Is Telecom Industry in a Fix over 3/4G

August 27, 2013 2 comments

Is it really the indecisiveness of the Government On 3G License Auction or the Industry Itself is not ready (or pushing) for it?

While almost all of the telecom operators in Pakistan are doing (or have done) scenario planning on License auction and Prepared the Business Plans, the push from the industry is not yet visible. There could be many reasons to it. The first and foremost is the clarity on the renewal of GSM licenses. Whether Operator is required to pay the same Licensing fee or there will be a policy review will happen – it is not known yet. Some 291 Million USD needs to be paid if the renewal will be on the same conditions at which the license was awarded.

Another issue is a limbo in PTA affairs. Without a functional Regulator, it is almost impossible to move ahead with the plan – with no chairman, member technical and member finance on board there are no proceedings on this Subject. Even a consultation contract ( on 3G licensing strategy ) cannot be signed before the appoint of chairman and subsequent filling of  the available slots.

While few operators have already deployed some sites and have completed the testing on the possible technical scenarios, it will still require a major overhaul of network infrastructure. Pundits are predicting that the licensing cost itself could start from 300 Million USD, on top the cost of the upgrades on the infrastructure is a major investment decision. Though the financing cost may stabilize a bit but Devaluation of PKR ( expected to reach 110 by end of the year) is a big challenge.

Cost of running the business is going up, maintenance and diesel for generators are the major contributors along with “other cost” related to security of sites and personal – having direct implications on the margins. Cost cutting measures are visible in marketing expenses, human resource optimization and retail strategy.

Pakistani telecommunication  industry is still segmented into two entity verticals, data and Voice. While Focus of Mobile Operators remained on Voice revenues mostly (due to volumes)  , globally Mobile  operators focus has changed to Data and developing the ecosystem for pulling the data traffic. The  data network operators have kept themselves isolated (couldn’t understand why), focusing only on selling the network connectivity. Though CDMA and Wimax operators have tried (to an extent)  to bring the voice through same Account without a major strategy or a focus. The efforts remained mostly to fulfill the license obligations instead of launching Voice as a full fledge commercial service. However continuous technology innovation also played a major role with CDMA and Wimax getting Obsolete worldwide and chip manufactures (for CPEs & handsets) also published the EOL plans for these technologies.

In my Opinion Pakistan Telecom Industry needs to consolidate, it is very difficult for data operators to survive on their own. Similarly Mobile Operators need to offer more products where margins are better – they need to become part of this data ecosystem. Some bold steps of acquisitions and mergers needs to be taken ( though some are happening but with very slow pace ) and for all this Government needs to make sure that a healthy business environment is provided to Investors with better security, business friendly taxation and a long term commitment to the sector.

 If the thought process behind the license auction for 3/4G is just to raise money for the Government, it will adversely affect the industry and long term telecommunication arena in Pakistan.

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The Day I couldn’t read My Newspaper in the Morning – AGAIN !!!!

February 4, 2013 6 comments

The Inefficiency to Saufeguard PKNIC infrastructure was exposed today when a group of hackers has taken over the PKNIC and allegedly changed some of the DNS records. Major Websites of .pk Origin were not available including the famous Urdu News papers Site, http://www.jang.com.pk

This has left ( again) question marks on the ability of the PKNIC to handle such situations and response immediately. For the Users who are not aware, PKNIC is a privately registered entity in US by a Pakistani Origin US National ( US nationality is not confirmed ). All the PKNIC infrastructural is hosted outside Pakistan with i believe no control of Pakistani Govt.

Though through ICANN rules there is ( or was ) no restrictions on country level Domains for registration by individuals however usually Country Level domains are considered property of the Country and Most of such Services are run through Govts or Public-Private Partnership.

Back in 2006/2007 PTA ran a consultation group ( when Dr. Yaseen was Member Technical ) to review this asset transition back in Pakistan however the industry was unable to reach a consensus on the Operating structure. There were suggestion to run it through NTC ( National Telecommunication Corporation ) however it never got concluded because if Lack of Interest from the Operators. Though PKNIC was presented by Barrister Zahid Jamil in the PTA meeting and was ready to discuss the transition/buy out. However at a later stage the stance got changed.

PTA at that time started engaging the resources with ICANN directly and had done some home work of bringing the .Pk back however i am not sure where this got black-holed. A very energetic team lead by Naveed ( from PTA) has done extensive work on this subject and was very vocal on different international forums.

.pk is an asset of Pakistan and there should be a better solution than having this situated and established outside. This is a bigger issue and can not be handled by just putting the Replica Servers within Pakistan.

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New video codec to ease pressure on global networks

January 27, 2013 15 comments

Geneva, 25 January 2013 – A new video coding standard building on the PrimeTime Emmy award winning ITU-T H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC was agreed by ITU members today.
The new codec will considerably ease the burden on global networks where, by some estimates, video accounts for more than half of bandwidth use. The new standard, known informally as ‘High Efficiency Video Coding’ (HEVC) will need only half the bit rate of its predecessor, ITU-T H.264 / MPEG-4 Part 10 ‘Advanced Video Coding’ (AVC), which currently accounts for over 80 per cent of all web video. HEVC will unleash a new phase of innovation in video production spanning the whole ICT spectrum, from mobile devices through to Ultra-High Definition TV.

Complete Detail at http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2013/01.aspx#.UQTx7B2siSo

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62% (of 25-34 age) owns Smartphones in US

November 10, 2011 1 comment

As Appeared in blog.nielsen.com

Nielsen’s third quarter survey of mobile users reveals that while only 43 percent of all US mobile phone subscribers own a smartphone, a mobile phone with a powerful operating system, the vast majority of those under the age of 44 now have smartphones. In fact, 62 percent of mobile adults aged 25-34 report owning smartphones. And among those 18-24 and 35-44 years old the smartphone penetration rate is hovering near 54 percent.

Other groups show slightly lower penetration rates. Around 40 percent of 12-17 year-old teens and 40 percent of 45-54 year-olds reported owning a smartphone, as opposed to a more basic feature phone.

After younger adults, the segment with the second fastest-growing smartphone penetration rate is those aged 55-64. Smartphone penetration among this older group is only 30 percent, but it jumped 5 percent this quarter.

As the smartphone market continues to expand, Android remains the most popular smartphone operating system in the United States, with 43 percent of the market, while Apple is the top smartphone manufacturer, with 28 percent of smartphone consumers sporting an Apple iPhone.

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RIP Dennis Ritchie

October 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Dennis Ritchie (September 9, 1941 – October 12, 2011) the man behind the Mother of All Languages “c” and greatest contributors to UNIX silently left us. While the industry is still mourning for Steve Jobs there are very few remembering the figures which is behind the success of most of the software companies.

At the end of the day, its the commercial world we live in. RIP Dennis you will be remembered as the Guru of Gurus.

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3G License Auction – What do you think

September 5, 2011 6 comments

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Iphone Battery Tests

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment
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