Pakistan’s first and historic 3G/4G auction which took place on the 23rd of April, saw four major operators winning 3G licenses, whereas only one out of the four settled for a 4G license. Warid telecom, part of the Dhabi group stayed out of the auction, owing to bad financial situation of the company, with a small customer base, consisting mainly of corporate/postpaid clients.
What’s ironic is that immediately after the auction, news began to spread that Warid intends to launch 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) services in Pakistan, on its existing license. PTA officially acknowledged the receipt of application from the latter regarding launching of 4G- LTE services, but turned down the request saying that , certain KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) would have to be met prior to the launch.
Warid intends to launch 4G-LTE services on the existing 1800 band, utilizing its available 8.8 MHz between GPRS/EDGE/GSM and 4G-LTE, stating low customer base as the main reason behind thrival of services. It, however remains unclear how much would be reserved for both. PTA has already said that Warid does not satisfy the requirements of the IMT standards (4G).
It is on account of the crumbling customer base and unavailability of 3G/4G that has left Warid desperate for such measures. There have been reports of the operator sending SMS’s to its customers to wait, as it sees more and more users switching to other networks, allured by the 3G/4G technology they possess.
The operator is unethically intervening in the port-out process, which is unethical, given it does not have other means to make the customers stay.
One Warid customer on the issue was of the view that, “In such a modern world, with a wide array of services being offered by its competitors, why would anyone want to stay with Warid, the world has moved way beyond just voice and text, now we have the availability of 3G/4G. It is highly unlikely that Warid will be able to provide these services soon”
Whatever we see is just being done out of desperation, as otherwise, as what can be foreseen is that Warid will have to wind up its business from Pakistan.