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Published on January 8th, 2007 | by Babar Bhatti


WiMAX in Pakistan

In 2006 Wateen-Motorola WiMAX project in Pakistan created a lot of buzz all over the world. Many similar trials and services are being offered around the World. However it is still a big unknown if Wimax will be a success in emerging markets of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and China. Can WiMAX deliver its promise of affordable broadband with wide coverage? Some skeptics think that WiMAX is more of a hype created by industry and not a reality yet. Of course adoption by public will be the proof of its success.

In Pakistan, Wateen’s project is going ahead full speed and it might be available for public in later half of 2007, according to Business Recorder. According to some blogs and discussion forums Wateen may offer WiMAX to 22 cities in the first quarter of 2007.  Malaysian owned Dancom also started offering Wimax in Karachi, starting with the business community. Their prices are still high for consumers.

Let’s take a look at the WiMAX technology and how can it meet broadband needs of today. See illustration below (source Telecom Magazine)  for end-to-end view of WiMAX.

The WiMAX Forum, an industry coalition, defines it as:

WiMAX is a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to wired broadband like cable and DSL. WiMAX provides fixed , nomadic, portable and, soon, mobile wireless broadband connectivity without the need for direct line-of-sight with a base station. In a typical cell radius deployment of three to ten kilometers, WiMAX Forum Certified™ systems can be expected to deliver capacity of up to 40 Mbps per channel, for fixed and portable access applications.

Point-to-multipoint wireless solutions based on WiMAX could have the potential to address the performance and economic challenges associated with providing cost-effective broadband access in the infamous last mile. The graphic below (source Telecom Magazine) shows how a wide range of end users can be served using which of the IEEE standards e.g. IEEE 802.16e-2005 for data mobility.

In addition to broadband Internet access, applications that are supportable with WiMAX include instant messaging, multiplayer interactive gaming, streaming media, VoIP, video and teleconferencing, and media content downloads.

As explained here, a typical WiMAX operation will be comprised of WiMAX base stations deployed in a cellular fashion to provide ubiquitous coverage over a metropolitan area. WiMAX base stations can be connected to the edge network by means of a wireless point-to-point link or where available, a fiber link.

Major Players

Some of the major names include: Motorola, Intel, ZTE, Samsung, Alcatel, Alvarion, Sprint, Aperto Networks.

From the US mobile phone proivders, Sprint has emerged as a champion of WiMAX. Sprint announced that mobile WiMAX is its 4G wireless technology of choice. It plans to begin building an entire Web-based phone network tuned to WiMAX starting next year. Intel, Motorola, and Samsung have invested heavily in the technology.


There are plenty of issues which can bog down WiMAX. Here’s a brief overview.

  • Price obstacle – the equipment costs are still too high
  • Spectrum – in many countires the availability of spectrum for WiMAX is a major issue
  • Standards – issues of of interoperability between OEMs and carriers abound
  • Intellectual Property – As of September 2006, there were more than 1,500 patents distributed among 330 companies on WiMAX technologies
  • One wonders if 2007 is the year when Wimax becomes mainstream? At least Motorola believes so!

    Continue below to read some opinions from the Telecom Press.

    Telephony magazine reports: The WiMAX sector definitely has some cause to be excited, but they aren’t in the clear just yet. The critics may be slightly cowed, but they still have a lot of good points. Sprint aside, WiMAX is still an unproven technology aside from Samsung’s WiBro networks in Korea. And even the ostrich feather in WiMAX’s cap, Sprint, isn’t exactly the proof of the WiMAX business case these conferees would hope. The peculiarities of its spectrum, regulatory deadlines for deployment and the lack of availability of latter generation CDMA technologies all contributed to Sprint’s choice of WiMAX. Other carriers won’t face that pressure. In fact, pressure might go in the opposite direction, forcing them to deploy latter-day UMTS technologies even if they like WiMAX.

    More on Wimax in Pakistan and Aisa in coming months.

    About the Author

    Founder and Editor of TelecomPk.net

    10 Responses to WiMAX in Pakistan

    1. saidullah says:

      Dear Mr.Bilal Qureshi,

      I want to meet you and you uncle on your site(location).
      My contact address is WAQAF Plaza office # 6,7 saddar cantt Peshawar.

      My cell number is 03004422661 (Ali Akbar)
      now i am out of country

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    5. Bilal Qureshi says:

      My uncle ‘Tariq J Qureshi’ is the father of Wimax in Pakistan and the genius who designed the Wateen Network and designed what services will run on it. He has left Wateen and is now in PTCL, but he has offers from two new carriers who will be coming into Pakistan to start Wimax within 6-12 months.
      Well Warid hired him out of Silicon valley to do the job, and once Wateen’s network is deployed it will change the way voice and broadband service will be delivered in Pakistan.

      His theory is simple and understandable, when new technologies emerge they will only be adopted if they either increase the effeciency by 2X minimal or decrease cost of delivery by half and that is exactly what Wimax will do. Yes the mobility will come as soon as the specifications are firmed (say in next 6 months) out because the chip sets will become available (next 12 months) to drive down the price of CPE. Simply put look at how prices on TeleVision, computers, cell phones have gone down over the years. So 3Q 2008 will be the year when Wimax CPE will appear in Pakistan and the world market and prices will drop by 25% every year. Laptops will have Wimax built in by 2008 4Q, and add on cards will be available for desk tops. The service delivery cost will be lower, so we can expect prices in range of Rs 6-900 for Voice and Broadband connection, with entire nationwide calling at 0.50/minute, in other words millions of more people will start using internet access. Voice and internet bundled will cost

    6. Pingback: State of Telecom Industry in Pakistan » Pakistan Telecom - A Year of Blogging

    7. muhammad shoaib says:

      i m astudent of telecom.i m searching for for final year project. i want to make project in wimax.give the information about wimax.In which area we make project in wimax\
      please reply

    8. Pingback: WiMAX in Pakistan

    9. Pingback: Why WiMax? « State of Telecom Industry in Pakistan

    10. Babar Bhatti says:

      Here’s a view point from: http://wireless.seekingalpha.com/article/15557
      “WiMAX’s biggest challenge going forward will be the development of true mobility.”

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