3G failing to impress consumers against anticipations
KARACHI: Next generation technologies bore less fruit for telecom operators as well as they could not contribute much economic dynamics as considered the game changer for Pakistani economy, reliable industry sources said.
Prior to the launching 3G services in the country, the impression had been build through intensive media campaigns by the government and the telecos Pakistan would get huge benefits in every sector through high speed data flair.
However, well informed sources told to scribe the excessively hyped 3G technology happened to be unproductive as yet for the telecos in terms of revenue generation as a very pathetic numbers of consumers across the board hailed such new services, resultantly leading to a very lethargic 3G penetration in Pakistan.
Sources disclosed a telecom company, which proved itself a top spender on 3G advertising, could convince only 34,000 consumers to go for its 3G services in first four months.
The situation is worsening for Pakistan’s telecom sector as preliminary trend suggests the data services are likely to remain least priority of the consumers for indefinite period, so, the telecos will have to struggle with slow Return on Investment (ROI) to get reimbursed their huge investment on launching next generation technologies.
Quality voice services are the only requirement in Pakistani telecom market, so 3G or 4G will be a just filler for telecos to allure consumers by lavish media drive as concerned companies cannot take pain to spread data services with having only 3 to 4 percent demand in the market, sources added.
On the slow 3G penetration’s reasons, sources said the telecom companies were not fully prepared to roll out next generation technologies across the country.
Even after launching of five-month, only 7 to 8 percent area of the country has 3G coverage while it seems impossible the whole country will get 3G- exposure in the next four to five years.
While the mobile companies could not provide seamless 2G services in vast parts of rural areas during past ten years, therefore 3G or 4G would be much difficult task for them in this regard.
Pointing out towards misleading marketing practices of telecom companies, sources said telecos are continuously making fool gullible consumers claiming video call as a key feature of 3G in Television Commercial whereas in real it is still impossible to make a video call through the pathetic 3G speed being provided by all companies.
Corporate sector is enjoying fastest data on mobiles at reasonable price via Wi-Fi in their premises, so why they need to provide expensive 3G services to their employees, sources questioned.
Similarly, majority of mobile Internet users in Pakistan browse only for pleasure as entertainment and news sites are their popular searches. In absence of productive applications and proper guidance regarding 3G, education, business and other sectors of the country can not take much benefit of these services and even if 4G/Long Term Evolution (LTE) service to come, sources claimed.
On the other hand, a senior telecom analyst Sohaib Sheikh said it was too early to say 3G has failed to make any impression as a telecom license spans over decades, so overnight one cannot be judgmental.
He acknowledged the progress was slow against the expectations on many factors including low penetration of smart phones in Pakistan, as only 15 percent of total subscriber base has them till to date.
Sheikh opined with cheap smart phones coming, the penetration level would go up and so would the data usage.
Expansion and coverage of 3G services by telecos is very slow while the service providers also are not sufficiently spreading awareness among masses about the 3G-technology, he added.
Telecos are still busy in SIM activation promos instead of educating consumers about the usage of data and how it transforms their utility, he added.
They need to speed up better response and he added government is yet to provide platform for data consumption as it promised in past on various forums.