3G launch expected for 10 May; Warid ads confirm LTE plans

2 May 2014

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is planning to award the 3G and 4G licences won at last week’s spectrum auction at a ceremony in Islamabad on 10 May, Pro Pakistani writes, citing sources aware of the development. Mobilink, Telenor Pakistan and Pakistan Telecommunication Mobile Ltd (PTML), which operates under the ‘Ufone’ brand, all won 3G concessions and are awaiting the official award of their licences before launching commercial 3G services, although Ufone and Telenor have begun offering the service on a trial basis. China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak), which offers services under the ‘Zong’ name, won a 3G licence at the auction, as well as the only 4G concession to be awarded. Pro Pakistani cites unnamed sources as saying that if the authorisations are handed out as expected on 10 May, the operators will launch their 3G offerings the same day.

In related news, the fifth of Pakistan’s incumbent cellcos, Warid Telecom – which had opted not to take part in the spectrum sale – has confirmed its intention to roll out 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) with a public advertising campaign. Warid has been involved in negotiations with PTA with a view to gaining permission to utilise its existing spectrum holdings for LTE services but as yet there has been no official announcement that the two had reached an agreement.