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3G to empower masses with access to world of unlimited opportunities

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KARACHI: 3G technology will empower millions of consumers in Pakistan to get connected with fastest internet through their handsets to access world of unlimited opportunities for the purpose of information, education, entertainment and entrepreneurship, Irfan Wahab Chief Marketing Officer, Telenor Pakistan said, it will advance the lifestyle of the masses and contributing substantially to national economy.
Briefing to the media on the other day, Wahab underscores the importance of internet in the lives of people as important as their basic right, which he believes his company has been focusing for many years with the vision of bringing internet for all. Ever important sectors will be strengthening with the emergence of m-governance, m-education, m-health and m-commerce to influence significantly and positively in the lives and business of the individuals and societies.
The migration of 10 percent customers from 2G to 3G technology will impact 0.15 percent additionally to the GDP of the country whereas 10 percent new users of broadband internet service will cause to reflect 1.38 percent extra increase to the existing growth rate of economy, he added while citing a research.
But it depends on many aspects not alone at the end of customers and cellular operators, CMO elaborated, as there should be a developing ecosystem in the country with the support of all stakeholders of economy and telecom industry to contribute altogether towards the adoption of the 3G technology and its optimal utility in the diversified sectors.
Software houses in the country should come up with mobile apps to benefit human needs, he said. In this way, a unique stream of business will be developed in the ICT industry. Though it is not an operator job to do everything but they should collaborate with different stakeholders to get the target achieved mutually.
On the other hand, there are extremely tough challenges in the way of development and expansion of 3G technology to every part of Pakistan, Wahab said. The penetration of internet stands at 9.9 percent in the country whereas the number of smartphone users has reached  merely 10 percent of the total mobile phone users base (136 million till March).
The penetration of the internet and smartphone could be expedited once the stakeholders decide to promote technology along with different partners of various fields. In addition to it, the role of the government is extremely crucial to understand how the technology could be benefited to the masses and country’s economy if rationalized policy measures are taken for telecom sector immediately.
Wahab pointed out the cost of doing business is directly related with the expansion and penetration of 3G technology because cellular operators and their users could not bear high and discriminatory taxation over the use of telephony services in the country.
The activation tax of Rs 250 over a purchase of SIM, the discriminatory high rate of FED at 19.5 percent and 15 percent withholding tax will not be favorable for new and emerging technology to promote in a decent pace. It is because the customers are reluctant to spend extra on telephony services in the presence of high tax regime. 
Besides, the operators could not deploy their infrastructure as fastest as they could do through rationalization of tax because their cost of doing operation including cost of utilities and security is already very high.
Telenor CMO is of the view that the rationalization of taxes will be win-win situation for every stakeholder including customers, operators and especially for the government to achieve the long-term benefits of economy.
Wahab categorically stated that 3G is the most conducive technology in Pakistan in the present scenario hence Telenor opted for it keeping in view the maturity level of customers and existing ecosystem and derivatives of telecom sector. On the contrary, 4G technology in Pakistan is in the infancy stage with no ecosystem available and feasible enough for customers and operators.
Citing the example, he said that carriers in European countries allocated big investments on the licence of 4G technology and its related spectrums, but these companies incurred losses as they were not able to invest on infrastructure deployment.
There is no difference to deploy 3G technology through the spectrum of 5MHz or 10 MHz. The speed of internet will remain same on the both spectrums however it matters on design and planning of infrastructure, Wahab explained. Telenor Pakistan has designed and planned its network to penetrate at rapid pace to every city of the country.
The Norwegian carrier has already swapped its network on modern infrastructure consisting of more than 8,000 sites. The company has done particularly to target its ambition to bring internet for lives of the customers therefore it already enabled many customers to use internet on mobile phone which shows its success to grab lion share of 30 percent among all internet users on mobile phone, Wahab claimed.
Telenor launched 3G technology in the 11th country and Pakistan will be 12th. It has expertise of network expansion and experience of offering high speed services to customers worldwide.
The company believes in its philosophy to empower masses through internet on their mobile phone services as similar to it has achieved to have established the third largest and globally acclaimed services of branchless banking in Pakistan.

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