Pakistan Mobile Broadband Speed Fastest in South Asia

Pakistan's average mobile broadband speed of 13.1 megabits per second is the fastest in South Asia, according to Ookla Global Speed Test Index 2017.  Mobile broadband speeds in other South Asian countries are: Myanmar 11.7, Nepal 11, Sri Lanka 9.3, India 8.8 and Bangladesh 4.97.

World Speed Rankings:

South Asia region remains far behind the rest of the world. Pakistan ranks 89, Myanmar 94, Nepal 99, Sri Lanka 107, India 109 and Bangladesh 120 among 122 nations ranked by Ookla.  Norway tops the list with 62.66 Mbps followed by the Netherlands 53, Iceland 52.78, Singapore 51.5 and Malta 50.46 Mbps.  United States is ranked 44 with 26.32 Mbps.

Smartphones/broadband Growth:

The growth of mobile broadband has spurred demand for smartphones. Pakistan now has nearly 50 million mobile broadband subscriptions with as many smartphones. Both smartphones and broadband user base in Pakistan are surging at a rate of 1 to 2 million a month.

Next Billion Users:

Google believes the next billion smartphones will be sold in 4 countries including Pakistan. The other three countries driving demand are India, Indonesia and Brazil.

At a recent launch of Datally app in Pakistan,  Google's head of Next Billion User initiative Tania Aidrus told Express Tribune that “Google is working on digitalising Urdu to promote local content and bring the vast majority of non-English-speaking Pakistanis online."

At the launch event, Google’s Asia Pacific Industry Head Khurram Jamali said that the number of people watching videos on the internet is growing by 66% annually while social media users are increasing by 35% per year, adding that 80% of the users surf the internet through mobile phones, according to Express Tribune.


Pakistan mobile broadband  speeds are the fastest in South Asia region and the number of users in the country are growing rapidly. There are nearly 50 million broadband/smartphone users now and rising at a rate of 1 to 2 million per month. Google has put Pakistan among 4 countries where the Next Billion smartphone users are expected to come from.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on December 20, 2017 at 10:59am

Pakistan saw the highest increase in mobile internet speed among the world’s most populous countries in 2017, according to a report by

In its Speedtest Global Index, the speed testing company noted that Pakistan, with a 56.2% jump in mobile download speed during the past 12 months, ranked first, followed by India in the category at 42.4% and Brazil at third spot with 27.6%.

At the other end of the spectrum in the category, Nigeria’s mobile download speed actually dropped 8.4% and Bangladesh’s dipped 7.4%. China showed only a modest 3.3% increase in mobile download speed in 2017.

With a 249.5% jump in mobile download speeds, Laos showed the largest improvement in the world, the report stated.

Vietnam came in second with an increase of 188.7% and Trinidad and Tobago was third at 133.1%.

In some countries, mobile internet speed dropped during the year instead of improving. The devastation of Puerto Rico’s mobile infrastructure by Hurricane Maria contributed to the island’s 39.8% drop in mobile download speed during the past twelve months.

Uzbekistan saw a decline of 31.8% and Côte d'Ivoire 26.1%.

According to the November edition of the Speedtest Global Index, Pakistan ranked 89th in terms of mobile speed during the month, coming ahead of India and Bangladesh in the category.

The Speedtest Global Index compares internet speed data from around the world on a monthly/yearly basis. Data for the Index comes from hundreds of millions of tests taken by real people using Speedtest every month. It is updated every month with individual country data and global averages.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 29, 2017 at 10:25am

Exclusive: Aid charities reluctant to reveal full scale of fraud
Tom Esslemont

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - With fraud rife in conflict and disaster zones, aid charities are under pressure to be open about corruption but one third of the world’s 25 biggest aid charities declined to make their fraud data public in a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation.

Data collected from 12 of the 25 humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with the greatest expenditure shows annual losses of $2.7 million - or just 0.03 pct of annual turnover based on data supplied for the years 2009-2014.

Transparency experts said the real figure would likely be far higher if data was available with these major aid relief groups estimated to spend $18 billion a year globally.

Eight of the biggest NGOs questioned in a pioneering survey on accountability in charitable aid declined to elaborate, saying they reported their losses to regulators. Five of the biggest NGOs said they had not experienced any diversions of funds during this period.

“Most NGOs in many cases will not report fraud as fraud because they will have a long paper trail coming after them,” said transparency and development researcher, Till Bruckner, author of the book “Aid Without Accountability”.

The 2010 Haiti earthquake - which saw Haitians accuse local authorities of deliberately holding up aid distributions - forced a rethink in the NGO sector, says Craig Fagan, head of policy at global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.

“I would say in the last five years there has been a turning of the tide,” Fagan told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“[There has been] a realization, at least at a global level, that this is part of their licence to operate, that charities need to be accountable in a 360-degree way with people they are working with and those funding them.”

Mercy Corps said it had been defrauded in its Afghanistan program in 2011, when a staff member absconded with funds worth $257,670 after cashing a check he had altered.

A spokeswoman said the loss, which was recovered through the charity’s insurance policy, accounted for 0.09 percent of that year’s total revenue and that Mercy Corps altered its banking relationship to prevent the problem recurring.

World Vision International, the largest humanitarian NGO in the world in expenditure terms, said $1 million (0.01 percent) of its resources went missing between 2009 and 2013.

A spokesman for the charity said this was largely down to two significant incidents, both in World Vision’s Zambia office.

The first, amounting to $262,000, resulted from collusion between staff and outside vendors and bankers, while the second, amounting to $306,000, was related to internal staff fraud in procurement transactions.


The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) revealed 14 cases of financial irregularities in nine countries, including Liberia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its biggest financial loss was in Colombia, where $50,000 worth of building materials did not reach the intended beneficiaries.

“A staff member admitted to having misappropriated the funds and was dismissed,” an NRC spokesman explained.

Those defrauded said the problem was not simply one of theft.

“Corruption includes cases where the organization faces theft, bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, facilitation payments, deception, extortion, abuse of power,” said a spokesman for the medical relief charity MSF.

The MSF spokesman said in a separate incident, $790,000 of material goods were looted or stolen from its premises in the Central African Republic in 2014.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 17, 2018 at 10:12am

Broadband users in Pakistan cross 50m mark

The number of broadband subscribers including 3G and 4G subscribers in the country has crossed 50 million, showing around 24.5 per cent penetration till November last year.

Of the total users, mobile broadband remained the major contributor, sharing 48 million 3G and 4G subscribers till the period. The 3G and 4G subscription registered 23.5 per cent penetration, revealed statistics issued by regulator Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Till the period, the number of mobile phone users reached 144 million as compared to 142.5 million by October 2017. The tele-density for cellular mobile reached 70.83 percent.

Jazz’s total count for 3G users stood at 14.096 million by end-November as compared to 13.93 million by end-October 2017, registering an increase of 0.166 million. Jazz 4G user numbers jumped from 1,558,180 by October to 1,750,866 by end-November

Zong 3G subscribers increased to 9.0297 million by end-November 2017 as compared to 8.976 million by end-October, while the number of 4G users jumped from 4,8 million by end-October to 4.9 by end-November.

The number of 3G users of Telenor network decreased from 10.635 million by end-October 2017 to 10.591 million. Like others the number of 4G users jumped from 1,162,870 by end-October 2017 to 1,361,514 by end-November 2017.

Ufone added 67,517 3G users on its network during the month of November as the total number reached 5.57 million by end-November against 5.4889 million by end-October 2017.

The number of broadband subscribers in other technologies included DSL 1,562,360, HFC 52,108, Wimax 151,092, FTTH 55775 and EvDO 518646.

Meanwhile, experts of telecom industry are having a viewpoint that portable mobile broadband devices like MiFi and Wingles are one of the main reasons of this growth in 3G/4G subscribers and many more will follow this trend in upcoming days.

The mobile broadband is helping in widespread adoption of social media which has an impact on everyday lives of billions of people around the world.

Social media has also been gaining vast popularity among

masses in Pakistan. The introduction of mobile broadband coupled with influx of affordable Smartphones had a catalytic effect on use of social media.

People turn towards social media to voice their opinions, experiences, suggestions and feedback on any topic or constituent of the society.

PTA is also in process of formulating framework for testing of 5G in Pakistan.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 22, 2018 at 9:47pm

4G speed slowest in India; not even half of Pakistan
Even countries like Algeria, Kazakhstan and Tunisia have better speed than India

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is making every effort to push digitisation, a study suggests that internet service, especially the 4G network, is slowest in India among 88 countries across continents. 

According to the OpenSignal study, while India witnesses a rise in internet penetration, it also faces slowest 4G services. 

India's internet speed is around 6 mbps, which is more than half of 14 mbps enjoyed in neighbouring country Pakistan. 

Even countries like Algeria, Kazakhstan and Tunisia have better speed than India, despite the country's rapid effort of being free from outdated 2G services. 
Algeria took second last spot having 4G speed of 9 mbps. 

Among the countries where 4G network is efficient are -- UAE with 28 mbps speed, Japan with 25 mpbs, United Kingdom with 23 mbps, United States with 16 mbps and Russia with 15 mbps. 

While Singapore was on the top spot with 44 mbps, Netherlands stood at the second spot with 42 mbps speed. 

They were followed by Norway with 41 mbps speed, South Korea with 40 mbps and Hungary at fifth spot with 39 mbps speed. 

Explaining the slowest speed in India, the study revealed that though 4G is available for around 86% of the time people access the internet, “4G networks lack the capacity to deliver connection speed much faster than 3G. 

Currently, in India, there is data war among telecom operators. Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio has continued to lure customers with it's cheap data and free calls, which has forced other telcos like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone to follow the suit. 

However, these three telcos are facing chunk in their earnings, as they try to match up to RJio's level. 

RJio and Airtel currently provide 4G services on pan-India basis. Idea too has network, except Delhi and Kolkata, across the country. On the other hand, Vodafone has it's 4G services available in 17 circles of India.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 27, 2018 at 9:32am

#Pakistan is the largest #smartphone market for #Huawei outside its home market in #China

With Pakistan being its second largest smartphone market after China and the largest International market, the country’s response to this policy is set to have a global impact on future decisions Huawei tend to make in the smartphone industry.


With over 130 million smartphone devices sold last year, Huawei has certainly taken a stride in the smartphone market.

From the P10 to the Nova and finally the Mate series, Huawei offers a wide range of smartphones catering to each range of consumers. Despite this, the company faces an interesting dilemma.

Huawei has taken what the company describes as a “dedicated policy towards competing with the high-end smartphones in the market.”

The latest products in the Mate series – Mate 10 PRO and the Mate 10 – have plunged the company deep into core Artificial Intelligence functions with the Kirin 970 processor, automating many smart features of the device.

The camera, in particular, recognises objects with much more clarity and precision compared to other Android devices and in response adjusts the pictorial quality relative to the object being captured. This is further augmented with the partnership with award-winning German Camera manufacturer Leica.

The Device’s EMUI interface emphasises the need for a personalised, emotionally responsive sidekick that “understands its owner more than any simple mechanical device,” according to Christophe Coutelle, Vice President software marketing at the company.

In terms of the response, Huawei has been perceived as a smartphone maker that caters well to the mid-range smartphone consumers especially in foreign markets.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 16, 2018 at 7:59am

#Google's Lars Anthonisen, head of large customer marketing: #Pakistan is fast emerging "digital-first country". Pakistan will "produce one of the largest #digital audiences in the world" and is, therefore, a growing market for foreign #investors.

Google's Head of Large Customer Marketing, South Asia, Lars Anthonisen believes Pakistan, that he describes as a fast emerging "digital-first country", will prove to be a good investment for entrepreneurs around the world.

Anthonisen believes that Pakistan is on its way to "produce one of the largest digital audiences in the world" and is, therefore, a growing market for foreign investors.

He listed five reasons for companies to expand their digital campaigns to Pakistan in a blog post he wrote for Think with Google, a platform that hosts expert analysis for e-commerce and digital branding in the Asia-Pacific region.

Fast-growing population
According to Anthonisen, Pakistan's fast-growing population means that it has an increasing number of people that go online every day.

He also refers to growing urbanisation in the country, where 40 per cent of total households live in cities. The rate of urbanisation in Pakistan is higher than that of India, which means there are more "potential customers".

SME-driven economy
Anthonisen says that Pakistan's economy — expected to be the fourth fastest growing economy in the world by the year 2030 — is largely driven by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Around 90 per cent of the businesses in Pakistan are SMEs that have a 40 per cent share in the country's gross domestic product.

Increasing number of smartphone users
Pakistan has a sizeable online population due to decreasing smartphone prices and cheap data packages. About 59 million people in Pakistan use smartphones, out of which 83 per cent have Android devices, Anthonisen says. As smartphone prices continue to drop, the number of users is likely to increase.

Also read: 3G and 4G mobile internet users cross 30m milestone

As data prices are "some of the cheapest... in the world", the usage of mobile apps, like YouTube, is increasing.

Internet penetration at a 'tipping point'
Even though internet penetration in Pakistan stands at 22 per cent, Anthonisen claims that digital consumption in the country is on the rise. Currently, there are 4.46 million internet users in the country. He cites the increase in YouTube watch time as an example of increasing digital consumption. The video platform has witnessed a 60 per cent increase in its watch time over the past three years.

Exclusive: The CPEC plan for Pakistan’s digital future

China's investment
According to Anthonisen, the Chinese-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) programme is China's largest investment in a foreign country. One of the projects of that are part of CPEC is the laying of 820 kilometres of fibre-optic cable, that will connect more Pakistanis to the digital world.

Anthonisen advises businesses to "leave a mark" on Pakistan's growing online market to grab the "endless opportunities that it can offer to investors.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 27, 2018 at 10:25am

Mobile Broadband Faster Than Wi-Fi In Pakistan: Report

Mobile Internet - overpowering other means of such facilities - is faster than WiFi Hotspot in Pakistan.

Even before 5G has taken over the world, mobile internet is proving to be better than Wi-Fi in some countries.

As per study conducted by OpenSignal, mobile data is faster than Wi-Fi hotspots in 33 countries including Pakistan.

In countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, the US, and South Korea, Wi-Fi is working better. But in countries like Australia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, and more, Long Term Evolution (LTE) is proving to be more effective with respect to download speeds.

In Mobile Data vs. WiFi domain, Australia is at the top in list of countries where Mobile data is faster than the Wi-Fi hotspots, Algeria is the last in the list.

As for difference between the average LTE and Wi-Fi speeds, Australia manifests a difference of 13 Mbps, Saudi Arabia at 1.

6 Mbps, Iran 8.3, while Pakistan has a difference of 2.3 Mbps on average.

Commenting on the findings, the OpenSignal has suggested that both device makers and users have to change their assumptions that Wi-Fi is always the best.

It used to be true when smartphones were a relatively new introduction, but with the advent of LTE, things have changed significantly.

Besides, Wi-Fi comes with its own issues like overcrowded networks despite being useful for local networking and places with data caps. Therefore, it seems that the tide is more in favor of cellular data, as compared to Wi-Fi, especially in Pakistan.

According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA),the number of mobile internet users in the country is growing with each passing month.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 27, 2018 at 10:38am

Pakistan’s urban-rural mobile ownership divide set to close soon, study shows

The report stated that 22 percent of Pakistanis are using smartphones, 25 percent feature phones, and 53 percent basic phones. However, only 26 percent Pakistanis cited affordability as a reason for not having/using a smartphone as compared to India’s 33 percent and Bangladesh 46 percent, which points to the relatively wealthier population in Pakistan compared to neighboring countries.

The mobile ownership gap between Pakistan’s rural and urban population is almost 5 percent as 57 percent of Pakistanis aged 15-65 have a cellular device of some type, an official from a leading regional information and computer technology (ICT) think-tank said.

“The very low smartphones ownership in Pakistan has a strong relevance to low internet usage in the country,” Helani Galpaya, CEO LIRNEasia, said presenting the findings of a study titled “After Access: ICT access and use in Asia and the Global South” at the launching ceremony of its Pakistan section of the report in Colombo.

“However, only two percent (of the population) owns computers, smartphone ownership is low at 22 percent, while 53 percent are still using non-Internet-enabled basic phones, which is the cause of low usage of Internet in the country.”

Galpaya said this was the actual barrier in internet usage growth in Pakistan and Pakistani government should ponder on how to increase smartphone usage in the country.

“Awareness of what Internet is is the most pertinent barrier; device ownership comes next, rural, women, less educated, and the aged are among those lagging behind in internet usage in Pakistan,” she said.

The Colombo-based think-tank has been conducting researches on ICT is actively working in Pakistan since 2006. This year it launched their aforementioned report.

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, the Ford Foundation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) supported the think-tank to conduct the research in the region, while in Pakistan, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) supported in conducting the surveys and other technical supports.

No sample frame was publicly available for Pakistan, but the sampling of enumerator areas (EAs) using the base methodology from the national census sample frame was carried out by the PBS in accordance with the requirements of LIRNEasia.

A sample of 2,000 households and individuals were surveyed from 100 census enumerator areas in October-December 2017 in Pakistan. Sampling was based on the 2017 Pakistan national census sample frame.

The Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and Gilgit-Baltistan provinces – amounting to approximately 2 percent of the population – were excluded from the sample frame due to practical and security considerations. Raw data collected was then weighted using 2017 national population stats.

According to the findings mobile ownership stands at 57 percent in Pakistan with closed urban-rural gap in mobile ownership of 5 percent but the gender gap between the mobile users persist at 37 percent, while rural women have the lowest level of mobile ownership in the country.

Nevertheless, the gap to own a mobile phone between high and low income groups is only 10 percent as compared to India’s 29 percent, and Bangladesh’s 18 percent.

The report identified that 28 percent of the zero income earners own a mobile phone in Pakistan out of which 58 percent lives in urban areas, 57 percent are women, 85 percent have less than primary or no education and 36 percent are 15-25 years old.

The report stated that 22 percent of Pakistanis are using smartphones, 25 percent feature phones, and 53 percent basic phones. However, only 26 percent Pakistanis cited affordability as a reason for not having/using a smartphone as compared to India’s 33 percent and Bangladesh 46 percent, which points to the relatively wealthier population in Pakistan compared to neighboring countries.

Similarly, only 10 percent Pakistanis responded that they do not know use of it as compared to India’s 11 percent and Bangladesh’s 15 percent. Ratio of keeping more than one SIM card is also low in Pakistan at 22 percent compared to India’s 25 percent and Bangladesh’s 32 percent.

The report finds that only 37 percent Pakistanis are aware of what Internet is. Awareness about internet is low among rural, female, less educated, lower income, basic phone owners, and among older people.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 26, 2018 at 5:39pm

#Pakistan prepares for #5G public #trial in 2019. Draft framework for 5G enables use of radio spectrum on trial basis for noncommercial purposes to carry out trials for innovative use of radio frequency spectrum, apparatus/equipment and academic purposes

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has unveiled its plans for the Fifth Generation (5G) Wireless Networks public trials, demonstrate systems and/or services in Pakistan.

In this connection, the regulator Wednesday has issued draft framework for test and development of future technologies particularly for 5G wireless networks in Pakistan 2018.

According to the PTA, the rapid growth in mobile data traffic and consumer demand for enhanced mobile broadband experience have led to an increasing emphasis on the upcoming fifth generation of mobile technology (5G).

“Seen as a comprehensive wireless-access solution with the capacity to address the demands and requirements of mobile communication beyond IMT-2020, it is projected that this technology will operate in a highly heterogeneous environment and provide ubiquitous connectivity for a wide range of devices, new applications and use cases”.

IMT-2020 is a term developed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s Radio communication Sector in 2012 to develop the vision of “IMT for 2020 and beyond.” The ITU has set a timeline that calls for the standard to be finished in 2020.

Pakistani telecom regulator said the scope of IMT-2020 is much broader than previous generations of mobile broadband communication systems. The ITU’s work in developing the specifications for IMT-2020 in close collaboration with the whole gamut of 5G stakeholders is now well underway along with the associated spectrum management and spectrum identification aspects. IMT-2020 will be a cornerstone for all of the activities related to attaining the goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The draft framework for 5G enables the use of radio spectrum on trial basis for noncommercial purposes to carry out trials for innovative use of radio frequency spectrum, apparatus/equipment and academic purposes including but not limited to scientific research, radio concepts and new systems demonstrations, added PTA.

The PTA said Government of Pakistan (GoP) policy directive based framework invites all stakeholders for participation in subject trials.

The framework has been issued only for temporary Test and Development licenses/authorizations which shall include criteria for the provision of authorization, conditions, duration, and other terms and conditions.

The Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) shall assign the spectrum to be used for subject trials which shall become effective from the date of Authorization issued by PTA.

It is important to mention here that the PTA said mere assignment of spectrum by FAB would not give right to the applicant for use of the same until Authorization is obtained from PTA.

The Test & Development Authorization allows an applicant to use spectrum on non-exclusive, non-commercial basis temporarily for the testing purposes.

There is no regulatory fee associated with subject non-commercial trial permission or the spectrum usage for said purpose. Also, users/consumers will not be charged for any services offered during the trial. The trial shall last for the period of three (03) to Six (06) months or as stated in the Authorization issued by PTA Spectrum for the trial will be available only at the designated test sites subject to localized restrictions (if any) due to National security issues.


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