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High-Speed Broadband Growth Augers Well For Business, Education and Entertainment in Pakistan

High-speed broadband expansion led by PTCL has propelled Pakistan to become the fourth fastest growing broadband market in the world and the second fastest in Asia, according to a recent industry report. Serbia leads all countries surveyed with a 68% annual growth rate from Q1 2010 to Q1 2011. Thailand (67%), Belarus (50%), Pakistan (46%), and Jordan (44%) follow Serbia. India is in 14th place worldwide with a 35% annual growth rate.





Leading the charge is PTCL (Pakistan Telecommunications Ltd.), Pakistan's state-owned telecommunications company, which recently launched 100 Mbps fiber to the home broadband service using Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology. Earlier this year PTCL rolled out bonded VDSL2 technology to deliver 50 Mbps to its existing DSL customers, five times the top speed of the nation's highest level of service at the time, at a construction cost of just $200-300 per home passed.

Nearly 200,000 new subscribers signed up for broadband from the end of Feb to the end of May. At the end of May 2011, Pakistan had 1.4 million broadband subscribers, up from 1.2 million in February, according to figures from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). The number of DSL subscribers rose to 654,000 compared with 595,038 in Feb, while the number of Wimax internet users stood at 397,155, up from 338,962 Wimax users in February. Some 294,161 people connected to the internet via EV-DO, up from 234,113 in Feb, and 42,490 people used HFC (Hybrid Fiber Coax, or cable) to access the internet, compared with 43,193 HFC users in February. Fiber is growing as well, and there were 6,222 FTTH users in March, up from 5,818 in Feb, and 1,873 broadband subscribers used other technologies.



In addition to GPON and VDSL2, PTCL offers DSL and EVO broadband services as well. 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.


Growing broadband and Internet access by itself is of no value. However, such capabilities can enable huge opportunities for education, communication, business and entertainment. Take distance learning as an example. The quickest and the most cost-effective way to broaden access to education at all levels is through online schools, colleges and universities. Sitting at home in Pakistan, self-motivated learners can watch classroom lectures at world's top universities including UC Berkeley, MIT and Stanford. More Pakistanis can pursue advanced degrees by enrolling and attending the country's Virtual University that offers instructions to thousands of enrolled students via its website, video streaming and Youtube and television channels.

There are many online learning channels, like the Khan Academy, which help advance learning at secondary and tertiary levels. For those interested in vocational training and specialized work-related skills, there are plenty of Youtube channels and videos which are becoming accessible with increasing bandwidth of connections available to people at their homes, schools and offices.

In summary, I believe that the growing bandwidth available for the Internet users in Pakistan, with all its great applications for learning, work and play, is good news for the future of Pakistan. It will open a whole new world of opportunities for the nation's youth and ultimately produce significant demographic dividend.

Here's a video clip about PTCL's EVO 3G tablet:


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Views: 383

Tags: Broadband, DSL, Education, PTCL, Pakistan

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 27, 2011 at 10:14am
Here are some excerpts from a CNN report on low-cost tablet computers:

This month there are fresh rumors that Apple may be planning to introduce a smaller and less costly "iPad mini." But nothing is confirmed, so don't hold your breath.

The tablet market is growing fast, and its dynamics are shifting quickly. According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, in the last year Android tablets grew from 2% of the global tablet market to 27%. Meanwhile, the iPad's global tablet market share has dropped from 96% to 67%.

That doesn't reflect a decrease in the iPad's popularity, but rather that consumer demand for tablets is not one-size-fits-all.

In fact, size is a key issue for people shopping for tablets. The iPad measures roughly 7-by-10 inches -- too big for a typical pocket or purse, and nearly twice the size of the basic Kobo Vox, Nook Color and Kindle Fire models. Digital devices that aren't as easy to carry around tend to mainly get used only at certain times of day, in certain settings.

For this reason it's questionable how "mobile" larger tablets like the iPad really are.

Aside from the Vox, Fire, and Nook Color, there are lots of other small Android tablets available. But so far these products have faced various challenges in the consumer market:

Cost: The Wi-Fi-only version of Samsung's 7-inch Galaxy Tab costs about $350, which is on the pricier side. The carrier-branded versions cost much less to buy up front if you agree to a two-year contract. For instance, Verizon currently sells the 7-inch Galaxy Tab for just $200, but data plans cost $30-$80 per month, and there's a $350 early termination fee.

Philadelphia Newspapers Inc., publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, is selling a small Android tablet by Arnova for just $99-$129 in a small pilot program -- but for that bargain-basement price you have to agree to a one- or two-year newspaper subscription, costing up to $13 per month.

Device quality: This is an issue for the cheapest tablets. For instance, one reviewer noted that the touchscreen performance on the Philly.com tablet is less than stellar.

In contrast, the Nook Color has been getting generally favorable reviews for device quality. The advance Kindle Fire reviews are also mostly positive.

Android's learning curve: This can be an obstacle for some. The straightforward Android experience that comes with tablets by Samsung, Motorola, Lenovo, and other manufacturers can be daunting to typical consumers -- especially the majority of U.S. consumers who don't yet own a smartphone. A more constrained but dependable out-of-the-box user experience can be simpler to learn and can make the average consumer happier, at least initially.
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However, most "pure" Android tablets do offer one key advantage over constrained e-reader tablets: direct access to Google's Android Market, where there's a virtually unlimited choice of apps.
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The coming year -- especially the 2011 holiday season -- will probably indicate whether smaller tablets will play a leading role in the U.S. digital media landscape. If these devices start becoming as commonplace as iPhones and Kindles, they may become popular and powerful tools for the delivery of mobile services for health, education, jobs, and more.

Sure, you can use a small, cheap tablet to read books, watch YouTube, and play "Angry Birds." But maybe someday lots of people will be using these devices to get a college degree -- or perhaps to learn to read in the first place.


http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/25/tech/gaming-gadgets/smaller-cheaper-t...
Comment by Riaz Haq on February 5, 2012 at 8:25pm

The prices for Pakistan's PAC (Pakistan Aeronautical Complex) computers range from Rs. 8,000 for PAC eBook reader tablet, to Rs. 15,000 for PAC PAD 1 tablet and Rs. 23,500 for PAC nBook.

Check out PakAccounts.com for specs more details.

http://pakaccountants.com/pakistan-introduced-ebook-reader-notebook...

Here's a link to a video about Pakistan Aeronautical Complex products.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oMbzyTun7Q&feature=related

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 12, 2012 at 11:07pm

Khan Academy.org is the 6485th most popular site in Pakistan based on a combination of average daily visitors and pageviews. 1.3% of the Khan Academy.org users come from Pakistan and they generate 0.6% of the pageviews on Khan Academy.org, according to Alexa.

http://www.appappeal.com/maps/khan-academy-org/

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 13, 2012 at 9:45pm

Here's an interview report on growth of broadband in Pakistan:

BR Research: What does it really mean when PTCL says 'Hello to the future'?

Naveed Saeed: PTCL has undergone massive transition since it has been taken over by Etisalat in 2006.

Now, it's a transformed company with a new outlook, new culture, new management, and new focus, and has become more customer-friendly and customer-centric.

It has moved on to the next level, and launched new services for both the wireless and wire line segments.

Today, PTCL's portfolio includes services like Smart TV and EVO, and products like Smartphones and tablets.

This essentially takes us into the futuristic direction.

Thanks to the large platform and network available with PTCL, our capacities to design, host, store and manage multiple services are immense.

So, we are actually telling our customers to say "Hello to the future" with PTCL.

This reflects our brand philosophy and our future direction in the business.

BRR: But the bread and butter for PTCL still remain its Voice business, whose revenues are on a constant decline for many years now.

NS: PTCL's voice revenue is still quite substantial, and we are trying to protect and maintain our share of voice in this hyper-price-sensitive market.

We have seen shrinkage in our fixed line subscriptions, but that has ceased now, and the current subscribers are from the business community and households.

We feel that Voice will eventually become a value-added service because the growth that we are having from the broadband services is expected to outgrow Voice revenues in the coming years.

We are expanding accordingly.

Today, we have close to 800,000 DSL users, over 200,000 EVDO users, and these numbers are growing.

These are high revenue and high margin customers, so it makes more business sense for us to sell one broadband connection rather than running after 3 or 4 PSTN connections.

BRR: So, what is the strategy in action at PTCL, to diversify the revenue mix away from Voice to other emerging segments?

NS: The strategy is to make the PSTN connection a prerequisite for a customer to avail broadband services.

For the future, we are contemplating to offer double play services, rather than giving the PSTN connection alone.

That's the model, and then we'll gradually go for triple play (voice, data and video), and then quad play which includes surveillance, too.

Our "PTCL Jadoo campaign" is a step in that direction, which offers a PSTN connection, bundled with DSL broadband, IPTV, wifi hotspot and EVO backup.

Our business is to specialise in certain domains and provide customised solutions in every single one of them.

Through unified connectivity platforms, we are moving towards cloud services where businesses would have dumb terminals and computers at their end, and their data storage would be happening at our end.

That's the dimension we are moving towards where businesses get rid of their data warehouses and telephone terminals, and depend on us from emails to phone calls (VoIP) to broadband to mobility.

We have the capacity to offer all these services under one umbrella.

BRR: How well-poised is PTCL to take advantage of the evolving data-age in Pakistan?

NS: Globally, data connectivity platforms, which are more efficient and accessible, are being used for Voice services, too.

Smartphones and tablets, coupled with a plethora of applications, have given a boom to this data age.

The Pakistani telecom market, which has hit saturation point in the Voice segment, is going in

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 9, 2012 at 10:59pm

Here's an excerpt from recent Akamai's State of the Internet report for Q1-2012:

When it comes to average connection speeds, all of the top 10 countries experienced positive year-over-year changes in average connection speeds. Globally, a total of 125 countries experienced year-over-year increases and only 10 countries that qualified for inclusion saw declines in connection speeds. The global average connection speed in the first quarter was 2.6 Mbps.

Once again, South Korea (15.7 Mbps) featured the fastest average connection speed. Countries/regions rounding out the top 5 included Japan (10.9 Mbps), Hong Kong (9.3 Mbps), the Netherlands (8.8 Mbps) and Latvia (8.8 Mbps).

Year-over-year, the global average peak connection speed increased by 25 percent, and increases were also seen across all of the top 10 countries. Globally, nearly 130 qualifying countries saw year-over-year increases in average connection speeds, ranging from 3.8 percent growth in Pakistan (to 5.9 Mbps) to a 213 percent jump in Libya (to 3.8 Mbps). Only five countries saw a yearly decline in average peak connection speed, with the greatest loss in Tanzania, which dropped 21 percent (to 5.1 Mbps).

In the first quarter, Hong Kong took the top spot for average peak connection speed (49.3 Mbps), dropping South Korea (47.8) to second place. The remaining top 5 included Japan (39.5 Mbps), Romania (38.8 Mbps) and Latvia (33.5 Mbps).
---------
In the first quarter of 2012 Akamai found that a mobile provider in Germany delivered the fastest average connection speed at slightly less than 6 Mbps. Of all mobile operators tracked, five had an average connection speed of greater than 4 Mbps, while 65 mobile operators had average connection speeds greater than 1 Mbps. Only three providers had average connection speeds below 500 kbps.

When looking at peak connection speeds for the mobile providers worldwide for which Akamai analyzed data, a provider in Hong Kong offered the highest average peak connection speed of 32.2 Mbps. A German provider came in a close second at 31.2 Mbps. Overall, six mobile operators had average peak connection speeds of greater than 20 Mbps - double the number of the previous quarter. 31 providers had average peak connection speeds above 10 Mbps and all providers had average peak connection speeds above 2 Mbps.

http://www.darkreading.com/security/news/240005229/akamai-releases-...

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 22, 2012 at 2:08pm

Here's a Nation report on PTCL's Wi-Fi enabled USB:

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) has introduced Pakistan’s First Wi-Fi enabled USB ‘3G EVO Wingle’ that connects multiple Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously at hyper speeds of up to 9.3 Mbps, says a Press release.

PTCL 3G EVO Wingle is a perfect work and travel companion providing a powerful Wi-Fi experience on the go, connecting 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices to PTCL’s revolutionary 3G EVO Wireless Broadband. The tremendous ease and comfort of 3G EVO Wingle with its state of the art Wi-Fi capability and fast internet browsing brings an unparalleled experience for PTCL customers.

“3G EVO Wingle will revolutionize the way people connect and surf on the go”, said Senior Executive Vice President (SEVP) Commercial, Naveed Saeed. “Being the largest telecommunication company in Pakistan PTCL has always been the trendsetter for other companies”.

3G EVO Wingle launch comes with a special bundle offer of 3 months unlimited internet and free Wingle device for just Rs 7,500. PTCL also offers customers the flexibility to opt for various post and prepaid packages based on their needs and requirement and access to broadband internet anywhere anytime.

“We are constantly bringing products that provide maximum utility to our customers” said Executive Vice President (EVP) Wireless, Omer Khalid. “PTCL has specially taken this initiative so that our valued customers can work play and surf on the go”.

PTCL 3G EVO Wingle provide customers seamless roaming experience at speeds up to 9.3 Mbps in over 200 cities, with auto switch over to 3.1 Mbps speeds in over 250 cities. The devices come with secure password protection to ensure optimal connection security.

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-onli...

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 24, 2012 at 4:31pm

Here's Businessweek on PTCL profitability:

Pakistan Telecommunications Co. (PTC), the country’s biggest phone-service provider, forecast a return to profit by its fiscal fourth quarter as workers opting for early retirement cut labor costs.

“We will return to profitability after we absorb the cost of retiring employees,” Naveed Saeed, senior executive vice president for the Islamabad-based company’s commercial unit, said in an interview on Oct. 22. “Our revenue growth is strong and we are really trying to contain the costs.”

Pakistan Telecom has struggled to increase revenue from its fixed-line unit as mobile-phone operators including Telenor ASA (TEL) and China Mobile Ltd. (941) grab market share. The telecommunications market was deregulated in 2004, and the number of mobile-phone users jumped more than ninefold in the past seven years in the country of 180 million people.

Profitability for Pakistan Telecom was hurt in the first quarter as it absorbed the cost of a voluntary retirement progam that reduced its workforce by between 5,000 and 6,000 employees, Saeed said at the company’s headquarters. A similar program in 2008 saw 35,000 of 50,000 employees retire early.

Saeed forecast 7 percent sales growth for the current financial year, which ends in June. That’s higher than the 6.4 percent average annual revenue growth for Pakistan Telecom in the past five fiscal years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About half of the company’s revenue goes to paying salaries for an estimated 25,000 permanent and contractual employees.
Stock Performance

Pakistan Telecom fell 3.3 percent to 18.57 rupees yesterday. That pared the stock’s gain this year to 79 percent, compared with an advance of about 40 percent for the Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index.

Pakistan Telecom, controlled by Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (ETISALAT), posted a loss of 8.26 billion rupees ($86.4 million) in the three months through September, its first quarterly loss in more than four years. That compared with a profit of 2.23 billion rupees a year earlier.

Fixed-line users fell to 2.9 million last year from the peak of 5.2 million in Pakistan Telecom’s financial year that ended in June 2005, as more people switched to mobile phones.

The number of mobile-phone users in the country grew to 119.8 million as of May this year from 12.7 million in 2005, according to the Pakistan Telecom Authority.
‘Steady Growth’

“They will be back to profit by the end of this year,” said Ayub Ansari, a Karachi-based analyst at AKD Securities, in a telephone interview. “There has been a steady growth in their core businesses. The cellular segment continues to grow, plus the broadband segment is also very exciting. That’s the next big thing for Pakistan and PTCL in particular.”

Pakistan Telecom derives most of its sales from the broadband unit, which has more than 1 million customers and contributes about 25 percent to profit, Saeed said. Aqeel Shigri, a spokesman, said the unit has a market share of 90 percent.

The company, which also owns the country’s third-largest mobile-phone operator Ufone, plans to bid for 3G bandwidth licenses the government plans to auction this financial year, Saeed said.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-24/pakistan-telecom-sees-r...

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 11, 2012 at 9:48am

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-ce...

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 16, 2012 at 9:31am

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...

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 27, 2013 at 6:24pm

Here's a report on PTCL's new EVO Tab:

Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) has launched an enhanced version of its Evo Tab tablet. The 7-inch new tablet is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor and runs on Android 4.0, Pro Pakistani writes. The tablet connects via EV-DO or Wi-Fi technology and can also create a Wi-Fi hotspot for other devices. The Evo Tab also comes with a 5-megapixel camera and 4 GB of memory which can be expanded with microSD cards up to 32 GB. PTC offers the Evo Tab with three months of unlimited internet at PKR 18,000.

http://www.telecompaper.com/news/ptcl-launches-fresh-evo-tab--938973

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