'Pakistan market not ready for 3G mobile'
KARACHI (May 31 2008): Marwan Zawaydeh Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Warid Telecom has said that presently Pakistani market is not ready for 3G mobile services because the cost of a mobile phone for this service is over Rs 50,000.
In an interview with Business Recorder on Friday, he said that a 3G mobile set is out of buying reach of common men due to which market does not show potential for service providers to make huge investments prematurely.
"3G service is a commodity for very few people. The feasibility of 3G services in Pakistan will depend very much on the license fee as well as network rollout cost," he maintained. He said "therefore, the mobile phone operators ask the government to consider 3G not as a licensing opportunity, rather an allocation of additional spectrum linked with rollout obligations."
However, he said that mobile operators use GPRS and Edge technology, which requires minimum investment and most of the available handsets support it can offer broadband connectivity and high-speed data services.
He pointed out that a lot of geographical locations in Pakistan are currently without basic voice services. However, cellular service providers are investing for providing phone connectivity for remote areas.
Warid Telecom has invested 1.3 billion dollar in Pakistan during the last three years. Its total investments and commitments will reach 1.5 billion dollar by the end of 2008. It will invest additional one billion dollar by the end of 2009, Marwan pointed out.
About the company's expansion plan, he said that Warid started pouring money heavily to double our network capacity and coverage to take our installed cell sites to more than 5,000 by the end of this year. "The latest addition has taken the number to 5000 destinations in Pakistan," he added.
Warid Telecom has signed two contracts with Huawei. They cover purchase and installation of 422 cell sites and will add 137 cities and 27 roads to the Warid Telecom's coverage network before the end of 2008, he said.
"These network expansion plans would be mainly, focusing the rural and the far-flung areas of the country," he added.
Recently, Warid Telecom has awarded a 300 million dollar contract to Sweden's Ericsson to expand its network in Pakistan. The GSM network extension will give additional capacity for five million subscribers and coverage of additional 100 cities before the end of current year, he said.
Warid Telecom has always brought innovations and convenience for its subscribers. Some of them have been launched while many of them are in the process considering the new innovations as an ongoing activity, CEO Warid Telecom said. It has recently revised post-paid tariffs with many new features. Similarly, it is the first operator providing scratch-card payment facility for post-paid subscriber, he said.