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Monday, 23 April 2012

3G in Pakistan, What 3G?

Back in November 2011, or especially in January 2012 I was kind of sure that 3G will at last surface in Pakistan.
This belief was backed by facts, such as announcement of 3G auction date, issuance of Information Memorandum for 3G/4G, high activity at telco headquarters, market buzz and so on.
Yes, my optimism was involved too.
At that time one of ProPakistanis commenters posted these comments:
Stone Says:
Some how I always say the 3G thing is not going anywhere in Pakistan but people just start dancing with the slightest talk to 3g. lolz its not gonna happen..
Pakistan telecom has already reached maturity so at this point 3G would just be the next thing and will not bring about any renaissance
And the only one on their knees will be people expecting 3G to be launched and people expecting the licenses to be sold :)
Another one was:
Stone Says:
Here we with the 3G hooplah again!! From what I know, the government cannot force investors or firms to invest money in a market which does not show any viable returns. 3G I am afraid is one such venture in a country like Pakistan.
Kudos to the government through, for coming with the most innovative form of beggary. Don’t really see it happening though. Business is always give and take. 3G is all about giving and getting nothing in return in a $2.5 arpu market.
I am still not agreeing with what Stone said then, for my own reasons, but he echoed what mobile phone operators then.
Deep in my heart, I had always wondered, how these billion dollars investors will sit and watch the government to go ahead with 3G auction and make them spend another USD 500 million to USD 1 billion. That too to fill the budget deficits of Pakistan, a country which is dear to none but the poor. I mean, the voice and muscle of cellular companies isn’t something which government could neglect, especially when we have so !noble rulers – if you know what I mean.
Call me conspirator, but how will you deny the events that happened in following manner:
  • November 23rd, 2011: Prime Minister Approves 3G Policy
  • December 23rd, 2011: 3G auction date announced
  • January 23rd, 2012: Information Memorandum for 3G/4G issued
  • January 26th, 2012: Senators, for the first time, Question 3G License Prices, Move to Stop Auction
  • January 31st, 2012: Opposition gets serious to oppose 3G
  • February 15th, 2012: Senators Ask PTA to Revamp 3G Policy
  • February 22nd, 2012: Advertisement published for a Consultancy Firm to run down the auction process
  • February 24th, 2012: CEOs of Telecom Companies Meet PM 
  • March 7th , 2012: 3G auction Delayed
  • April 5th, 2012: ‘Outsider’ starts attending 3G auction meetings
  • April 12th, 2012: Auction body rejects firms selected for consultancy
  • April 18th, 2012:
And it appears the trick worked.
Welcome to Pakistan, but forget about 3G meanwhile you stay here.
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