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Published on September 10th, 2007 | by Babar Bhatti

36

Overview Of WiMAX in Pakistan




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I am sharing a piece about WiMAX in Paksitan, which I wrote for All Things Pakistan. As this is an overview, some of the information here may already be in my previous WiMAX posts.

Pakistan’s telecommunication industry – mobile communication in particular – has made impressive strides in the last few years after deregulation. However broadband growth in the country has been very disappointing – there are less than 100,000 broadband users in Pakistan. The open competition observed in mobile industry has not been replicated to broadband. Reasons include high prices, control of PTCL over bandwidth resources, policy issues, lack of infrastructure and legal disputes.

Enter WiMAX. Simply stated, it’s a relatively new standards-based wireless technology which is intended for large coverage areas on the order of several kilometers (instead of a few hundred meters, as is the case with Wi-Fi).

wateenmtrs.jpgWith base stations transmitting signals and some equipment at customer location, it promises fast bandwidth for both fixed locations and mobile users. In this backdrop, Pakistan made headlines in 2006 when Wateen announced plans to work with Motorola to rollout Mobile WiMAX, the largest network of its kind in the world.

Is WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) the right technology for developing countries? In other words, will this new technology deliver the promise of broadband at affordable prices?

WiMAX comes with many theoretical advantages but its potential is yet unproven. Without getting too technical, it is purpose-built for Internet (IP) communication and is based on standards (as opposed to other proprietary solutions) endorsed by a respected world standards body, the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers (IEEE)*.

In 2002 WiMAX was identified by Intel as an alternative or complement to the wireless broadband. Eventually Motorola and Intel became its biggest champions. On the other side of the camp were GSM operators of the world who saw WiMAX as a competing technology. As with any new technology, a lot of lobbying was done to make it an industry wide accepted technology. According to BusinessWeek,

“(Intel) rounded up a remarkable coalition of chip, PC, consumer electronics, networking, and software companies in an effort to radically reshape the future of broadband with what’s now called WiMAX.”

Currently the high prices of WiMAX ‘customer premises equipment’ (CPE) make it more expensive than fiber, cable or DSL. Wateen and others are counting on the trend of falling hardware prices for WiMAX. They would have to compete with the latest PTCL broadband campaign in which PTCL has dramatically reduced DSL prices at Rs 1200 per month for 256kbps speed with a 2GB limit. As a last mile solution, WiMAX may not compete on price at this time but if WiMAX is reliable, fast and operators provide better customer service then business users may pay some premium for it, say as a replacement for leased lines.

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

There are other potential benefits of WiMAX such as broadband access for rural areas or for areas that have no other reasonable broadband access. This is likely to be play an important role for developing countries. WiMAX can also reduce cost of transmission lines such as backhauls from cellular sites or cross-town links. To summarize, improved access and mobility are the major advantages promised by the WiMAX camp.

wimax-comparison.JPG

Even today the industry is full of discussions and debates, comparing WiMAX with technologies such as 3G. About 65 countries are experimenting with WiMAX and the results will vary by country depending on the spectrum availability, existing infrastructure and market conditions.

Coming back to Pakistan, the major initiatives include:
(1) Wateen – which is using WiMAX solution from Motorola and its cable/fiber network to offer triple play of phone, TV and broadband. Trials have been extended for over a year. Most aggressive to market their bundled solutions, they have started advertising without providing pricing and availability information.
(2) Mobilink – has formed a new entity called Link Dot Net (LDN) to focus on broadband market. WiMAX infrastructure was piloted by Mobilink in 3 cities and a recently issued RFP has generated 7 proposals to cover 5 major metros, including in-building coverage for high value business areas. Malaysia’s Dancom, which conducted early trials of WiMAX in Karachi, was acquired by Mobilink’s LDN in 2007. Mobilink also bought DV Com and its licenses.
(3) Burraq Telecom – which was acquired by ACT consortium which includes Qatar Telecom and Clearwire Corporation, an American operator providing WiMAX services in 10 countries, also plans to offer WiMAX.

The pricing has not been announced by these companies yet. Business users in Pakistan desperately need reliable broadband and are the desired customers because of their high affordability levels. Consumer market is different as demand varies by demographics’ low price is the dominating success factor.

What about the existing telecom infrastructure in Pakistan? For one, the GSM infrastructure in Pakistan is mainly focused on voice. 3G licenses are expected to be awarded at the end of 2007, paving the way for HSDPA – the high speed standard for GSM – in Pakistan . The existing 2 or 2.5G mobile Internet is available in selected areas and the number of users for the mobile broadband services remains low. It is yet to be seen if WiMAX, with its higher speeds** and costs, will find a large number of users in this category in Pakistan.

Spectrum is another important factor – even a show-stopper – in many countries where spectrum availability can mean all the difference. For Pakistan, PTA, the communications regulatory body has allocated spectrum in 3.5 GHz range for WiMAX. The CDMA wireless phone operators such as PTCL (Vfone) and Worldcall, which offer limited mobility, also have licenses in the 3.5GHz range and they are also likely to offer WiMAX services after getting approvals from PTA.

Notes:
* Fixed and mobile WiMAX are the 2 major choices, the standards for fixed (IEEE 802.16d) were defined in 2004; the mobile standard (IEEE 802.16e) has been recently finalized. WiMAX 802.16d has limited radio features; enhanced and standardized interoperable radio performance comes with WiMAX 802.16e.
** The claimed speeds for WiMAX vary making it difficult for people to get an idea of the real-life performance they are expected to get.

References: Motorola: [1] and [2] Wateen: [3] and [4] Others: [5], [6], and [7]


About the Author

Founder and Editor of TelecomPk.net



36 Responses to Overview Of WiMAX in Pakistan

  1. Mehboob Ali says:

    What is the communication range of WiMax in Pakistan.

  2. Usman Ahmed says:

    I think, the best offer at the moment for WiMAX is Moblink Infinity. They have unlimited data usage plans in their tariff and right now they are giving one month’s worth Internet free for signing up.

  3. saifulislam says:

    I have bought Ptcl Evo in Peshawar but not work proparly.I bought Rs 6000 with Package.plz help me for to tell to ptcl.plz ptcl take more tower in Pesh

  4. sarmad says:

    plz giveme basic knowledge about WiMAX

  5. The One says:

    Internet market is going to die as most of the companies are making blunders for getting some users lets make a review on every one

    PTCL:- extremely cheep with out after sale services, as per ptcl we have much free bandwidth available but unfortunately with out support.

    Wateen:- company with money but without minds, currently extremely desperate to get some users base as they are going to public limited company. Ultimately this company will close soon due to the bad management and corruption.

    World Call:- good company with true hardworking team but currently suffering due to low numbers of man power.

    LDN:- Fools idiots = LDN big name but unluckily they have jokers form Dancom and sluggish peoples form Wol so soon LDN will also be a big disaster.

    Cyber Net:- once it was a good company but now they have fired more then 300 Peoples and currently in huge loss

    Super Net:- again good company but some peoples are stuck with this company and trying to save their job so no new blood cosign the damage.

    Please add your comments

  6. asif saeed says:

    This is to inform all that I have a vacant space of 6 Marla’s for installation of Mobile Booster/Mobile Tower / Wireless Tower.

    Detail of Place is as follows:-

    JINNAH HOSPITAL

    malik chock,close to joher event complex or joher shadi hall,Lahore

    height of the building is 50ft

    contact asif saeed

    03334271429

    said9@hotmail.com

  7. asif saeed says:

    This is to inform all that I have a vacant space of 6 Marla’s for installation of Mobile Booster/Mobile Tower / Wireless Tower.

    Detail of Place is as follows:-

    malik chock,close to joher event complex or joher shadi hall,Lahore

    height of the building is 50ft

    contact asif saeed

    03334271429

    said9@hotmail.com

  8. syed ali haider rizvi says:

    To,
    The Regional Manager,of all telecom companies
    Subject : Installation of Mobile Tower/Mobile Booster/Wireless Tower
    Dear Sir,
    This is to inform you that we want to install mobile booster/mobile tower/wireless tower at our Propurtey..Our propartey is near by electric pole Which is the most suitable location for your mobile/wireless booster installation.
    Kindly send your survey team for inspection and give us a chance to be apart of your business.
    Your co-operation will highly appreciate.
    Thank you,
    Yours truly,
    EMAIL ADDRES:SYEDALIHAIDERRIZVI@ROCKETMAIL.COM
    MY NUMBER:03322141358
    MY PHONE:02136131912
    HOUSE NO :A73/86 SER NO 417 JAFFAR-E-TAYYAR MALIR KARACHI

  9. M. Siddique Memon says:

    Assalam-e-Alekum!

    I am Muhammad Siddique Memon R/O Murad Memon Goth Gadap Town Malir Karachi would like to contact with u for the purpose of launching Wateen Booster Tower in Rural Area Malir Karachi.

    Dear Sir,
    We have in Murad Memon Goth Malir Karachi many Network e.g. Waridtel, Jaz, Uphone, Zong Telenor etc PTCL Office we are getting benefits from it but we want to get more benefits from ur Wateen service. I have my own Plot in Rural Area Malir I want to contact with u for Wateen Booster Tower launch in my own Plot At Murad Memon Goth Malir Karachi on Rent. If you launching in Rural Area Malir then Please Contact with for same.

    Thanks

    Muhammad Siddique Memon
    0322-2478693
    021-4561414
    021-4281932
    msiddique_memon@yahoo.com

  10. Pingback: Service Providers - pakistantelecomexpo.com

  11. Rizwan says:

    The Wateen service is very bad and poor service in pak. It have 3rd class and worst customer service. totally rubbish and non-sense peoples.

  12. bil_ash says:

    Wateen WiMAX like any other service offering has its shortcomings but it ain’t bad. Firstly, there is no installation hassle. Secondly, it covers most of the major cities across Pakistan, thus, making its coverage zone the maximum than any other operator. Service side is being taken care of effectively…for instance a relative of mine who had his Internet service down yesterday, called Wateen helpline and the service team reached the premises on just one phone call and solved the issue within minutes…despite of the fact that it was a non-working day/night yesterday. but it is understandable that initially the WiMAX launch was not handled properly…but now things are a lot better. with fierece competition firing up with the likes of Mobilink, WorldCall, Dancom…Wateen is stepping up the ladder to cater to it on the basis of reasonable price and quality of service.

  13. Benighted says:

    im using …. worldcall evdo … its really sucks ….. soon i`l switched too mobilink infinity … could any one tell me abt mobilnk wimax services

  14. Dany says:

    any one here used Mobilink Infinity connection? thinking of getting WiMAX at my home but needs some reviews of the services…………

    Thanks……

  15. m.al.haseeb says:

    RUB RAKHA WROTE
    ” but at the moment the FAB/PTA has raised some concerns on the outdoor usage of ISM band i.e. 2.4GHz ”

    What do u mean by this Rub Rakha. What concerns PTA would have on outdoor wifi. i think wifi is progressing and backed by giants like Cisco specially on N draft. The thing is we usually buy books from Book Fair Shops and Discounts (Discontinued) Books ;), that gives u decade old technology story.

    Motorola Call 2.4GHZ an Unlicensed Wisdom and Alvarion working on Non Line of Sight 2.4GHZ and Ubiquiti is offering stunning Adaptive Antenna Technology CPE for only 79$. I bet if Wateen would have been offering 2.4GHz NLOS thier would have been a clear diff story. I usually put cross on thier GREEN and place it with CREAM. they better start saying ‘THE CREAM WE LOVE’ not the GREEN neccesary. The Lahore has been enjoying Broadband over DSL for many years. If they love GREEN why dont they start offering thier so called Broadband in Mandi, Chakwal, or even in Shahdara. Why should they have to take a clean start from Defence lahore. No body bloody understand the word Last Mile Technology other than WATEEN. They think Lahore Defence is last mile. Hell Man!

    The thing is our bloody General for PTA get THEENGA by offering unlisenced technology. Because thier old ‘half blown minded’ people dont get any thing against it.

  16. imran abd ur rehman says:

    i want to get job/internship in any telecom company i have done my BE telecom engineering with 70% marks

    imran3004@hotmail.com

    92-333-4494971

  17. Amjad Ali says:

    Salam

    One of the friend said the health hazards of WIMax and I would like to know more about it. There was a huge row over the use of GSM cell phones in europe and america and alot of research went on but it was finally proven that there is no link between brain tumer and the high freqenceis of these devices. But wimax operate in 3.5 GHz range that is extreemly high freqency and a bit worried about it. Its new never been tested for health hazards i think

  18. kamal abbas says:

    Great Info

    Thanks
    Kami

  19. amar says:

    hi
    i am an engg student and i wana know what is wimax what is it’s purpose and why should we use it

  20. Abid says:

    Dear Sidra

    Have you got Information about wateen please share with us, we will really thankful to you.

    Regards
    Muhammad Abid

  21. Sidra says:

    AOa

    Sir/Madam…i am here to look for people who are either currently using wateen’s products/services or have had some or the other experience with it…if u r one of the users(or had been one previously), then plz kindly reply on the id ” sid_aloo@yahoo.com

    i am asking for this ‘coz er…acually i am a student of bba at lhr and i am carrying a research to determine the satisfaction level among wateen users, so if you have the time and you are willing to help then plz kindly reply on the id above so that i can fwd u the questionnaire..its just a 2-3 mint survey and it doesnt have those long sort of questions,just one at the end regarding ur suggestions…

    ps
    If you are not the users of wateen, you can help by writing no im not using wateen and then filling up the personal profile part…

  22. Traiq Izhar Khan says:

    Kindly avoid Wateen for health reasons, their service will give you head aches, stress which will eventually lead to heart problems. I wonder who allowed them to provide a service which is an insult to high tech world of internet and allied services.

  23. Mobi MaX ( Mobilink Wi-Max) ll be awesome , its all about high speed… with no installation and ready to use CPEs

  24. Hope it will get a good remarks in the field of wimax

  25. Muhammad Khalil Shahid says:

    aoa. Broadband importance has been realized and its impact on overall economic growth of the country is well proven. Unfortunately Pakistan is quite lagging behind in this area. Although PTA is doing some good jobs but still more is needed to be done in this regard. Technological neutral approach of PTA is among good practices adopted by the regulators around the world.In the absence of Copper line and Cable infrastructure in most of the country, it is the best policy to facilitate the penetration of some low cost, rapid deployable technologies like wireless. This is also good to let market to decide to adopt which technology instead of regulator to push some technology in the market. Wimax has strong potential to become main stream technology. Especially the IEEE 802.16d, a fixed version is suitable for developing countries to spread broadband access to remote and rural areas of the Pakistan. The experience of the broadband advances countries like South Korea and Japan suggests that Government should play active role, both at demand and supply side, to speed up the penetration of broadband in Pakistan to compete with global economy.

  26. imran says:

    Link dot net is the best compnay in pakistan on wimax

  27. Pingback: State of Telecom Industry in Pakistan » Link Dot Net - Another Choice For Broadband In Pakistan

  28. Umer farooq says:

    Hi !
    Slam
    I m confusing about the claim make by Telenor that pakistan largest GPRS network in which sense they are claiming.
    Which network is market leader in pakistan in which sense.
    Who is palying well.
    According to my view point Mobilink is Market leader bcoz its has over 30, millions customer. and there newtwork is large.
    But whats the positioning of Telenor, Warid, China Tel, Ufone. Kindly guide me in this sense.

  29. VASWANI NAVAL says:

    What do you think if PTCL goes aggessive in terms of Marketing and Prices the future of WiMAx in Pakistan?

    What will be the imapct of economic indicator on WIMAX?

    What is future of WIMAX in pakistan as the concept of Home commuting (Operate office from home) is emarging and with PTCL low cost , High speed Broad Band services with Bundled products?

    What is payback period as per initial plans? if some thing goes wrong and if there is price war the what is plan B?

    VASWANI NAVAL
    BE(Electronics),
    MBA (Marketing & Management SZABIST Karachi)
    MS (Services Marketing)
    iamvaswani@gmail.com
    0092 300 2237927

  30. Pingback: State of Telecom Industry in Pakistan » Wateen Announces WiMAX Tariffs

  31. Pingback: State of Telecom Industry in Pakistan » Motorola To Deploy Mobilink WiMAX In Pakistan

  32. chudhary says:

    it will be a commercially viable technology if there are large scale deployments in particularly north america and other developing markets. This will drive the CPE cost down.

    The possinility is there to use WiMax as backhaul for WiMesh/MANET deployments but at the moment the FAB/PTA has raised some concerns on the outdoor usage of ISM band i.e. 2.4GHz

    rub rakha

  33. TGumaru says:

    “Is WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) the right technology for developing countries? In other words, will this new technology deliver the promise of broadband at affordable prices?”…You hit it right on the head. The more important issue for the operators is to how create a business case to be able to deliver broadband at affordable rates and make sustainable profits in the process. There are other ways of providing wireless broadband without having to spend too much on base stations and CPE. What you need are backend systems which can support WiFi or other unlicensed spectrum RF systems while WiMAX matures enough to be affordable. Check out this company in the Philippines with an end-to-end solution for whatever RF system is likely to do good both for the operator and the subscriber.

  34. S.Wajid says:

    Thanks for clarificiations, but i think they may be charging 20K for CPE and 1000min. for monthly charges.

  35. Babar Bhatti says:

    If you read some of the previous posts criticising Wateen (see link below), you will get the answers to some of your questions – and no, this blog is not sponsored by Wateen or any one else.
    http://telecompk.net/2007/08/31/wateen%e2%80%99s-strategic-mistake-in-product-launch/

    Of course its not possible to assess the service as it is not launched and the prices are not known. But since we have alternatives, why worry?

  36. S.Wajid says:

    Is this Wateen sponsored blog i think so., please tell us the real facts that;
    1) When Wateen will be launching its wimax full cooked (not half cooked with just marketing gimmicks/campaigns etc.)?
    2) What will be its price setup and monthly cost etc.?
    3) As a conumer i would like to know the pros and cons of this technologies not just theoretical stuff?
    4) And why anyone should have Wimax when DSL and FTTU are already in place?
    I hope you will help me have my anwers. Because it is now time to have the real facts…

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