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Archive for the ‘Pakistan’ Category

Like any industry, Pakistan Telecom has got few challenges along with plentiful of potential available in it.

3G deployment

There is no doubt that 3G will boom the market once again to its peak because of its features and attractiveness to the end users. There are still rumors in the market for finalizing the 3G bidding process within one month. However, whatever time it gonna take , 3G will rock the market and demand for 3G handsets will shoot high all over Pakistan.

It is obvious that 3G deployment will start from the major cities and ending into rural areas, still there will be question for its complete deployment all over the Pakistan. (Keeping in mind that we are not even fully GPRS covered).

Bundle Packages

Bundle packages will keep coming, but there may come some innovation and variation in these bundle packages, for instance Nokia handsets with free minutes and free SMS and so on. Even we can’t over rule the fact that Pakistani Telcos may start offering free minutes with your grocery purchasing as well in association with different grocery stores.

Customized or Location based Packages

Yes, location based packages will be more in the market in couple of years. Because of its customization and low prices, end user will get more attracted towards them. Ufone F-8 Special Package is one of such type, but that is for sure for a pilot purpose.

Mobile Commerce

Mobile commerce is still an opportunity for the entire telco market and still untouched in a sense that it has not been utilized like it should have been. So, I think in future micro payments or even major transactions could be processed via mobiles. The M-commerce will not only stay here, but with also new concepts like buying stuff on mobiles and home delivery options will also bring potential in the market.

I believe telcos do sense the potential, and we have seen Mobilink’s interest while Telenor bought a bank for the same purpose.

Negative Usage of 3G

As it is said whenever something new, society adopts it in both positive and in negative way. Yes, 3G will also impact the market with its negatives like video calling misuses and some immoral activities could be initiated with 3G phones. This could be a challenge to authorities for monitoring and controlling the same effect. As this virus is already polluting Middle East countries.

Socio-Economic Instability

Socio-Economic stableness is the guarantee of investments, as we have seen 3G is almost late by 5 months and still no acts have been done by both sides (operator and the regulator), the major reason behind is the instability. This could be major challenge to government and threat as well to Telco operators across the country.



While reading some interesting articles on ProPakistani last week about the Paisa and VAS War at peak in the Cellular companies’, I came across some very interesting Competition campaigns which starting gearing up earlier this month.

Reportedly, Telenor Pakistan has initiated this campaign in far flung but populous cities of Pakistan, such as Rahim Yar Khan, which is located at the junction of Punjab and Sindh. By the way, Rahim Yar Khan is always considered as the hotspot of many cellular campaigns. Now let me share a NEW SENSE OF COMPETITION initiated by Telenor in this City.

Telenor Pakistan has decided to launch its Mobile Number Portability Campaign in a new way from Rahim Yar Khan, According to the reliable sources and Market Heads, Telenor is conveying a message to their retailers about the competition, which is all about targeting the other Cellular Network users to shift to Telenor. In this Regard they have announced five prizes of motor bikes for its retailers, and 3 motor bikes for its Retail Sales Officers. Company has also announced that Rs. 25 will be given to the retailers for every MNP in addition to the chance to win Motor Bikes.

The retailers will have to register every number they convert to Telenor by dedicated number 668 by sending SMS. In this way Telenor will update the retailer database. In its first phase, this Campaign will start from 25 Feb and will continue till 25 April. Every Frenchise is given a target of converting 30,000 numbers. The suburbs are targeted specially in this campaign where customers are finding difficulties in using other cellular Networks. The Main focus is on the retailers and opinion leaders in the suburbs of the city and neighboring villages which forms a considerable amount of customer base.

Now the catch is that you can’t offer any incentive for converting any number from other network to your network through MNP. But we know that Telenor has been silently convincing customers to get on-board through between the line messages.

It is obvious that going sensible is wiser than to go Aggressive!

The Reasons behind launching this campaign are:-

* Due to paisa War between Cellular Companies, it is more sensible to get cusotmers of other network than the new one
* Saturation of Cellular Market
* New customers are reluctant to enter due to new PTA SIM Registration Regulations.
* This campaign will not only add your customers, but it will also reduce other network customers at the same time

Objectives of this Campaign

* Increase customers, and hence the revenues
* Converting more registered people to Telenor’s network will play a pivotal role in increasing the Share.


Now days, the most common word in the market is recession and people are curious about recession’s relation with telecom industry’s growth, which is still unaffected, when compared to other industries. Let us review the market dynamics and to conclude recession’s impact on telecom growth.

* Reduction in purchasing power
* Need and demand shift
* Lay-offs

Reduction in purchasing power

The impact of this phenomenon can affect the mobile operators when people with stop using mobile phones due to shorter funds and hence low ARPU’s and ultimately low revenues, which later on may lead to cost cutting and lay-offs by the companies.

But in Pakistan, especially so far, case is different in a sense, that users are still actively using mobile phones and the most appropriate word for this would be “Addicted” to mobile phone usage that it has not been reduced in that significant manner, or in a manner which could compel mobile operators to initiate any precautionary measures.

Need and Demand shift

This is again very important element for any economy and no doubt it can affect the mobile operators too. Pakistani Handset market is experiencing some decline, as handset market is not having serious customers because need and demand shift has been shifted to more niche needs of society. People of Pakistan (majority of them) are avoiding using expensive phones, especially when very basic needs are yet to be achieved.

Currently, this handset market’s need and demand shift is not impacting cellular companies, but if this continues, cellular companies will have to shift their resources or revamp them.


Well, the most important factor in any recession is layoffs. The increase in un-employment rate, getting fired for no reason and then having very low opportunity in the market for next job; can be worst nightmare of anyone. This element is root cause of above elements as well. So far, we have not seen any layoffs but only some rumors of different mobile operators that they are firing their resources.

As per analysts, we will not observe any layoffs until unless users are providing constant revenues to the mobile operators. Instead we can expect more opportunities in the market from mobile operators in the context of expanding their services, like 789 has already created lot employments for the market. Yes, this could be possibility that mobile operators will stop hiring’s for certain period of time but will not use lay-off as tactic to handle recession.


We have seen Telenor Pakistan’s innovation and creativity for their products, services and advertising campaigns, but it would be interesting for you to know that the company has exercised the same level of creativity in developing their way of work. Telenor Pakistan has successfully invented a unique, new and a workable way to carry forward their operations with a key focus on quality and simplicity, coupled with productivity and output.

I had a chance to visit Telenor Pakistan’s head office as a guest, where I noted following things in specific.

1. Telenor Pakistan seeks performance from its employees by implementing work structures that go beyond the usual forms of bureaucracy and multi-layered channels of communication
2. You feel a true sense of equality at the organization, where the CEO, VPs, Directors, Managers, Executives and Officers all share the same work space, the same privileges and an open level of communication that is applicable at all levels
3. You don’t need to dress formally (as long as you don’t communicate externally), hence the focus is more on getting work done by breeding a casual environment, where comfort is a prime driver for achieving difficult targets. I would say its more of a human approach to managing resources, where their comfort levels are considered as key contributors to their levels of productivity

Besides these findings, let’s have a look at techniques adopted in human resource management functions, or Human Capital management functions, as it is known at Telenor Pakistan:

1. Unique and very well structured Recruitment and Selection methods, driven by competency-based screening
2. Separate Organizational Development (OD) function
3. Revamping the human resource management division name with Human Capital Division (HCD)

Unique Selection & Recruitment Methods

Telenor Pakistan has adopted world class recruitment and selection techniques like the Thomas Personal Profile Analysis to pinpoint the exact personality fit that would work best with the organization. At Telenor Pakistan, recruitment is done at 3 levels, i.e. the Foundation, Development and Growth levels, where each level comes with a desired set of behaviors, some of which are common across all areas, while some are more specific to the required behaviors associated with particular job roles.

In a sense, Recruitment has now become further stringent by spending more time and focus to find the best possible candidates for vacant posts. As Telenor says, we hire for talent, and train for skill… prestigious schools or high CGPAs are no longer the preconceived benchmarks for talent… rather it is now about finding the right person who would be able to contribute better than the next.

I was told that for its talent hunting initiatives, the Recruitment Team at Telenor Pakistan initiated its University Visits 2008 program in January. Banking on its Graduate Employer of Choice status, the activity was foreseen to also potentially provide fuel for fresh graduate requirements as per the 2008 head count. The universities visited included LUMS, FAST, NUST, GIKI, NIMS, IBA, UET Lahore, NED, SZABIST, Bahria and CBM.

Separate Organizational Development Department

Working in a world where change is the only constant phenomenon, most organizations lack a dedicated Organizational Development function. The working of the OD unit as a separate and dedicated function at Telenor Pakistan shows their consideration for achieving a balance between the employees’ and the organization’s goals, bearing in mind the coupling of people development with overall organizational development. The company has been instrumental in being the first player in the Telecom industry to initiate the workings of OD as a separate function of human resource.

While realizing the value and contribution of the human mind, Telenor Pakistan has psychologists available to study human dynamics technically, and to develop an individual’s emotional intelligence. These have been seen to contribute greatly towards overall productivity and growth.

Revamping the Human Resource Management name to “Human Capital Division”

Adapting Adam Smith’s philosophy, Telenor Pakistan has rebranded its human resource department as the Human Capital Division (HCD). As defined, human capital refers to the stock of skills and knowledge embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. Consequently, Telenor’s ideology and realization of the importance of human resources is reflected in the name chosen for its human resource department.


Telenor has not only initiated new concepts and world class human resource management techniques, but also with its on-campus recruitment seminars and the Telenor Alumni and Ambassador Programs, the company is always on the lookout to maximize its reach in terms of its outward orientation There is also an important point raised that Telenor provides 100% focus on talent… as they say “we hire for talent, and train for skill…”


Pakistan Telecom industry was considered the cream of Pakistan’s economy, not in terms of employment but also because of its contribution towards national financial system. After the global recession that I have been hearing named as “The Great Recession”, situation in Pakistan Telecom is not as bad as we see in Western Headlines, but it is not so promising as well.

Lately, cellular companies are playing in safe mode and may continuing doing so for a quarter or two, however when we see other components of telecom industry, including vendors to suppliers, distributors to service providers, the business has been hitting the lower limits.

The phenomenon of guaranteed employment has become rare with almost no prospect of replacing current job is a hard reality for a growing number of people. Loud roars of low morale can easily be heard from infrastructure vendors who had their worst time in recent months. With almost no projects in hand, I see them holding their work force with the hope of 3G only. We know that different network vendors dropped couple of hundred employees but I see a dismal situation heading (in 3 months with no 3G and) if the situation remains the same.

As state above, cellular companies are playing in safe mode, with very little new investments and promotions. Recession has reminded the cellcos to get the optimum work from the force with idea of multiple tasking coming into play enormously. Fortunately, cellular companies will not readily down size for next couple of quarters, but getting new resources on board is narrowing down for sure.

Sub contractors, distributors, resellers and other elements of Telecom industry are already undergoing the hard condition. Without any prior experience of recession, this segment remained the worst hit. There are plenty of layoffs already being reported and more to come in near future, especially the sale’s department for franchisers and distributors.


Acision, the world’s leading messaging company, announced today that Telenor Pakistan, one of the leading mobile operators in Pakistan, has again selected the Acision SMSC to expand its messaging capacity to cater for continued SMS traffic growth. With a capacity expansion of up to 250%, Telenor Pakistan is well prepared to meet the messaging requirements of its fast growing subscriber base.

The Pakistan mobile market is experiencing rapid subscriber growth with thousands of customers signing up every month. The growth in subscriber rate has consequently led way to triple digit growth in messaging traffic over the last year. The Acision SMSC offers Telenor Pakistan a complete solution to support the operator’s entire SMS business managing enormous messaging volumes with undisputed quality of service. In 2007, Telenor Pakistan together with Acision conducted a messaging capacity upgrade to cater for 12 million subscribers. As of January 2009, the subscriber base has reached the 20 million mark, so an increase in messaging infrastructure capacity to meet anticipated messaging volumes was required.

Chief Technical Officer, Telenor Pakistan, Peter Anthony Dindial commented, “For us, it is crucial to tap into the potential of the Pakistan mobile market. To do this, we must meet the growing needs of our subscribers and offer them reliable and high quality services that they demand and deserve. Telenor and Acision have a relationship that spans the globe across all Telenor entities. Based on our past experience with the Acision SMSC, we recognise that having a reliable system is absolutely critical in high volume traffic scenarios, enabling Telenor Pakistan to offer subscriber services without an incident or any downtime.”

Boudewijn Pesch, Managing Director for Acision in Asia Pacific, added: “SMS continues to be the critical source of a mobile operator’s mobile data revenues. For Telenor Pakistan, growing and protecting this revenue base is a fundamental business objective. Again, Telenor Pakistan has selected Acision to deliver a highly stable, high performance messaging solution. With a strong track record in global deployments, the Acision SMSC continues to be the top choice for operators with high volume data services.”

About Acision

Acision is the world’s leading messaging company, providing communication solutions for over 300 network operators and service providers globally.

About Telenor Pakistan

Telenor ASA is an international provider of high quality telecommunications, data and media communication services. It ranks as world’s 7th largest mobile operator with a total of 159 million subscribers in its mobile operations. Telenor Pakistan is 100% owned by Telenor ASA and adds on to its operations in Asia together with Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

Source: Wireless Federation

Pakistan has grown quickly to become the tenth-largest mobile market in the world, prompting numerous international operators to invest in the market. However, after many quarters of strong growth, the market saw a decline in the number of mobile connections in the last quarter of 2008. According to Wireless Intelligence data, connections shrunk by 0.33% in Q4, 2008, due mainly to declines at Mobilink, the market leader. On an annual basis, the market still grew by almost 17% but this was almost half the growth rate seen a year earlier.

The declines in the market can be attributed to a number of factors. Firstly, the Pakistan Telecom Authorities (PTA), the local regulator, recently introduced more stringent guidelines around how operators report subscriber information. Under the new regulations, operators are forced to remove subscribers that are deemed inactive for more than 90 days. Telenor, for example, said it has removed more than 400,000 subscribers as a result of this policy.

The market has also been impacted by a sizable consumer tax on mobile phones. Classed as a “luxury item” in the country, the government recently increased the so-called “activation tax” on mobiles from (an already controversial) PKR500 (US$6.3) to PKR750 in 2008. This tax, alongside the wider effects of the global economic downturn and high inflation in the country, appears to have led to a significant tightening in consumer spending with regards to mobile services.

Meanwhile, the country’s mobile operators are also facing fierce competition and pricing pressures, an unfavourable regulatory environment (most notably a reduction in interconnection fees), a volatile political situation, and higher taxes of their own (taxes on mobile services were raised by 5% in 2008). These factors have served to significantly impact profitability, leading to ARPU that is among the lowest in the region. China Mobile, for example, has said that ARPU at its Pakistani subsidiary is around US$3 per month compared to around US$13 per month in China.

The market is highly competitive with six established mobile networks and several major WiMAX deployments. In almost all cases, the mobile networks are controlled by major foreign firms. The telecoms sector has been a major focus for international investment in the country. According to the PTA, mobile firms invested US$2 billion in Pakistan in 2006, accounting for 54% of all foreign direct investment. All the international operators have been hit recently by the decline in value of the Pakistani Rupee against the US Dollar.

The market is currently led by Orascom Telecom’s Mobilink, which operates under the “Indigo” (postpaid) and “Jazz” (prepaid) brands. It also operates a WiMAX network in the country’s capital, Karachi. However, as market-leader, Mobilink has suffered most from fierce competition in the market, losing almost 3 million customers in Q4.
The current downturn in the local mobile market looks set to lead to a significant movement in market shares. This month, Warid Telecom received a further US$250 million cash injection from its two major shareholders (investment firm Abu Dhabi Group and Singapore’s SingTel) and pledged to become “the number one GSM operator in Pakistan” despite currently being only the fourth-largest player in the country.

Further competition arrived in 2007 in the shape of China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, which acquired Paktel in March 2007 for US$400 million, becoming the operator’s first (and, to date, only) venture outside its domestic market. China Mobile has invested a further US$1.2 billion in the network, which it rebranded as “Zong” last year, but – like many of its competitors in the market – it does not expect to see a return on its investment in the near term, despite the fact that Zong is currently the fastest-growing network in the country.

Matt Ablott, Analyst, Wireless Intelligence: “The decline in Pakistan’s mobile market is attributable to a slowdown in consumer spending caused by high inflation, high taxes and the wider economic situation. Despite a nationwide mobile penetration rate of just 52%, the market is unlikely to grow further until the situation improves. This creates further pressure on the country’s mobile operators, which were already operating in a fiercely competitive, high-cost, low-margin market. The situation also appears to have stalled plans to issue 3G licenses in the country, which were at one stage expected to be issued before the end of 2008. However, the prospect of cash-strapped operators investing in high-speed networks now seems unlikely in the short-term. As a country that has greatly profited from mobile services in recent years, it is hoped that the Pakistani government will soon take measures to relieve the regulatory and economic pressures on its operators in a bid to stimulate the flagging market.”

Source: Wireless Intelligence


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