Pakistan's Mobile broadband users' number depicts huge growth

Pakistan's Mobile broadband users' number depicts huge growth

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Monday announced mobile broadband (3G/4G) users' number has been increased in the country, reaching 38.269 million by January this year against 37.574 million by December 2016.

All the mobile phone operators providing mobile broadband services have added 0.695 million subscribers to their network during a month.

The number of mobile phone users in Pakistan reached 137.095 million by January 2017, up from 136.489 million by December last year, an increase of around 0.606 million new users during the period under review.

The latest statistics issued by Authority has revealed that total subscribers of Jazz - the merged company formed from Mobilink and Warid - reached 51.534 million by January 2017. Mobilink had a subscriber base of 41.253 million by December 2016 while Warid had 10.27 million users a month ago.

Zong and Telenor subscribers reached 27.496 million and 39.586 million by January 2017 as compared to 26.929 million and 39.453 million by December, respectively.

Ufone subscribers decreased to 18.478 million from 18.581 by December 2016.

As per PTA, Jazz 4G subscribers reached 700,486 by January 2017. Warid LTE had a subscriber's base of 637,363 by December 2016.

The number of 4G users for Zong jumped from 2,274,157 subscribers during December 2016 to 2,855,336 subscribers by end of January 2017.

Tele-density for cellular mobile reached 70 per cent and broadband subscribers reached 40,786,778 by January this year ascompared to 40,147,991 by December 2016.

Zong has picked up its pace in 4G segment during last four months. At a time when Pakistani handset market is still struggling with 4G smartphones - as there are not many 4G compatible handsets in Pakistan - Zong outplayed other operators by selling 4G SIMs through its Mobile Broadband (MBB) devices.

While we do not have exact numbers but through sources it was confirmed that majority of Zong's 4G consumers are on dongles/MiFi devices. Interestingly, a lot of home users and small business are now relying on Zong 4G MBB devices, which shows that there is huge a potential in this segment.

Top benefit for this 4G consumer is that its Average Revenue Per Month (ARPU) is at least US $ 15, up from usual US$ 2 ARPU for common Pakistani mobile phone users.

With Zong's plan for having more than 10,500 4G cell enabled cell sites by end of 2017, it appears that Zong is all prepared to captured 4G market even when their users will grow across the country with time.

It is highly likely that Jazz and Telenor will also get aggressive in MBB 3G/4G segment. But a lot will depend on how far and how deep these operators can go in terms of 4G coverage.

Also note that with growing number of 4G users, operators will have to add more towers in same area to accommodate them. For instance, if there are 100 4G users served with a single tower, any additional customers connecting with same tower will result into inferior service quality for everyone.

To maintain quality and reliability for a wireless broadband network, operators grow their cell towers to maintain quality of service for increasing number of consumers.