Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mobile Internet Revolution in Pakistan

“The times they are a-changin’,” said Steve Jobs in a recent e-mail exchange on Apple's iPhone, “and some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away. It is.”

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has started talking up his company's new motto "Mobile First", urging its developers to start creating versions of new services for smartphones before converting to run on PCs.

"There is a huge thirst for smartphones in emerging markets," Microsoft said in a statement. "For many people, the phone rather than the PC is the main entry point to the Internet, resulting in a high demand for rich communication devices. In order to meet this demand, we have teamed up with MediaTek to facilitate the provision of affordable smartphones," the company added.



As the smart phones prepare to take center stage among computing and Internet access devices, there seems to be a rare consensus emerging among the American technology titans at Apple, Google and Microsoft that the smart phone will be the primary device used to access the Internet...particularly as it relates to demand in the developing world where mobile phones have much higher levels of affordability and market penetration than the personal computers. A logical outcome of such a consensus is the increasingly fierce competition which will significantly drive down the cost and dramatically increase availability of smart phones globally, particularly the developing nations like India and Pakistan where the telecom companies are already building mobile broadband networks. PTCL currently offers 3G service in Pakistan, and a 3G license auction is planned for this year to add more service providers. In addition, the growth of Wi-Fi in South Asia will be an added low-cost data option for smartphones.

BlackBerry service is offered by a number of telecom service providers and widely available in Pakistan's cities, towns and villages. Last year, Time magazine reported from Faridkot, a Pakistani village, that "straddles a paved road about 2 1⁄2 hours' drive from Lahore, and two new gas stations mark the village boundaries. Beyond those are factories and fertile farmland. There is even BlackBerry service". However, the high cost of Blackberry device and mobile Internet service limits it to only about 60,000 elite subscribers in a nation of over 100 million subscribers, about 64% of the population. India, with about 50% cell phone penetration, has nearly 400,000 Blackberry user. The number of Internet users can be expected to rise exponentially as affordability significantly increases to satisfy what Microsoft calls "a huge thirst for smartphones in emerging markets".

The key cost reduction drivers are likely to be similar to the ones seen in the earlier PC battle in 1990s between Wintel (Windows on Intel) and Apple Mac platforms which I personally observed and enabled as a CPU pioneer at Intel. While Macintosh represented a major advance in ease of use with Apple controlling it, the Wintel platform opened up hardware competition with multiple vendors leading to lower prices and tremendous growth in terms of applications and hardware availability. In this new era, the two biggest entries are expected to be Apple iPhone and Google Android, with each trying to outdo the other in terms of ease of use, number of applications and prices.

While Apple currently enjoys dramatic iPhone growth, it's future market share is likely to suffer from the cost barriers it is building into its pricing model which designed to maximize its profits with ongoing revenue stream from third-party content. According to Newsweek, there’s only one place where anyone can buy iPhone apps: Apple’s online App Store. And Jobs keeps a 30 percent cut of the revenue. As for ads, Jobs will sell those, too, and he’ll keep 40 percent. Of course, Jobs also sells music, movies, and books via his iTunes Store, keeping 30 percent. So instead of a one-time sale of a Mac, each iPhone and iPad becomes an ongoing revenue stream.



Currently, Q1/2010 market data shows that Apple iPhone and Google Android are running neck and neck, each selling at an yearly rate of 36 million phones each, while RIM's Blackberry is slightly ahead with about 40 million phones a year. Nokia (Symbian OS) still leads the pack with sales of 86 million smartphones a year. The overall smartphone shipments of about 230 million units still lag the 275 million PCs sold annually. However, a number of forecasters expect smartphones annual sales to equal or exceed PC unit sales by 2011.



Currently, only 7% of Indians and 11% of Pakistanis have the Internet access, according to ITU. Growth in the Internet access anticipated via smartphones can open up a vast new world to a larger number of South Asians. Smartphones have the potential to spur mass literacy, significantly improve health, enable wider access to financial services, help enhance human productivity and afford new opportunities for e-learning for human development to reduce poverty. Growth of Mobile Internet with availability of a new wave of smartphone applications in India and Pakistan has the potential to revolutionize South Asia.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Wireless Broadband in Pakistan

Phone Fight

Mobile Internet in Pakistan

Media and Telecom Growth in Pakistan

Poverty Reduction Through Telecom Access

Pakistan's Telecom Boom

Pakistan Tops Text Message Growth

WiMax Rollout in Pakistan

Mobile Internet in Pakistan

Low Literacy Threatens Pakistan's Future

Gender Gap in South Asia

Mobile Financial Services in Pakistan

Financial Services in Pakistan

Distance Learning in Pakistan

Top 5 ICT4D Trends in 2010

ICT4D in Pakistani Hospital

ITCN Asia 2010 Conference in Karachi

State of Telecom Industry in Pakistan

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40 Comments:

Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuter's story on smartphone price declines:

A new wave of cheap smartphones could soon do for the mobile industry what years of hype and investing in pricey 3G systems failed to accomplish -- combining must-have chic with affordable prices for data-hungry masses.

Prices of smartphones are falling sharply as handset vendors use free software such as Google Inc's Android and chip prices are also tumbling as semiconductor makers put baseband and application processors into one chipset.

Free software is significant since Microsoft Corp charges up to $15 per phone for cellphone vendors to use its mobile operating system.

China's ZTE, which cut its teeth making cheap phones for emerging markets, aims to repeat that success in smartphones with a new model it is putting on trial for about $150 per handset, said He Shiyou, head of the company's cellphone division.

The model, using Google's Android operating system, is expected to start shipping next month and could be sold globally, he said at the Reuters Technology Summit on Monday.

ZTE's phones will join a growing crop of cheaper but still intelligent phones designed to take on the likes of pricier traditional models such as Apple Inc's iPhone, which costs more than $600, and Research in Motion Ltd's BlackBerry, which typically costs $250 or more.

"It will have tremendous importance when smartphones come down to maybe $100 to $150, then you can reach all (consumer) segments," Johan Wibergh, who heads the mobile networking equipment division at Ericsson, the world's largest cellular equipment maker, said at the Summit, which was taking place at various Reuters offices worldwide.

ZTE's cheap smartphone, which it is developing for domestic carrier China Unicom , follows similar moves by a number of companies and could mark the beginning of a new wave of phones to enter the market priced at around $100 to $150.

Global cellphone leader Nokia Oyj already sells a model whose price starts at 125 euros, while Chinese vendors are expected to take prices into largely uncharted territory.

"We are going to have an Android device for 85 euros ($105) by the end of the year," Oren Nissim, chief executive of satnav software maker Telmap, told the Reuters Summit in Paris, but he declined to name the manufacturer.

Telmap and many other major mobile software vendors have access to upcoming phone models well before they are introduced to the general public.

ZTE, NOKIA, HUAWEI, GOOGLE TO WIN

The expected boom should benefit companies such as ZTE, Nokia and China's Huawei that have expertise developing models for cost-sensitive emerging markets and have the manufacturing clout to develop new models cheaply.

"The market is seeing an abundance of affordable smartphones, but that raises a new challenge for operators in how to make data tariffs attractive and accessible on prepay," said CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber.

It could also benefit carriers with 3G networks who stand to reap more money from the data-rich services, such as online gaming, music streaming and Web surfing, that such smartphones are good at.

Ericsson and other network equipment providers could benefit too as carriers boost capacity on their networks to accommodate rising demand.

Another possible beneficiary is Google, as its Android system is fast becoming the preferred choice of many low-end smartphone makers.

"Cheaper smartphone prices are only going to benefit two groups of people: telecoms operators and Google," said Vincent Chen, an analyst at Yuanta Securities in Taipei.

"Falling smartphone prices aren't going to be good for handset brands and they'll need to get used to these cheaper prices and lower margins soon," he said.

June 22, 2010 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan PTCL has recieved consumer choice award for its EVO 3G service, according to Pak Observer:

Karachi—Pakistan Telecommunication Company LTD (PTCL) has won Best Consumer Choice Award 2010 for its product “EVO”, that is the fastest wireless broadband service with the widest coverage, in over 100 cities of the Pakistan. Pakistani consumers have chosen EVO a world class and exclusive device as a recipient of, Consumers Choice Award in the category of Best Wireless Broadband. Federal Minister Makhdoom Amin Faheem presented the shield to SEVP South Abdullah Youseff. The Consumers Choice Award is celebrating its 6th successful year in the country and has become the most recognized and prestigious event of the country’s business calendar.

PTCL has always laid special focus on delivering the best to its customers by providing the most affordable means of communication and a truly reliable and technology wise superior network. With the substantial market share, loyal subscriber base and the recognition as the only integrated telecommunications service provider, PTCL continues to set excellence benchmarks in the Telecom Industry of Pakistan. The commercial launch of EVO Nitro 3G offering speed upto 9.3 mbps,which is unexampled and one and the only fastest and most widely available wireless service in Pakistan that meets needs of the next generation for ultimate speed along with superior, matchless and extraordinary performance.

PTCL President and CEO - Walid Irshaid while acknowledging this achievement, highlighted pragmatic approach of PTCL and stated that PTCL understands the changing dynamics of the telecommunication sector and is working towards foreseeing our customer’s needs and fulfilling them. The selection of EVO in the category of Best Wireless Broadband in Consumer Choice Award for ‘2010’ is an acknowledgement of that. EVO 3G Wireless Broadband is Pakistan’s fastest on the double wireless internet offering its customers superior, venerable, advanced and a cutting edge 3G internet experience with its unprecedented speed. It has revolutionized the three simple steps just plug in-click-connect of wireless connectivity for our valued customers. Pakistan is the first country in the world of telecommunication to commercially launch EVO 3G Nitro, the fastest wireless broadband with seamless roaming having speed up to 9.3mbps.

January 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM  
Anonymous SmartPhones.pk said...

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February 6, 2011 at 11:40 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

There are over a million broadband subscribers in Pakistan, according to PTCL:

Pakistani Internet Service Providers crossed one million mark for broadband internet subscribers in the country by totaling 1.052 million broadband subscribers in October 2010, up from 994,911 subscribers in September 2010, according to the recent most data provided by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

DSL companies added the most subscribers for broadband and stood at 516,167 subscribers in October 2010, up from 488,946 in September 2010.

EvDO service providers added a total of 15,540 subscribers in one month, while WiMAX companies added a total of 14,066 subscribers in the month. Total number of WiMAX subscribers in the country has hit 306,665 mark, up from 292,599 a month ago.

DSL remains the top technology used for broadband internet in the country, while WiMAX stands seconds. EvDO is swiftly adding its share for the broadband subscribers.

HFC and FTTH remains the lowest adding subscribers technologies in the country.

February 20, 2011 at 10:51 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

According the LIRNEasia’s 2011 Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) survey, stakeholders in India, Pakistan and Indonesia have identified the telecom regulatory environments in their countries as improved since 2008, the last time the survey was carried out. In contrast, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines have seen the regulatory environments decline in effectiveness, while Thailandremains more-or-less the same.

The TRE Survey asks senior level stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of the telecom regulatory environment in the fixed, mobile and broadband subsectors along a Lickert scale of 1 to 5 (1 being highly ineffective and 5 being highly effective, with the mid-point of 3 being considered average performance). Seven different dimensions of regulation (market entry, tariff regulation, interconnection, universal service, anti-competitive-practices, quality of service) are evaluated by the stakeholders. This year, 349 responded participated in the 7 countries.

Within a country, scores for each of the dimensions reflect specific issues: for example, in India, the lowest score (of 2.3 out of 5) was received by the Access to Scarce Resources dimension in the mobile-sub-sector. This is perhaps not surprising given the 2G scandals in India. However, India did finally get around to allocating 3G spectrum in 2010, and did so by having its first ever spectrum auctions. Perhaps because of this, or because stakeholders believe that that the 2G scandal has finally paved way for transparency in allocation, the score of 2.3 this year is still an improvement, though marginal, over the 2008 score of 2.2. India’s USD 4 billion+ undisbursed Universal Service Fund and related policies are responsible for its biggest TRE score decline: the TRE for USO drops from 3.1 in 2008 to 2.4 this year. In contrast, tariff regulation in the mobile sub-sector continues to be the top performer with a score of 3.9 out of 5.0, indicating stakeholder satisfaction at TRAI’s policy of forbearance which has enabled Indian consumers to enjoy extremely low prices thanks to competitive forces.

Pakistan saw an increased in almost all dimensions, with the exception of 3 (fixed market entry, mobile access to scarce resources and mobile interconnection) which showed minor declines. In contrast, Bangladesh saw scores in all seven fixed-subsector dimensions decline, in some cases by as much as 1 point. The scores are perhaps reflective of the issues related to the cancellation of several fixed licenses. Overall only seven dimensions showed improvements in Bangladesh, and even these were marginal. Thailand, whose overall performance is unchanged, has however seen significant declines in its Market Entry scores due the uncertainties caused by the concession contracts granted to the mobile operators and what their status would be when they expire starting next year.

http://lirneasia.net/2011/07/india-pakistan-and-indonesia-have-improved-telecom-regulatory-environments-since-2008-according-to-stakeholders/

July 16, 2011 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

As part of the mobile broadband promotion campaign, PTCL's EVO-WiFi Cloud at 3G speeds (upto 3.1 Mbps) offers a mobile hotspot that intelligently converts your home/work/vehicle space into a personalized wifi zone anywhere in over 100 Pakistani cities and towns covered by EVO service. The EVO-WiFi cloud device costs Rs. 7000 upfront with Rs. 2000 a month for unlimited service.

PTCL has recently launched an Android based thin Apple iPAD2 like tablet computer with EVO 3G and WiFi connectivity built-in. 3G EVO Tab is a 7 inch touch screen tablet with built-in EVO service to offer wireless broadband internet on the go in more than 100 cities and towns across Pakistan. Powered by Google Android Froyo 2.2 Operating system, 3G EVO Tab offers support for both 3G and Wi-Fi for an un-interrupted on-the-go connectivity. With a 5 MegaPixel Camera, a variety of built-in applications, 3G EVO Tab lets users browse, snap, share, communicate, navigate, play games and do a lot more on-the go, thereby making it an ideal connectivity solution for users looking for high speed on-the-go 3G connectivity on an Android platform. PTCL 3G EVO Tab offers convenience and speed with three diverse economy packages to suit individual needs and pockets. Its 12-month bundle offer has been very successful with majority sales in this bracket.Customers can get EVO Tab for as low as Rs 7,999 plus 12-month unlimited EVO service, all at Rs 31,999. In addition to the 12-month contract, EVO Tab offers bundled packages based on 3 and 6 month contracts at Rs 27,999 and Rs 29,999, respectively with 3 and 6 month of unlimited EVO service.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/10/pakistan-launches-100-mbps-ftth.html

October 25, 2011 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here are parts of a Business Recorder report on mobile broadband prospects:

....Commenting on the adoption of new technologies by MNOs, Yaseen (PTA Chairman) asserts "the time has come for the introduction of 3G and 4G technology in the country".
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"As long as the MNOs are not hurting the interests of customers, PTA does not actively regulate rates charged by them" reveals the PTA chairman, explaining that in the past when Mobilink was the only MNO in the local market, its rates were regulated much more stringently by the regulatory body, but that this practice was abandoned with the deregulation of this sector.

On the other hand, Yaseen insists that the regulator is very much involved in ensuring that customers' complaints and feedback are heeded.

He highlights that "PTA is the only regulator in the country that has specific regulations and mechanisms in place to address customers' grievances in the form of the Customer Protection Department (CPD)".

Focus on low costs, newer technology

Acknowledging that costs related to infrastructure development have gone up for MNOs, he lauded recent moves by different cellular service providers to share infrastructure.

He said that not only would such arrangements help lower costs for these companies, but also they would allow better coverage across the country when service providers move into un-served or under-served areas.
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When asked whether rising costs and a slower pace of growth in the number of cellular subscribers could force out some competitors from the local market, Yaseen responds, "although I personally believe that the size of the local market is big enough to accommodate all existing MNOs; still the market forces will determine the optimum number of operators for the local market".

While Yaseen appreciates the efforts of the industry in infrastructure development, he calls on policy makers to "go into 700 and 800 megahertz spectrums as the capital expenditure required in these spectrums is relatively low and they also supported 4G technology adequately".

The chairman explains that these bandwidths require lesser infrastructure to cover the same distance when compared to higher bandwidths.

He adds that higher spectrums can be tapped once economies of scale emerge and the use of smart phones becomes more popular in the local market.

Communication: a basic human right

"When it comes to broadband services, we believe the whole nation is currently under served and should be classified as such," he says adding that "the operators should be subsidised to enhance broadband services in the country."

Yaseen asserts that "communication is a basic right of every citizen so even if there is a small, secluded village in Balochistan, they should still be provided fixed line as well as broadband services." Chairman PTA also believes that the development of the required infrastructure can be practically achieved "because in the form of USF, the funds needed are available".

Muhammad Yaseen also highlights that enhanced coverage of telecommunications networks across the country can be leveraged to turn the country into a communication hub that can connect China and other East Asian countries to other regions.
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"There are about 20 million smart phones connected to our networks at present, so any operator entering into the 4G realm can count on a prospective market among these connections," says Yaseen, adding that "the total size of the Australian market is 20 million subscribers." He concludes that "even if ARPU is low, the number of subscribers still provides lucrative opportunities in this sector!"


http://www.brecorder.com/component/news/single/592/0/1260076/

December 11, 2011 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

PTCL launches Android smartphone, reports Technomaniac website:

A start of a new year and a launch of a new product by PTCL. This time it’s a Android smartphone with EVO 3G built in. This is the third device in a series of products based on the PTCL EVO internet service, first it was the Futura mobile phone luanched by the subsidiary of PTCL i.e Ufone (which was a featurephone btw) and then a EVO tablet on 14th August last year.

The name of the device is IVIO Icon Pro and it seems like it is made by the same company that made the EVO tablet.

- EVO 3G speeds

- Ability to talk and surf at the same time.

- Android 2.2 Froyo Smartphone

- 5 MP Autofocus camera

- WiFi Hotspot facilty

- 3.5 inch 480*320 resolution screen

- 256 MB RAM & 512 MB Flash ROM

- Free 4 GB microSD card (Supports upto 32GB)

- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, Accelerometer

- Upto 5 hrs talktime and 100 hours standby

- And best of all, you can use this device with any SIM of your choice!

Price and Packages

Launch Packages

Evo Wind
Rs. 18,000 Phone + 15 GB data – 6 months validity

Evo Wings
Rs. 17,000 Phone + 5 GB data – 3 months validity


Post launch offers

Smart 5 GB
3 months validity Only Rs. 999!

Smart 15 GB
6 months validity Only Rs. 1,999!


http://www.techomaniac.com/2012/01/ptcl-launches-android-smartphone-with.html

February 6, 2012 at 6:25 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune story for PTA's case for 3G auction:

While the expert stressed on developing content for 3G, PTA argued launching the spectrum will automatically lead to content development.

“Demand for data is increasing and the availability of infrastructure (3G) will enhance usage of data services and improve the content development, which will make business case for a new player,” PTA’s chairman Mohammed Yaseen said.

The PTA chief also said it was a misconception that the average revenue per user (ARPU) is low in Pakistan. “The ARPU of voice services for 2G should be relevant to economies of scale,” he said, adding, “3G enhances ARPU in any case. There are case studies of developing countries where introduction of 3G increases the ARPUs of operators like in Egypt.”

Pakistanis, Yaseen said, are already using 17 million smart phones. The import and adoption of smart phones is very high and is increasing every year while more people are using tablets, he said. The use of these devices is not expected to decrease by any chance, which means appetite for “wireless high speed internet on move” will also increase; he said.

Additionally, Yaseen said, there are consumers who want to use data services on their handsets. However, they have either not subscribed to it or subscribed to it but don’t use it because of low speed and freezing of the operating system – Last year’s BBM outages frustrated the users for example.

Personal Computer (PC) internet usage is stagnant for the last three years due to cost of PC, he said. However, the internet usage by mobile phones is increasing exponentially, he said, presently 13 million people are using mobile internet. “It shows the growth potential of mobile phone internet usage,” he added.

Presently the data contributions to the ARPU range from 12% to 17% as calculated by PTA, he said.

The experts have also argued the base price – $210 million – is high. The base price, PTA chief said, was calculated keeping in view various factors and international best practices and was smaller than some markets of smaller economies where 3G was auctioned.

Whether or not a new player should enter the market is debatable. The existing players, however, seem to be gearing up for the much delayed auction. Mobilink, Ufone and Zong have confirmed their participation and even upgraded their telecom hardware to 3G.

Despite the global economic recession, there is an enabling environment for cellular business in Pakistan; Mobilink president Rashid Khan said. Referring to the base price for 3G auction, he added, it was reasonable and determined on the basis of telecom policy.

Ufone will be the first to compete for a 3G license in Pakistan; said Walid Irshaid who is the CEO and President of PTCL – parent company of Ufone. “We have no option but to succeed,” he said. It is going to be really difficult for the 2G “leftover” operators in the post-3G environment, Irshad said, because high revenue-generating subscribers would switch over to 3G networks.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/352827/feasibility-pta-makes-a-business-case-for-3g-spectrum-in-pakistan/

March 21, 2012 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s teledensity crosses 70pc mark, reports Daily Times:

KARACHI: Teledensity in Pakistan crossed the 70 percent mark by end of February 2012 mainly on the growing subscriptions of cellular mobile phone companies in urban and rural areas of the country, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) data said on Saturday.

The teledensity of cellular phone stood at 67.2 percent; wireless sector teledensity reached at 1.8 percent and landline teledensity settled at 1.6 percent, making overall teledensity at 70.6 percent.

Pakistan’s teledensity is the second highest in South Asia after India that reached 78.10 percent. It remained on top among the region till January 2011 with modest annual growth, however corrective measures and saturated markets slowed down its growth.

The teledensity is defined as the number of customers per 100 people. Hence it is roughly said that 70 percent of the population own and avail telephony services through different technologies.

The mobile phone connection has risen to 116 million on different networks, constituting the lion’s share in the field of telecom sector in terms of subscribers and their technology selection.

Similarly, the wireless phone companies have increased their number of connections to 2.7 million by February whereas the landline connections decreased to stand at 2.9 million in the country.

In the cellular sector, Mobilink grabbed the largest subscribers’ base with 35.2 million. It was followed by Telenor and Ufone with 28.8 million and 22.4 million connections, respectively. The subscribers’ number of Zong and Warid stood at 14.9 million and 14.6 million users, respectively.

Analysts in the telecom sector said that the growth in cellular subscribers’ base showed the penetration of the mobile phone operators in the rural and small areas besides the metropolis.

They said that mobile phone users of multiple SIMs have been on the rise for availing on-net calls and SMS packages of different networks for affordability and increasing services utility.

Besides, there are millions of connections inactive for months but the cellular operators try to reactivate them by offering free balance to subscribers. In this regard, the cellular operators have introduced several prize schemes to attract new and retaining customers to maintain their growing base.

In the wireless sector, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) and TeleCard are market leaders with 1.43 million and 0.743 million, respectively. In the landline sector, PTCL and NTC are market leaders with 2.7 million and 104 million connections, respectively.

The wireless operators’ competitive packages in the limited cities witnessed gradual growth particularly on daily consumption against fixed charges. On the contrary, the landline sector witnessed constant decline in connections on the services issues, high tariff and line rent.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\04\15\story_15-4-2012_pg5_8

http://www.pta.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=269&Itemid=658

April 14, 2012 at 5:08 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Al-Arabiya report on Bannu Jail inmates with cell phones & Internet access to Facebook & blogosphere:

A high profile Pakistani prisoner, who escaped on Sunday along with 383 other inmates, was reportedly contributing to several social networking sites including Facebook and blog sites while he was in prison, a report revealed late Monday.

Adnan Rashid was on death row at Bannu Central Prison in northwestern Pakistan for his alleged attempt to assassinate former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2003.

But despite the high profile charges against him, Rashid enjoyed the use of cell phones inside the death cell he was held in, allowing him to keep in touch with several journalists through text messaging, the Pakistan-based Dawn news website reported.

Rashid, a former junior technician of the Pakistan Air Force, was among some 384 prisoners who escaped early Sunday from the jail after an attack by insurgents armed with guns, grenades and rockets, officials said.

The attack, claimed by Pakistan’s Taliban movement, started at around 1:00 a.m. (2000 GMT) and continued for two hours, with militants in cars and pick-up trucks shooting and lobbing grenades to force their way into the prison, a senior security official told AFP news agency.

“We have freed hundreds of our comrades in Bannu in this attack. Several of our people have reached their destinations, others are on their way,” a Taliban spokesman said on Sunday.

Rashid was arrested in early 2004 on charges of the alleged assassination attempt, but had continued to plead his innocence while in prison, claiming “that his only crime was that he had voted ‘No’ in the referendum held by the then military president Gen. Musharraf,” the Dawn reported.

As a prisoner, he was questioned by the media in interviews uploaded on to social networking site Facebook, in which he argued against flaws in laws concerning the Pakistani army, air force and navy, while urging the Supreme Court to intervene in his case and those of others who had been detained with him.

In one letter to the Chief Justice, Rashid claimed that at the time of the assassination attempt, he was on duty in Quetta and was picked up by intelligence personnel.

He had recently sent a text message to a group of recipients, who were not identified by the newspaper, which states: “There are millions of cases pending before high courts and Supreme Court, 99.9 percent of these are actually appeals against verdicts of lower courts. Billions of rupees are being spent on higher civil courts so why not this judicial system is replaced by military courts; these are swift, require no judge, no special courtrooms or bars, and most interesting court martial are unchallengeable so no more need of high and supreme courts. It saves time and money of nation. What do you think? From a court martial convict.”


http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/04/17/208348.html

April 17, 2012 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Telenor to help empower new digital generation in Pakistan, reports Daily Times:

LAHORE: Telenor Pakistan has launched a nationwide project that would help empower a new digital generation in Pakistan.

Telenor Talkshawk I-Champ is a knowledge-based initiative that aims to provide learning and training to young people to enable them to become future proponents in the digital age. Telenor will partner with Government of the Punjab and hold Internet workshops for class 8-10 students in 150 schools in the semi-urban and rural areas of Punjab. To mark the initiative, a launch event was held at Children’s Library Complex, which was attended by a large number of school children, their parents and teachers.

Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly, Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan said government of the Punjab was committed to providing its citizens with quality education. The students were briefed on how the Internet works and how information can be searched for on internet-enabled mobile phones.

Acting Chief Marketing Officer Telenor Pakistan, Usman Javed said, “We are delighted to be partnering with the Government of Punjab to start promoting digital awareness among the youth of the province”. The winner of the Telenor Talkshawk I-Champ final competition will get to visit Opera Labs in Norway to learn more about how the Internet is being used by people around the world to share knowledge.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\05\13\story_13-5-2012_pg5_11

May 15, 2012 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on Huawei launching smartphones in Pakistan:

Huawei, a leading player in telecommunication is all set to launch 5 touch screen Android mobile phones in Pakistani market on July 16 in Lahore. The models are expected to be Ascend P1, U8860 Honor, U8850 Vision, Ascend G300, Ascend Y200.

Huawei has long been present in Pakistan providing network solutions to cellular operators. Although it has floated lower price handsets as a part of bundle offers in association with the leading cellular operators in Pakistan but this is the first official launch of Huawei’s smartphones in the local market. We cannot rule out the possibility of making available these smartphones as a bundle offer through cellular operators as being one of the largest network equipment provider in the world Huawei already has strong ties with the cellular operators.

Ascend P1 is the finest among all 5 having 7.7 mm thin body, Quad-band GSM and penta-band 3G with HSPA support, 4.3″ 16M-color capacitive Super AMOLED touchscreen, latest stable flavor Android OS v4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash, Standard 3.5 mm audio jack; Dolby Mobile 3.0+, SNS integration and everything else that what Android offers.

A little lower in price is U8860 Honor that is 11 mm in total and offers TFT capacitive touchscreen of 4.0 inches and 480 x 854 pixels of display, 1 GB storage, 512 MB RAM, 4 GB ROM, Qualcomm 1.4 GHz Scorpion, Android OS, v2.3 (Gingerbread), 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, SNS integration and much more.

With Huawei joining the scene, it will be a good sign for the local market where Samsung leads the smartphone category (thanks to Galaxy series) followed by HTC offering a wide range of smartphones.

As Nokia no more considered to be a challenge soon in the future and particularly after the fall of MegaGate, Q Mobile appears to be a third contender for a pie in the local Android market which is getting charged up with low priced Android based mobilephones.

Market analysts believe that Huawei with huge funds and better R&D will be a much better competitor for Samsung and HTC. It may knock out QMobile in the first round provided the distribution and sales network perform as per expectation. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see how market reacts to this new entrant.

We have heard that expected price range of Huawei’ upcoming smartphones is PKR. 9,500 to PKR. 42,000.


http://www.moremag.pk/2012/07/14/huawei-launching-5-android-smartphones-in-pakistan-with-competitive-prices/

August 7, 2012 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's 2012 BMI research report on consumer electronics market in Pakistan:

BMI expects the Pakistan consumer electronics market will grow by around 9% in 2012, with strongdemand for smartphones, flat screen TV sets, and tablets providing growth, despite an expectedslowdown in private consumption. The Pakistani consumer electronics market has considerable potential,but this is constrained by a large grey market, poor IP protection, an unstable economic and securitysituation, and weak distribution channels. Reforming high national and provincial taxes and tariffs onproducts ranging from computers to prepaid mobile cards would boost the market. The long-term marketdrivers include a rising population and growing affordability and demand for consumer electronics goodsis also influenced by trends from Middle Eastern markets.

Headline Expenditure Projections Computer sales: US$309mn in 2011 to US$331mn in 2012, +7% inUS dollar terms. Forecast in US dollar terms upwardly revised, despite a high level of illegal imports.AV sales: US$645mn in 2011 to US$710mn in 2012, +10% in US dollar terms. Forecast in US dollarterms upwardly revised, with the main driver being demand for flat-screen TV sets.

Handset sales: US$750mn in 2011 to US$816mn in 2012, +12% in US dollar terms. Forecast in USdollar terms upwardly revised, but despite the popularity of smartphones, most handsets are sold at lessthan US$50.

Risk/Reward Rating: Pakistan’s score was 28 out of 100.0, with low CE market and Country Structureratings dragging down high Potential Returns. Pakistan took thirteenth place in our latest RRR table, buthas potential to rise over time due to the size of the market.

Key Trends & Developments

The TV sets segment is forecast to grow at a CAGR of about 12% as consumers replace blackand white, and analogue sets with colour and LCD models. About 49% of TV sets sold each yearare still black and white. If the government is unable to crack down on smuggled goods, growthcould be slower than this.

PC vendors must contend with a significant segment of demand being met by imports of usedcomputers from countries such as China. The government has denied reports it plans ban importsof used computers, which is a measure strongly opposed by local retailers. The price differentialbetween an imported second-hand computer and a new one is considerable, according to localimporters.

In 2012, established brands will hope to regain some market share as a result of thegovernment’s recent ban on imported handsets without IMEI numbers. Low-cost Chinesephones are understood to account for around 30% of the local handset market. According toretailer reports, although the ban hit sales of low-cost Chinese handsets, Chinese reacted quicklyto the new circumstances. Meanwhile, established vendors are targeting the low-price tier withproducts offering dual-SIM support and other features that have proved popular for the low-costbrands.


http://www.marketresearch.com/Business-Monitor-International-v304/Pakistan-Consumer-Electronics-Q4-7165551/

October 23, 2012 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on Mobilink planned 3G upgrade:

Cairo-based Orascom Telecom (OT), controlled by Russia’s Vimpelcom, said on Sunday it had awarded a deal to upgrade its Mobilink mobile phone network in Pakistan.

It signed a five-year agreement with China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and France’s Alcatel-Lucent to design, purchase, deploy and maintain the next-generation mobile network equipment and supporting services, OT said in a statement.

OT said Mobilink expected the improved capabilities to allow the firm to boost network efficiency and reduce operating costs.

The upgrade would enable the firm to offer 3G services once such licences are issued in Pakistan, it said.


http://dawn.com/2012/11/11/orascom-to-upgrade-pakistans-mobilink-cellular-network-2/

November 11, 2012 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on Mobilink plans for 3G roll-out in Pakistan:

KARACHI: With Islamabad still in the process of launching third generation (3G) cellular spectrum, Mobilink awarded a nationwide network expansion and modernisation project to Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent.

Orascom Telecom – the Egypt-based parent company of Mobilink – signed a five-year agreement with China’s Huawei and France’s Alcatel-Lucent to provide for the design, purchase, deployment, and maintenance of next-generation mobile network equipment and supporting services from two of the world’s leading telecom hardware providers; company’s website said on Sunday.

Huawei was awarded 50% of the radio network and 100% of the core and value-added services network, while Alcatel-Lucent was awarded the other 50% of the radio access network.

It is relevant to mention that Mobilink – Pakistan’s largest mobile phone operator – had raised Rs2 billion in secured loan through institutional investors, according to a notice sent to Karachi Stock Exchange in June, 2012. It, however, did not specify if this was meant for network expansion, 3G roll out or mobile banking.

The cellular giant was yet to make an official announcement about this agreement locally. The monetary value of the project was also not made public either by Orascom or Mobilink.

Mobilink refused to give any details, saying the development was not made public in Pakistan.

“Any cellular company that is seeking a long-term future in Pakistan has to invest in 3G,” Hussain Ali Talib, company’s manager of corporate communications said in a comment that he related to a press conference by CEO Rashid Khan in January, 2012. Khan had announced Mobilink’s participation in 3G bidding and their network expansion plans for 2012.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/464790/mobilink-to-get-network-upgrades-for-3g-rollout/

December 16, 2012 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET story on the growing popularity of Android phones in Pakistan:

... QMobile – the first Pakistani mobile phone company – has introduced phones packed with high-end features at very competitive prices to the Pakistani market, and it seems to be doing great business.

This Karachi-based company was set up by Mian Pervez Akhtar of Allied Electronics Industries – an importer, assembler and distributor of LG products in Pakistan – around five years ago. According to our sources, QMobile’s revenues have witnessed a phenomenal boost since then: for the year ended June 30, 2012, its revenues stood at Rs761 million – up by a staggering 85.8% over the previous year.

However, the company operates with a different business model as compared to companies like Samsung and Nokia: although it calls itself a mobile phone company, QMobile does not manufacture its own devices; instead, it imports them from vendors in China, and sells them under its own brand. The same phones are sold in India for example under the Micromax label.

QMobile’s growth has taken measured steps. The company started with selling basic mobile phones: “Their low-end devices still account for most of their revenues,” an industry source says. QMobile has a large customer base in rural Pakistan, which accounts for more than 65% of the population. It entered the smartphone segment relatively recently.

Its product range now includes phones with touchscreen features, QWERTY input and WiFi-accessibility. It has also launched a series of smartphones powered by the Android operating system, which is the most commonly used smartphone platform today.

QMobile has built itself a strong image in the market, because it provides fairly high-end features at prices affordable for most Pakistanis: you can now buy a branded Android smartphone for as low as Rs6,500, complete with a warranty, thanks to QMobile. This may well be the primary driver behind QMobile’s growth.

“Basic phones constituted about 90% of Pakistan’s mobile phone market five years ago, but this equation is changing now,” an industry source said. “Consumers are shifting from basic mobile phones to feature phones and smartphones, and today they account for more than 20% of the market. Out of that, smartphones alone account for more than 10% of the market,” he said.

QMobile claims to be the number two brand in the country: and industry sources say that in the absence of any accurately verifiable numbers, this may be so in terms of the volumes of units it sells.

A heavy marketing campaign has also helped the company build a strong brand name. “QMobile is a success story, especially in terms of branding,” a telecom consultant said. Its advertising budget is higher than even that of market leader Nokia, an official revealed.

This is one of the main reasons behind the brand’s success. The company has even used product placement as an advertising technique to promote its products. Take, for example, Bulbulay: a primetime sitcom, which often promotes QMobile products, one source pointed out. “This kind of advertising does not cost much, and earns the company valuable marketing: that too in prime time hours,” he said. Moreover, QMobile has always used Pakistan’s hottest celebrities in advertising its products. Pop singers Atif Aslam and Abrarul Haq have promoted QMobile phones in the past. Iman Ali has modeled for them. Hugely popular television celebrity Fawwad Khan is now promoting their top-tier Noir smartphones. All these factors have helped QMobile make a name for itself as being in a league apart from the cheap Chinese copies of popular handsets currently circulating in the market.....


http://tribune.com.pk/story/532133/qmobile-conquering-the-pakistani-market-one-phone-at-a-time/

April 15, 2013 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET story on Norway's Telenor's 3G plans in Pakistan:

If the government is able to strike the right balance between upfront 3G licence fees and the industry’s capacity to invest in infrastructure, Pakistan is looking at potential investment of $5-10 billion over the next five to eight years from the five players already operating in the country.
These are the words of Jon Fredrik Baksaas, CEO of the Telenor Group. He also added that his company was looking at a potential investment of anywhere up to $1 billion over the next two to three years in Pakistan, including the upfront 3G licence fees. “Telenor is already in the process of a network swap in Pakistan. We are upgrading our base stations, which will then be ready to receive 3G equipment. We are about 50% done and should be finished by the end of this calendar year,” he said.
Baksaas was speaking to a group of telecom journalists from Pakistan at the headquarters of the Telenor Group in Oslo. Contrary to common belief, he insisted that Pakistan was not really late in upgrading to 3G. “Pakistan is not necessarily late on 3G, but it is about time to get it done.”
He believes that the Pakistani market is now mature enough, with enough mobile penetration, for the demand for 3G to be building up to a healthy level. “On paper, there is about 70% mobile penetration in Pakistan, but probably a bit less in reality, since many people have more than one SIM,” he observed.
This indicates that there is a lot of pent-up demand, which means better-than-average growth rates in the initial years of 3G, as was the case in Thailand when it finally jumped on the 3G bandwagon.
He also hoped that now that Pakistan was finally gearing up, it would be smarter than India in launching 3G. “When India had their 3G auctions, the government was too concerned with how much money they could pocket upfront and did not focus on how much financial resources to leave behind in the industry for the infrastructure to be built up. My advice to the Government of Pakistan would be to think of the balance of upfront auction fees against the ability of the companies to build quality networks in the country.”
Baksaas said this would be great for the country. “Through investment, you create profitable companies which create employment and can then be taxed. I believe that if you can raise internet penetration in a country by 10%, you can raise the GDP by about 1.5 basis points.”
He also felt that a countrywide rollout of 3G, and subsequently 4G, was very important, instead of just in major cities. “The benefits of 3G to the countryside of Pakistan will be relatively higher than 3G in the city, when you think of the daily lives of individuals and services like health, education, financial services, etc.”
He, however, did not feel that new players would be able to capitalise on the opportunity for 3G. “It has been proven difficult for newcomers to get into 3G or 4G if they don’t already have an existing network. We believe telecom is an evolution that starts with voice and sms.” When asked about Telenor’s readiness, he had just this to say: “We are ready and we are willing and we have the capacities and the competencies to build 3G in Pakistan.”
Baksaas was, however, concerned with regular cellular shutdowns in the country, as he felt that this was not a practical or efficient solution and perhaps needed to be better thought out.
------
He insisted that so far growth and penetration in Pakistan has been much better than regional peers like India, because of the way the local industry is structured and regulated. In India, he said, the focus is on intense competition in the cities alone, because of which rural areas are still not covered. In Pakistan, geographical coverage is excellent in comparison.
..



http://tribune.com.pk/story/567313/high-growth-market-telenor-upbeat-on-pakistan-as-focus-shifts-from-voice-to-data/

June 23, 2013 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Toronto Sun story on rising use of smartphones in Asia:

It’s not just the prices of phones that are dropping. Tablet prices are actually falling at a faster rate creating across the region what Singh calls “a whole new category of Internet user.”

Demand for tablets in the Philippines, for example, grew fourfold in the past year, according to consultancy GfK; prices across Southeast Asia during that period fell by a quarter.

Talmon Marco, CEO of Internet phone and messaging service Viber, says the shift from a standard phone to even the most basic device running operating systems like Android is like “moving from a great bicycle to an old leaking 1970s car. That car can still take you from New York to Chicago in a couple of days. The bicycle never will.”

Whatever the quality of hardware or connection, a smartphone or tablet shares the same DNA - user interface, apps and access to an online store - which stimulates higher usage, Marco says.

“The spike in usage seems to happen when the user moves to a smartphone - any smartphone,” he said. “These users are by far more active than users on a feature phone.” Viber is seeing its fastest growth and highest usage in Vietnam, Pakistan, Myanmar and many African countries.


http://www.torontosun.com/2013/07/23/for-the-mobile-internet-tomorrow-belongs-to-asia

August 19, 2013 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times story on cheap Android smartphones outselling Apple iPhone and Samsung Android phones:

A lower-cost smartphone could allow Apple to expand into overseas markets — especially China, where the iPhone has been highly desired among many consumers but is just out of reach because of its price.

“A cheaper model will open up the market significantly for Apple,” said Chetan Sharma, an independent telecom analyst who consults for phone carriers.

Apple declined to comment on the new products. But analysts expect the higher-priced model to be an improvement over the current iPhone, including a faster processor and better camera flash, as well as a fingerprint sensor for security.

The second iPhone is expected to be a cheaper version of the soon-to-be-outdated iPhone 5, coming in a variety of colors, with a plastic case instead of aluminum. Analysts expect the full price of the lower-cost iPhone to be $300 to $400, positioning it as a midtier product.

Apple has been enormously successful, with the iPhone driving most of its revenue. In the second quarter, the company took 53 percent of the profit in the global smartphone market, with Samsung Electronics, which uses Google Android software to run its smartphones, taking the rest, according to a survey by Canaccord Genuity, an investment bank.

But both Apple and Samsung face a common enemy: the tide of manufacturers that produce dirt-cheap Android phones. While they make all the profits, Apple and Samsung have seen their combined share of the worldwide smartphone market drop to 43 percent in the second quarter from 49 percent a year earlier. The makers of cheaper phones — including Huawei, Yulong and ZTE of China, and Micromax and Karbonn of India — are raking in sales in emerging markets where high-end smartphones are not popular.

“We’ve had several indications from the handset market that vendors are in real trouble,” said Tero Kuittinen, an analyst for Alekstra, a mobile diagnostics firm. “The biggest threat to all the companies seems to be the low-end Androids.”

In terms of sales, smartphones surpassed traditional flip phones this year. There are a few markets remaining where traditional cellphones are still outselling the smartphone, including India, Brazil and Russia. Data from Qualcomm suggests that Latin America, China and India are adding substantially higher numbers of smartphone subscriptions than North America, Japan, Korea and Europe.

China, with its huge population, is an attractive target for Apple. But Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said recently in a call with investors that the company was puzzled about why sales of its products were struggling in China. Sales there fell 4 percent in the second quarter compared with the same quarter last year. And Apple’s sales in Hong Kong were down about 20 percent.

A cheaper iPhone could help it gain traction in China, depending on its cost.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/technology/apple-is-set-to-announce-two-iphones.html

September 9, 2013 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Pakistan Tribune story on smartphones in Pakistan:

Currently, around 119 million people in Pakistan own a cell phone which is about 68.6% of the entire population. Furthermore, out of all the cellphones sold 6% are specifically smartphones. Similarly, from all the smartphone brands available in Pakistan, Samsung has the highest market share (39%) followed by HTC (22%) and Sony (8%).
HTC is a Taiwanese manufacturer of smartphones and tablets which have managed to capture the attention of the entire world. Recently, to further improve their position in the smartphone market, HTC has signed Robert Downey Jr. for its marketing campaign “Here’s to change” which is expected to help increase HTC’s sales, after their recent loss in stock value. This Taiwanese phone-maker is going all out with the introduction of this $1 billion marketing campaign. Other than implementing these stringent marketing strategies, the smartphones which have recently been introduced by HTC have also upped the game. Some of the best smartphones which have been introduced by HTC are:

HTC ONE
HTC has recently launched HTC One, which has taken the mobile phone market by storm. It boosts an amazing camera which has a remarkable low-light performance, a new interface which helps combine all your social media and news feeds into a single place, great sound and a brilliant 4.7 inch screen which helps provide the best immersive experience. Also, its user-friendly features and its impressive aluminum body construction may help HTC in capturing the mobile phone market.

HTC One mobile price in Pakistan:- Rs.65000/-

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HTC Desire C
Not everyone can afford the latest android technology but that doesn’t mean that everyone should have to live without it. HTC desire specifically caters to the needs of these people; it’s one of the best budget phones which is equipped with the latest android technology. The main selling point of HTC Desire C is that it has a 3.5 inch screen with a 600MHZ processor and that too at such a low price. Also from its high end look it is almost impossible to guess that it’s a budget phone. One major advantage that Desire C has over its competition is the addition of HTC sense which supercharges this device.
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HTC Desire C price in Pakistan: – Rs.11,000/- to 15,000/-

HTC Wildfire
A smartphone for those on a tight budget, the HTC Wildfire doesn’t hold back on the specs; the touchscreen handset runs on Android 2.1 which is equipped with user-friendly HTC Sense UI but one issue is that it has the same processing power as 2009′s HTC cellphone, the HTC Hero.

HTC Wildfire Price in Pakistan: – Rs. 12,000/-

HTC 8X
The HTC 8X is the epitome of elegance, not only is it beautifully designed, it is equipped with all the necessary features required in a smartphone. It is definitely one of the best smartphones which gives other windows 8 (operating system) based smartphones a run for their money. It’ll certainly raise eyebrows when you hold this cellphone in your hand – not just because it’s colorful, but also because it’s so beautifully made with unibody, polycarbonate design.
Another attractive feature of HTC 8 X is its high resolution screen – which measures about 4.3 inches coming in at 1280 x 720 pixels. It’s considered to be as good as Apple’s Retina (which is the current best) or maybe even better.

HTC 8X price in Pakistan: – Rs. 46000/- to Rs. 50,000/-
...


http://www.pakistantribune.com.pk/4170/a-review-of-best-htc-mobiles-in-pakistan.html

September 10, 2013 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a case for 3G in Pakistan:

Sceptics usually ask, why 3G? Is it to enable us to watch movies on the go?

Unfortunately, a lot of people only think of it in terms of smart phones. Although a large amount of productive things could be done with 3G smart phones, it is the 3G mobile broadband on PCs, laptops and tablets that is of real value for developing countries. To connect these devices to broadband, USB dongles are used. People in developed countries usually use mobile broadband in addition to the fixed broadband, but in developing countries mobile-broadband is often the only broadband access available. That does not mean we use it only for cell phones and not for offices and homes.

In Pakistan, broadband is available in less than 300 towns and cities. All of these 2.5 million odd broadband connections belong to the fixed broadband category. The problem is that we never had an extensive fixed broadband network, therefore the number of fixed connections that we can have is limited. In addition to this, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) is the only dominant fixed-line provider in Pakistan and it has become a kind of monopoly broadband provider, which is causing a downfall in its services.

On the other hand, 2G cellular GSM networks are present all over the country and 3G will be accommodated with these cellular network providers. Thus 3G networks will reach 90% of the population with relatively less effort. I deliberately use the word “effort” and not “investment” because investment will come from private sector operators. The government does not need to bother about development budget and resource constraints. What else could one ask for!

Just like 2G was such an effective engine of growth in the last decade, 3G can also contribute significantly. Broadband deployment will unleash tremendous opportunities related to jobs, foreign investment, trade, and economic growth. For example, as the users grow in numbers, a completely new sector will emerge – that of local content, software and applications! And indeed, Government services like Education, Healthcare and Governance will immediately become possible for rural areas. Admittedly the private sector operators would deploy 3G mainly in cities, but for the rest the Universal Services Fund (USF) can work as initial investment.

Therefore allocating broadband frequency spectrum to operators is extremely urgent and essential. It should have been done five years ago. And as for the debate whether the licenses should be for 3G or 4G, there is one answer. The licenses should be “technology-neutral” – let the operators decide. They certainly know the market better.

Last but not least, it appears that the whole purpose of auctioning frequency spectrum is to get the short-term benefit at a big price and fill the budget gap. In my humble opinion, that is completely misplaced. We should be more concerned with maximum coverage in shortest possible time. That’s what the national interest demands.


http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/18750/why-does-pakistan-need-3g/

September 10, 2013 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Pew survey on the use of cell phones to access the Internet:

Six in ten cell phone owners (63%) now go online using their mobile phones, an eight-point increase from the 55% of cell owners who did so at a similar point in 2012 and a two-fold increase over the 31% who did so in 2009. We call these individuals “cell internet users,” and they include anyone who:

Uses the internet on their cell phone (60% of cell owners do this), or
Uses email on their cell phone (52% of cell owners do this)
Taken together, 63% of cell owners do one or both of these things, and are classified as cell internet users. Since 91% of Americans are cell phone owners, this means that 57% of all Americans now go online using a mobile phone. The steady increase in cell phone internet usage follows a similar growth trajectory for smartphone ownership. Over half of all adults (56%) now own a smartphone, and 93% of these smartphone owners use their phone to go online.

The demographics of cell phone internet usage
Just as the overall increase in cell phone internet usage has coincided with the growth in smartphone adoption, the demographic groups most likely to go online using their phones tend to match those with high levels of smartphone ownership. In particular, the following groups have high levels of cell phone internet use:

Young adults: Cell owners ages 18-29 are the most likely of any demographic group to use their phone to go online: 85% of them do so, compared with 73% of cell owners ages 30-49, and 51% of those ages 50-64. Just 22% of cell owners ages 65 and older go online from their phones, making seniors the least likely demographic group to go online from a cell phone.
Non-whites: Three-quarters (74%) of African-American cell phone owners are cell internet users, as are 68% of Hispanic cell owners.
The college-educated: Three-quarters (74%) of cell owners with a college degree or higher are cell internet users, along with two-thirds (67%) of those who have attended (but not graduated) college.
The financially well-off: Cell phone owners living in households with an annual income of $75,000 or more per year are significantly more likely than those in every other income category to go online using their phones. Some 79% of these affluent cell owners do so.
Urban and suburban residents: Urban and suburban cell owners are significantly more likely to be cell internet users than those living in rural areas. Some 66% of urbanites and 65% of suburban-dwellers do so, compared to half of rural residents....


http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Cell-Internet/Main-Findings/Cell-Internet.aspx

October 10, 2013 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune piece on how the Punjab govt in Pakistan is using smartphones ad mobile apps:

As our anti-dengue campaign progressed, we bought 1,500 Android phones and kept refining our applications. The system was used by 17 different government departments and hundreds of field workers, and we have received over 200,000 pictures from all over Punjab. We developed more applications that enabled field entomologists to report Aedes Larvae clusters, as well as health workers to GPS tag the houses of the confirmed patients. With this data flowing in, we built a state-of-the-art epidemic early warning system, which statistically analysed the larvae reports and patient locations, and raised red flags wherever it detected a potential outbreak. This information was promptly shared with the local government to help it target its activities in the most vulnerable areas.
This system has led to a full-blown real-time disease surveillance system in Punjab, tracking all 26 WHO notifiable infectious diseases. Cross-verification of data from our dashboard has become a common practice in the government. The system has been featured by the MIT Technology Review, The Economist, NPR and BBC.
Encouraged by the success of our system for tracking disease outbreaks, the PITB has been working on numerous applications to help the government monitor its own work. Drug inspectors now carry our smartphones to report their visits to pharmacy outlets; visits of livestock EDOs are tracked using our smartphone applications; Lahore police uses our smartphone applications to analyse crime hotspots; agriculture extension workers report their activities using our smartphone applications; the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) uses smartphone applications to report its cleaning activities after Eidul Azha; this year, monitoring of Hajj facilities for pilgrims was done using our smartphone-based applications. Such is the adoption of our systems that over 25,000 geo-tagged activities were uploaded by the LWMC during the three-day Eid campaign a few days ago. And the chief minister Punjab personally reviewed this data, after every hour!
Going forward, we are developing a platform, in collaboration with the World Bank, which would enable people without an IT background to generate a monitoring application by simply dragging-and-dropping components. We are experimenting with increasingly advanced features. For example, our application for the irrigation department is designed such that the picture of a depth-metre is automatically processed to extract the level of water in a canal — making it difficult to hide the theft of irrigation water in tail canals.
Our model of mobile governance, or m-governance, is quickly taking root in Punjab. The rapid adoption, level of innovation and sophistication of our evolving systems is unprecedented in public sector organisations, especially in developing countries. In the coming year, seven major government departments will heavily start using our smartphone-based monitoring systems — employing over 30,000 smartphones. If we manage to keep our momentum, Pakistan may become one of the leading examples of innovations in m-governance.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/631041/punjabs-model-of-m-governance/

November 13, 2013 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

From Express Tribune:

Pakistani internet users are rapidly moving towards a new era of mobile internet dominance over access from desktop computer, a new survey sponsored by Google has found.
According to a press release, this trend follows a decline in the prices of smartphones and tablets, and anticipated launch of 3G services.
Internet-capable feature phones are expected to continue to play an important role, too. An additional factor is the unreliability of the electricity supply which is also helping to promote the usage of tablets and smartphones in Pakistan.
The findings come from a survey of over 1,000 Pakistanis by research firm IDC on behalf of Google. The “Pakistan Digital Consumer Study” conducted earlier this quarter took a look at the life of the connected Pakistani consumer.
The survey found that digital consumers are engaging more with the internet than ever before. The study revealed that home is the preferred location for Internet access — even for mobile-only users, who prefer to use their home wi-fi connection.
The top three activities in Pakistan both on desktop and mobile Internet are: social media, email and general search.
The main challenge of Internet proliferation in Pakistan are the quality and reliability of connectivity — including poor speed or bandwidth availability, perceived value-for-money, customer service quality, limited choice of plans and frequency of service interruptions. The unreliability of the power supply is also a factor, the press release stated.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/64

December 3, 2013 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here are World Bank reported highlights of the use of mobile phone technology in Pakistan:

The Punjab provincial government’s efforts so far include getting direct feedback from 3 million users of public services through SMS and providing field workers cost-effective smartphones to track their visits and collect data, including to monitor pests on crops, fighting dengue, and managing waste.
A recently-approved project will scale up these activities using innovative financing that emphasizes results, takes a multi-sectoral approach, and increases transparency and citizen access to information, improving citizen-state relations.
This model of innovative and sophisticated mobile governance is almost unprecedented in the public sector in developing countries, and represents one of the largest-scale attempts to hear from citizens to crack down on corrupt and poor performing officials.


http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/12/11/leveraging-mobile-phones-for-innovative-governance-solutions-in-Pakistan

December 11, 2013 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's PakistanToday on Mobilink's 3G rollout plans:

Mobilink has announced that it will complete the roll out Pakistan’s most modernized and largest 3G ready network with more than 9000 cell sites across the country by July 2014. The network modernization is in line with Mobilink’s strategy to provide its customers with best voice quality and fastest data speeds. The initiative was enabled by VimpelCom with investments made on various fronts including network modernization taking its total investment in Pakistan to USD 4.3 billion – the highest in Pakistan’s telecom industry. In order to celebrate this achievement, Mobilink launched a major communication drive across mainstream TV, radio, print and social media to emphasize the company’s bigger, better and faster network supremacy so that their customers never miss a moment. Speaking about Mobilink’s roll-out of Pakistan’s most modern network, Bilal Munir Sheikh, Chief Commercial Officer, Mobilink said, “Mobilink’s 3G ready network established over Pakistan’s largest cellular footprint sets us apart from our competitors as more than 37 million Pakistanis trust us with their communication needs. I am confident that our improved network will go a long way in providing the best customer experience with seamless connectivity over the most robust and technologically most advanced network of Pakistan.”

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/03/20/business/mobilink-rolls-out-pakistans-largest-3g-ready-network/

March 20, 2014 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune story on the economic impact of 3G service in Pakistan:

One of the biggest questions asked when the arrival of 3G services is discussed is its benefit to the public purse.
While there is no official study available that could provide a credible assessment of the impact on economic growth and subsequent contribution in tax revenues, there is a report that gives a snapshot of the next five years. The study, conducted by UK’s Plum Consulting, has its limitations but gives an overview of what is to come.

Plum Consulting is a specialised consulting firm offering strategy, policy and regulatory advice on telecoms, online and spectrum issues. It conducted the study last year but did not factor in fourth generation spectrum in its calculations.
What we know from Plum Consulting is that the overall size of the economy will grow by Rs380 billion to Rs1.18 trillion in the period up to 2020 after the roll out of 3G spectrums. The present size of Pakistan’s economy is estimated at Rs26 trillion and a minimum addition of Rs380 billion means a positive impact of 1.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Chairman Dr Ismail Shah said that the Plum study does give a broader trend. He said the rolling out of 4G spectrum will add another 20% in the GDP value assessed by Plum Consulting.
Plum Consulting says that economic studies have shown that there is a positive relationship between broadband penetration and GDP growth in both high and low income countries. Estimates of the impact of a 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration on GDP growth rates range from 0.1% to 1.5%, with higher impacts found in lower income countries.
It added that the net present value of additional GDP over the period to 2020 is Rs1.18 trillion in the High Demand scenario and Rs490 billion in the Low Demand scenario. This is equivalent to an average 0.13 percentage points increase in the annual GDP growth rate over this period.
Plum Consulting observed that additional GDP could yield additional tax revenue for the government in the range of Rs23 billion to Rs70bn. It further said that in a high-penetration scenario, it could generate up to around 900,000 jobs by 2018, if spectrum had been released in 2013.
“As broadband is a general purpose technology it has the potential to bring significant benefits across the whole economy, and so we expect the release of spectrum for mobile broadband to have a positive impact on employment across agriculture, industry and services sectors”....


http://tribune.com.pk/story/686266/launching-3g-services-public-purse-to-become-heavier/

March 23, 2014 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Smartphones to double next year, reports Dawn:

The market share of smartphones is expected to double next year as stiff competition rages among cellphone makers with moderate prices and cheap Chinese brands penetrating the market.

Nokia Android phones have also hit the markets where Q Mobile, Samsung, Huawei, Sony, LG, Voice, G-Five, VGO Tel, etc continue introducing new smartphones with more advanced features and competitive prices. However, feature phones (not smart or android) still hold 80 per cent market share and cost between Rs2,500 to Rs4,000.

According to Director United Mobile, Azad Lalani, smartphones share will jump to about 40pc next year from the current 15-20pc.

Pakistan’s monthly sales of overall cellphones is estimated at 1.5 to 1.7 million units. The start of 3G services will further boost sales of smartphones.

Market sources said that one of the Chinese cellphones now holds a major market share with sales of 600,000-700,000 units per month, a sector that was previously dominated by Nokia. The price of smartphones (Chinese brands) starts from Rs7,000 and touches up to Rs60,000 plus for many major brands.

Country General Manager Nokia Pakistan and Afghanistan, Arif Shafique said, “We have recently launched the first of our Nokia X range of smartphones in Pakistan. The device runs on the Nokia X Software Platform, which is built on the standard Android Open Source Project (AOSP).”

Shortly, the company will expand the range of Nokia X devices in Pakistan across all price points. The recently launched Nokia X is available at an estimated price of Rs13,500.

“Pakistan’s mobile market is burgeoning and the users are becoming more and more tech savvy,” he said.

On grabbing market share in Nokia Android phones, he said as per Nokia policy he cannot comment on the company’s market share by country or region. “I believe there is consumer demand especially in the affordable smartphone space,” he added.

Regarding investment in the launch of Android phones in Pakistan, he said: “The investment is largely in the marketing and promotion of this new range, as well as in supporting Pakistani developers to come up with more locally relevant apps for Nokia X family.”

Currently Nokia phones are arriving from China for the Pakistani market. “As and when trade between India and Pakistan opens, we will weigh both options — of importing from China and India.”

“We will opt for the one that will offer the best value to our consumers in Pakistan,” he said.

On Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia devices and services business, the general manager said, “Our transition with Microsoft is shaping up to close in April and our journey towards bringing smarter mobile devices and smarter technology is going ahead with this transition.”


http://www.dawn.com/news/1096258/smartphone-market-to-double-next-year

March 29, 2014 at 9:28 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Spectrum for 3G 4G auction today in Pakistan, reports The Nation:

The mobile operators are going to submit their sealed bids on Monday (today) for the next generation spectrum auction that offers 3G and 4G licences simultaneously.
Presently there are 6 blocks available with PTA to be auctioned and there are five players in the market. One block is reserved only for the new entrant and no one from the existing telecom company can bid for that but the new entrants can bid for the reserved block and for the other 5 blocks too. Sources in the telecom sector say that the government will not be able to obtain $2 billion that it is aiming and the maximum gains it can get will stand at $1.4 billion with minor up and down.
There is 30 MHz available in 2100 MHz band for 3G, 20 MHz available in 1800 band for 4G services and 7.38 MHz available in 850 MHz band for 2G service and the last one is reserved for new entrant. All the players are bound to bid for the first mentioned 2100 MHz band to qualify for the bid of 1800 MHz band that offers 4G services.
Sources told The Nation that in 2100 MHz band, a bidder can bid for at least 5 MHz and in 1800 MHz band they can bid for at least 10 MHz. The base price set for the 2100 MHz band is $29.5/MHz and it is $21/MHz for the later.
Presently there are 5 companies operating in the market and among them Warid Telecom seems not interested in bidding for the next generation spectrum auction. Most probably the remaining 4 will take part in the auction and all of them might be successful in obtaining licence for the next generation mobile services but only two will be able to get 4th generation licence.
The bids submitted today will decide, whether the next stage of auction will be held or the licences will be allotted to the bidders. The sources said that if the number of applicants exceed the number of licences available that technically are 4 then the next round of auction will start on April 23 and the bidders will have to compete to obtain a licence.
But the sources said that apparently there is no hope that the number of applicants will exceed so today might be considered the last day of auction and Pakistan Telecom Authority will decide, who to allot a licence for what.
The sources said that most probably the licences will be auctioned at the base price and the government might not meet its expectations to earn much from this auction, not at least $2 billion that it was aiming to obtain from it.
The major reason is that the licence reserved for the new entrant fall in the category of 2G technology and no company seems interested to buy a 2nd generation licence while others players in the market having 3G or 4G licences. The sources said that government claimed Turk Cell was taking interest for the spectrum reserved for new entrant but there is no evidence yet that it will submit a bid for that.


http://www.nation.com.pk/business/14-Apr-2014/bids-for-3g-4g-licences-auction-today

April 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Couple of reports on 3G in Pakistan:

1. From Newsweek Pakistan

The first stage of Pakistan’s 3G-spectrum sale process on April 14 exceeded projections of the federal government by $100 million, a source in the Ministry of IT told Newsweek on Wednesday.

Four telecom operators put in base-price bids totaling $1.3 billion. The federal government had estimated receipts of $1.2 billion from the spectrum sale during the current fiscal year. The companies have already deposited $200 million as earnest money with the government.

“Since demand is higher than supply, we will proceed to Stage Two on April 23,” said the Ministry source, asking not to be identified by name. “The $1.3 billion is now locked in. The second stage, when the auction happens, will allow the government to build on this further.”

The source declined to offer any estimate for the final figure from the spectrum sale.

The four bidders will be required to pay 50 percent of their final offer upfront to receive a license from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. They will have the option to pay the remainder over five years. To encourage timely payments, the Ministry has made bidders accept a late-payment penalty of 3 percent plus LIBOR per year.


http://newsweekpakistan.com/3g-spectrum-sale-exceeds-target/

2. From TechinAsia:

Pakistan has a vibrant mobile market with five operators providing 2G services to a total of 133.7 million subscribers. Those customers are worth $2.25 each per month to the telcos in terms of ARPU. Mobile subscriber numbers have grown rapidly in the country, up 4.7 percent between June 2013 and January this year. ...
A report by Plum Consulting (PDF link) predicts that with the deployment of 3G in Pakistan, the number of broadband subscribers will rise from its current 3.35 million to 45 million by 2020 in the more optimistic high-demand forecast, or to 25 million in the low-demand forecast (see chart below). Pricing will play a pivotal role in terms of adoption, as currently users are able to get unlimited access to 2G data services for about PKR 150 ($1.50) per month for 1GB of data....

Four of the five Pakistani operators have bid for the new licenses. Warid, the nation’s smallest telco, has decided to opt out. The two biggest operators, Telenor and Mobilink, have stated that they would be able to deploy 3G services to the masses within a few weeks as their core infrastructure is ready for 3G. Telenor has 7,500 cell sites across Pakistan that are 3G-ready, and the firm’s CTO has stated that 4G can be deployed after some minor upgrades. Mobilink has said that it will have 9,000 cell sites by July, with 70 percent of the infrastructure already revamped for 3G. The local mobile market is expecting strong smartphone sales in the weeks proceeding the 3G and 4G auction. Currently the smartphone market accounts for 15 percent of all mobile imports (1.5 to 1.7 million units per month), but it is expected to rise to as much as 40 percent within a year of the auction – that’s 600,000 new smartphones per month. Some smartphone owners in Pakistan are excitedly awaiting the auction and have started posting speed test screenshots on Facebook or Twitter as operators test their networks in limited areas.


Read more: As Pakistan prepares 3G and 4G roll-out, country expects up to 45 million high-speed data subscribers by 2020 http://www.techinasia.com/3g-auction-pakistan-grow-broadband-subscribers-45-million/

April 16, 2014 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's Reuters on first round of 3G 4G auction in Pakistan:

Pakistan raised $903 million in its first auction for 3G mobile phone networks on Wednesday, as well as $210 million for the more advanced 4G spectrum, with four foreign-owned companies emerging as winners from the long-anticipated bidding process.

The South Asian country of 180 million people hopes to use the auction as a way to boost the economy and promote advanced telecoms technology among its 132 million mobile phone users.

The four winners of the 3G auction were Russian-owned Mobilink, Chinese-controlled Zong, Norway's Telenor (TEL.OL), and Ufone - a company jointly owned by the Pakistan government and the United Arab Emirates' Etisalat (ETEL.AD).

As for the 4G spectrum, the sole winner was Zong, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Warid Telecom Pakistan, another company operating in Pakistan, did not make any bids.

Ismail Shah, the PTA head, announced the results to reporters late on Wednesday after the auction, which lasted all day.

Pakistan is the only major country in the region that still does not offer 3G services. Its neighbor, war-ravaged Afghanistan, switched to 3G services in 2012.

The country's telecoms market was deregulated in 2004 and foreign firms such as Etisalat have invested heavily. But services that use 3G and 4G connections have been out of reach of most Pakistani customers.


http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/04/23/us-pakistan-telecommunications-auction-idUKBREA3M1DS20140423

April 23, 2014 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Thursday, October 23, 2014 - Karachi—Mobilink 3G customers have reached 1 million mark rendering it as the fasted growing 3G service in Pakistan. Mobilink hit the 1 million mark within 90 days of commercial launch, which is the fastest uptake of 3G services of any cellular operator in Pakistan. Mobilink’s 3G services were launched in July this year and continue to provide high-speed Internet to customers in 12 cities of Pakistan and counting. The evolution of Mobilink’s 3G network is a result of carefully designed roll-out plan that makes the best use of 10MHz spectrum while focusing on excellence in customers’ experience.

Bilal Munir Sheikh, Chief Commercial Officer Mobilink commenting on the success said; “Reaching the 1 million mark is only the beginning of a delightful journey for our customers and manifestation of our strategic approach towards building an ecosystem of high-speed internet in Pakistan.

Our roll-out plan is carefully designed to ensure that we provide the most robust 3G coverage in cities in which we are present. Our teams on-ground continue to work towards ensuring that that we providing the best customer experience in existing cities and locations before committing to new ones. I thank our customers for putting their trust in Mobilink for their data and connectivity needs.”

Earlier this year, following the auction of 3G license Mobilink was the only operator to empower customers with free 3G services as a means to celebrate its 20 years of operations in Pakistan as well as increase awareness about high-speed internet. This gesture was much welcomed by customers as it enabled them to try out Mobilink’s high-speed mobile internet services free of charge for a period of 2 months. Mobilink continues to grow its footprint across Pakistan through systematic rollout of 3G services across major cities of Pakistan.

http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=254961

October 27, 2014 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Samsung and Telenor Pakistan co-launched the Galaxy Note 4 in Pakistan on Friday, at an event held at a local hotel in Lahore. The phablet has been priced at a whopping Rs. 85,000 (approx. $825).

The Galaxy Note 4 will be featured on Telenor Pakistan’s Sales & Service Centers and franchises for its customers across the country starting from October 29, and will come with Telenor’s free 3G Internet for six months.

The offer includes the unlimited usage of WhatsApp, Twitter and Line along with all purchases of Galaxy Note 4.

The device comes with accidental coverage that includes screen breakage, liquid damage and numerous other types of damages that will be repaired by the company within one year of the purchases.

Telenor has also conducted a pre-order campaign from 20th October offering free S-View Flip covers to its Pakistan’s customers.

“We have always been at the forefront of offering cutting edge technology and next generation solutions to our valued customers,” said Omer bin Tariq, Director Internet and Devices, Telenor Pakistan.

“Our collaboration with Samsung is yet another testament of Telenor Pakistan’s customer centric approach to provide services as per the evolving customer preferences and building an ecosystem to facilitate 3G uptake.”

Telenor has recently rolled out its 3G services in 35 cities of Pakistan, becoming the largest 3G mobile operator in the market.

Mr. Omer said the company is determined to strengthen its current efforts, and cover other aspects that are aimed at bringing affordable smartphones and enhancing Internet adoption amongst the growing community.

The Galaxy Note 4 features a 5.7-inch Quad HD (2560×1440) Super AMOLED display, 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, Adreno 420 GPU and 3GB of RAM.

The device also includes a 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, a 3.7-megapixel front-facing camera, 32/64GB of expandable internal storage and a 3,220 mAh battery.

The phablet is the first Galaxy Note device to feature a metallic body. It runs on Android 4.4.4 (KitKat) operating system, and also comes with the traditional S Pen stylus.

http://segmentnext.com/2014/10/27/telenor-partners-with-samsung-to-launch-galaxy-note-4-in-pakistan/

October 27, 2014 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan now has close to 150 million mobile subscribers. A growing number of those are smartphone owners who are pushing forward adoption of web services like ecommerce and social media. Gertjan van Laar, an app developer who published a report this week on smartphone usage in Pakistan, tells Tech in Asia that smartphone adoption has reached between 7 and 10 percent of the population – in contrast to the general mobile penetration rate of 80 percent (1).
But that means Pakistan has a lot of room for growth. Laar and his team at Grappetite dug into data and also conducted a survey to find out more about the current mobile landscape in Pakistan – and then put it all into the infographic you see below. Here are some of the highlights:
Android is Pakistan’s top smartphone OS with 68 percent share just among smartphone users
iOS is second on 24 percent share; Windows Phone is third on eight percent
Samsung is the top brand; iPhone is second; homegrown phone-maker QMobile is third
35 percent of smartphone users in Pakistan carry a low-cost phone on them for safety reasons
Here’s the full infographic:
Smartphone usage in Pakistan in 2014 - INFOGRAPHIC
See: Pakistan Startup Report and wiki shine a light on challenging but p...
For more fun graphics like this one, check out previous entries in our infographic series.
In terms of methodology, Laar says that the team used “reports and statistics from sources such as the World Bank, the PTA, and the Association of Internet Providers in Pakistan. Some reports were quite outdated, [so] based on our expertise we extrapolated data where we found it appropriate.” He adds that their own survey was an “online questionnaire with 15 questions, sent out by us to mainly urban people in Sindh.” ↩
https://www.techinasia.com/smartphones-in-pakistan-infographic-2014/

October 27, 2014 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

ISLAMABAD: Telecommunication service provider Ufone has unveiled the launch of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in Pakistan in collaboration with Apple.
The popular smart phones will be made available to consumers under the banner of the telecom service provider from Dec 11 this year. Customers will be able to register online for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus from Nov 28 at the company’s website, a press statement said.
This is the first time that Apple has collaborated with a Pakistani telecommunication provider for the launch of its signature smart phone. Apple is considered one of the biggest names in technology-related products and is widely believed to be the world’s second-largest information technology company.
Despite the phone’s official unavailability in the country, iPhone enjoys a large fan base in Pakistan, with many users already awaiting the entry of the new product. The prices are bit expensive then the local market starting from Rs80,000 – Rs115000.
iPhone 6 was first officially introduced two months ago in the United States.

http://customstoday.com.pk/47876/

December 3, 2014 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani cell phone service operator Ufone has partnered with Apple to launch iPhone 6 and iPhone 6Plus smartphones in Pakistan. Ufone customers can register online for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the company’s website.


Smartphone sales have accelerated in recent months after the roll-out of 3G and 4G services in Pakistan. The number of 3G subscribers has reached 4 million mark, apparently surpassing all other broadband technologies in the country, within the first three months of the issuance of 3G and 4G licenses in the country. There are around 3.7 million broadband subscriptions in Pakistan for all technologies combined including WiMAX, DSL, EvDO, FTTH, Satellite, HFC and others till May this year.

Total number of mobile subscribers in Pakistan is over 150 million. A growing number of these subscribers are smartphone owners who are using web services like e-commerce and social media. Gertjan van Laar, an app developer who recently published a report on smartphone usage in Pakistan, told Tech in Asia that smartphone penetration has reached between 7 and 10 percent of the population – in contrast to the general mobile penetration rate of 80 percent.

Here are some of the highlights of the report on smartphones in Pakistan:

1. Android is Pakistan’s top smartphone OS with 68 percent share just among smartphone users

2. Apple iOS is second with 24 percent share; Windows Phone is third at eight percent

3. Samsung is the top brand; iPhone is second; homegrown phone-maker QMobile is third

4. 35 percent of smartphone users in Pakistan own a low-cost phone.

Growing availability of smartphones and 3G/4G services is enabling Pakistani apps developers to build and offer a wide range of apps, including everything from the most-used messaging apps to social networking, games, entertainment, government, banking, business and finance, navigation and utility apps, such as budgeting and data backing, according to a report in The Express Tribune newspaper. In addition to software houses, an active community of mostly self-taught freelance app developers is also bidding for projects listed on global online platforms, such as oDesk, Elance, Guru and Freelancer, the paper adds.

Increasing access to advanced smartphones and mobile broadband augurs well for innovation and investment in Pakistan.


http://www.riazhaq.com/2014/12/apple-iphone-6-6plus-launched-in.html

December 8, 2014 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has ordered all mobile service providers in the country to shut down one of BlackBerry’s services because of security concerns, officials said Saturday.

The government wants operators to stop providing BlackBerry Enterprise Services, or BES, which allow users to establish secure networks, by Nov. 30. “Remaining BB [BlackBerry] services such as messenger and BlackBerry Internet Services will continue,” said a senior official at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, who asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

Officials at two of Pakistan’s five mobile operators, who asked that they and their companies weren’t named, confirmed that they had received the order to shut down BES, one of the company’s most secure offerings, from the PTA. The order, a copy of which was seen by The Wall Street Journal, cited “serious concerns by the Security Agency [sic]” and was dated July 22.

Officials at PTA and the two mobile operators declined to say which security agency was mentioned in the shutdown order, and didn’t comment on the nature of its concerns.

BES allow customers to build their own secure communications networks, the officials at the two Pakistani mobile networks said, providing a high level of security and encryption that is very difficult for governments to access. “The BES system is very expensive so usually only big companies and embassies opt for it,” one of the officials said, declining to name any customers because of security concerns.

BlackBerry’s non-enterprise services, which are provided through mobile networks, are encrypted as well, but aren’t as secure as BES because servers aren't controlled by the customer, the officials said.

A BlackBerry spokeswoman declined to comment on reports of Pakistan’s ban on the company’s services, but said in an emailed statement: “While we recognize the need to cooperate with lawful government investigative requests of criminal activity, we have never permitted wholesale access to our BES servers.”

Privacy International, a U.K.-based rights charity, said in a report this month that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies have ramped up electronic surveillance in recent years. Officials say such surveillance is necessary for Pakistan to effectively counter militancy, but activists have warned that widespread electronic eavesdropping threatens citizens’ privacy and is vulnerable to abuse.

The officials at the two mobile operators said the partial ban in Pakistan is unlikely to have a serious impact on their business. There are only around 5,000 BES customers in Pakistan, the PTA and mobile operators said. There were nearly 132 million mobile subscribers in Pakistan as of April this year, according to PTA data.

Pakistan isn't the first country to confront BlackBerry’s encrypted communications services. In 2010, the United Arab Emirates threatened to ban BlackBerry communications, also citing security concerns. India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia have also threatened bans.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistan-bans-blackberry-enterprise-services-for-security-concerns-1437845124

July 25, 2015 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Fight with #Pakistan exposes grey area in #BlackBerry’s security http://fw.to/eBju90J

A temporary truce has been reached between Canada’s BlackBerry Ltd. and Pakistan over requests from that nation’s government that it hand over “unfettered access” to encrypted communications from its enterprise customers.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had told local mobile-phone operators that as of Nov. 30, they could no longer offer BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) services to customers.

BlackBerry chief operating officer Marty Beard wrote a blog post Monday explaining that Pakistan was demanding access to encrypted BES communications. “BlackBerry will not comply with that sort of directive. As we have said many times, we do not support ‘back doors’ granting open access to our customers’ information and have never done this anywhere in the world,” Mr. Beard wrote.

Hours later, Pakistan extended the shutdown deadline until Dec. 30, effectively delaying the showdown over security.

The fight between BlackBerry and Pakistan also exposed a critical grey area in the company’s vaunted security reputation: Only its BlackBerry Enterprise Server clients are offered fully encrypted communications.

A regular telecom consumer that doesn’t have a corporate BES can expect that their BBM messages, e-mails and other communications could be intercepted, with BlackBerry’s help, by government agencies.

As Christopher Parsons, a Toronto-based researcher for the Citizen Lab at the Munk Centre for International Studies, Citizen Lab explains, consumer-level BBM uses a form of encryption that BlackBerry holds the keys too, unlike the sort of end-to-end encryption that Apple’s iMessage provides, which it says cannot be accessed even if it were given a lawful order. Only BES clients have a similar level of security with BlackBerry. In the wake of the Paris attacks, a number of Western security officials spoke out about the consumer availability of strong encryption.

In his post on Monday, Mr. Beard said that “while we recognize the need to co-operate with lawful government investigative requests of criminal activity, we have never permitted wholesale access to our BES servers.”

In November, reports surfaced that Mr. Beard told attendees at an IT conference called FedTalks that “we very much take a balanced approach” and criticized companies that say they are “all about encryption all the way.”

“They chided Apple and Google for setting up strong encryption,” Mr. Parsons says. “My understanding is they were willing to work with Pakistan on a case-by-case instance, just not a universal back door.”

A BlackBerry spokesperson repeated the denial that it will provide such access.

In a written statement, the company did say: “While we do not support so-called ‘back doors,’ we and every other tech company bears a responsibility to do all we can to help governments protect their citizens.”

Even though the showdown has been averted for now, it’s unclear how the pullout would be effected.

For instance, the company was not able to specify what would happen to a BES customer who simply travelled to Pakistan, nor what would happen to Pakistani customers who relocated their services to a neighbouring country.

December 1, 2015 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan saw 13 million smartphone shipments in 2016, according to IDC, as the overall mobile market gradually tilts towards smartphones. The ratio of flip phone to smartphone shipments is now at 60:40.

https://www.techinasia.com/xiaomi-launch-pakistan

Chinese gadget manufacturer Xiaomi announced today it’s launching in Pakistan – the world’s sixth-most populous country – after months of speculation and official denials.

Xiaomi has expanded slowly since its 2011 debut in China, focusing mainly on Southeast Asia, India, parts of the Middle East, and Brazil. Its Pakistan entry is the largest since it ventured into Brazil mid-2015.

Xiaomi’s coming to Pakistan through a distribution partnership – as it did in Brazil – with Rocket Internet’s ecommerce marketplace, Daraz, which is present in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.

Jack Yung, Xiaomi’s sales director for South Asia, said three models will be available initially – the Mi Max, plus the budget Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4A. There are also plans to sell the Mi Band 2, but the company is tight-lipped whether the full range of Xiaomi’s products will eventually reach the country.

-------------------------

As the world's sixth most populous nation Pakistan is a big market for smartphone makers. The country was projected to have about 40 million smartphones last year. Qmobile is the current smartphone vendor in the country.


http://mashable.com/2017/02/20/xiaomi-launch-pakistan/#nIuXQ5yonqql

India is Xiaomi's biggest market outside China, company CEO Lei Jun said earlier this year. In 2016, Xiaomi had hit one billion dollar in revenue in the country. Even as if the company does well in India, it is losing its charm in the home country. Once the hottest phone brand in its home market, Xiaomi had slipped to fifth spot in the fourth quarter last year, according to IDC.

February 20, 2017 at 10:21 AM  

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