root change bhi nhi hota.. and redmi phone by default hamesa 1800mhz band select kr leta hai.. jisme users jada rheta hai and speed nhi milta.

              so Jio’s free 4G service speed depend on location & phone handset too.

                • yup but who subscribe before discountinuation will remain eligible for the offer.

                  i was recharged Rs499 INR plan which gives 2GB per day for 3 months Jio Summer Surprise offer + 4th month 499 plan applicable.

                  so, Rs499 INR plan gives total 4months 4G (2GB/day + free calling, free sms, free live TV on jiotv apps, etc)

                  All jio plans are started after 16th april 2017, till then all service are free.

  • Telenor should focus on 3g coverage and network improvement. Very poor 3g performance in sargodha city.

  • Wingle pay 1 year wala package chahiy 9000 mein 25gb per month because zong 18000 mein 50gb per month dy raha ha !

  • Telenor and others can only save themselves by switching off their 2g and 3g networks and switch to 4g VOLte otherwise the problem will persist.

    • Telenor will loose 85% customers than because their 26% users are on 3G/4G and 4G customers are less than 1 percent right now (300,000). And I highly doubt that even 10% telenor users hold 4G mobile because their main customers are in rural areas.

      Zong has highest ratio of 3G/4G users which are 38% of their total subscription. And if Zong maintained its 2G to 3G/4G conversion rate, they can touch 60% mark in 2020-2021. And will be in very position to phase out 2G or even 3G because all smartphones will have 4G support than.

      • InsaAllah telenor will lose its market share they are just making money with worst quality. Let see now which operator will provide best quality. Previously only one up to mark and stable was Warid. But jazz might not maintain its standards.

        • you should pray and hope that all companies should do batter else there il be more mergers so more expensive rates and less quality

          • Its not matter of pray it matter their strategy. Which will lead them in worst situation. Still they are following the same path and its now clear from the result. Just go through the whole comment of this post. Count by your self how many people are satisfied from telenor PK.

  • I left telenor as their 3g speed was below par as compared to others. Their intended market is the rural ,layman people with daily offers and slighly less rates but quality of service is very poor.
    The second being their 4g band coverage is limited to the new phones , but the rest of the previous lot doesn’t support it.

  • ek waqt tha jab Ali Zafar k Ads atay thy tub Telenor bohat acha tha ab signal bohat kharab hain Telenor k awaz break hoti hai jab call karo signal mar jatay hain aur phir ye talkshawk or d-juice ka drama banaya hua hai call packages talkshawk me ache hain or internet packages d-juice k ache hain jab network ek hai to talkshawk d-juice wala drama kyun???????

  • Telenor offers crap 3G service but their coverage in rural areas is good. It helps me connect to the internet at my village where i get no 3G signals of any other cellular company.

    Video streaming on Telenor 3G is poor but sites open just fine. I use download manager to suck juice at 400 – 900 KB/s without any external antenna.

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