3G/4G Launch in Pakistan: Penetration and Impacts

As eventually on April 23rd, 2014 last year Pakistan entered the club of few countries of the world, where 3rd and 4th generation high-speed data services in the telecom sector are being offered. Pakistani Government sold the 3G/4G spectrum in the total sum of hefty $1.1 Billion. Where out of all five telecom operators of the country 4 of them out took part in the auction, including Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone and Zong excluding Warid Telecom (for reason read complete article).

3G/4G Spectrum Clinch:

Out of all four Telco’s Zong took the lead unexpectedly, where China Mobile subsidiary acquired 5MHz spectrum for 3G and 4G spectrum too with the highest bid and became first and only telecom operator of the country to have both 3G and 4G licenses. Mobilink the countries largest operators as per customer base got 10MHz 3G spectrum thrashing Ufone and Telenor, who only bid and got 5MHz spectrum for 3G services.

Progress in the Launching of Services:

According to PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority), 3G subscribers have crossed 5 Million by the end of 2014 and will keep increasing as the time progresses. All telecom operators, who auctioned and paid a hefty amount to obtain 3G/4G spectrums are now putting all their efforts in developing the 3G and 4G coverage – all over the country on a priority basis.

Current Standing of 3G/4G Coverages in Pakistan:

3G has more coverage than 4G and the reason behind this is limited 4G LTE coverage in the country and high cost of 4G enabled handsets and services. Since Pakistan is a price-conscious market, people can easily purchase a 3G enable Smartphone in less than $100 and start enjoying 3G.

Coverage Proportion:

Telenor top the charts and emerged as the largest 3G network of the country with the coverage in more than 40 cities all across Pakistan. However, enclose less number of subscribers at present.

Mobilink is also trying to rub its shoulder with Telenor by expanding 3G services in 34 cities of Pakistan. Two significant facts to keep in mind regarding Mobilink 3G roll-out that as we have mentioned above Mobilink was the only operator, who bid and acquired 10 MHz spectrum. This means that Mobilink will be able to offer more reliable speed and efficiency through its 3G services to customers. Moreover, Mobilink was the first mobile operator of Pakistan that reached 1 Million 3G subscribers. Check out this post to get full details of Mobilink Jazz 3G Internet Packages.

Zong Pakistan’s first and only 3G+4G network is also on its way to develop its high-speed data services across Pakistan. As of now, Zong is offering 3G service in 25 cities and 4G coverage in various areas of Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Quetta and Peshawar only. Also has the leading number of 3G customers in Pakistan at the moment, but this percentage of users may decrease by the end of February 2015 because PTA has ordered telecom providers to re-verify sims’ ownership via bio-metric method and very less number of people have done this yet; their sims will be blocked after February and it can cause decrease in 3G/4G users too.

Ufone which is country’s 3rd largest mobile operator as far as customer base is concerned. Currently, is lacking behind 3G customer persuasions, having the least number of 3G subscribers presently by offering 3G services in only 27 cities.

Warid Telecom the most laid back mobile network of Pakistan, which tends to remain in low profile, happy with its customer base in urban areas and never aggressively tried to expand it towards rural areas.

Warid does not even participated in the 3G/4g auction, but as you guys would have noticed Warid launched its 4G LTE services recently in Pakistan – do you know why? Because at the time Warid launched its GSM services in the year 2004 for Pakistan, it got 1800MHz band from PTA that was sufficient enough to deploy 4G LTE services in Pakistan. That’s why Warid only amended its license from PTA and launched the latest 4G LTE services in Pakistan – without paying a single penny.

Warid has now officially launched its 4G LTE services commercially for both prepaid and postpaid customers in big cities like Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

Impact of 3G/4G Services:

There are lots of paradigms in which growing 3G/4G services availability in Pakistan would throw a positive impact on. Here are some of the noticeable ones below.

  • Internet Access in Remote Areas.
  • Fast & Affordable Internet Plans.
  • Scope of IT Industry Growth.
  • Portable Internet Access for Users.
  • Alternate Source of Communication.
  • More Employment Opportunities.
  • Source to Generate Revenues for Govt.
  • Heavy Investment from Telco’s (Development of Services).
  • Boost in Internet Base Businesses (E-commerce, Web Development).
  • Mobile Application Industry Development (More Smartphone Penetration).


No doubt the next-gen data service has certainly laid a whole new perspective amid at internet related services. Off course mobile phone users also seem much excited if they came across high-speed 3G and 4G coverage available to them on the move. With this facility, the mobile subscriber will enjoy more internet perks straight from their mobile phone – regardless of where ever they are.

As far as the effect on the economy and growth of the country is concerned, certainly will benefit various sectors mainly IT Industry of Pakistan. Surely, 3G/4G is providing various sectors with a chance to be serving spoon not only for local clients but simultaneously for international clients as well in the course of their services. Therefore, all the above aspects after new data services launch in the country – will lure more revenue and investment in Pakistan.