WiMax conference ends on positive note

Professionals see many opportunities for growth in Pakistani market.

Our Correspondent April 04, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Over 100 professionals from across the region got together to address challenges and create awareness about WiMax usage in Pakistan at the WiMax Forum South Asia Conference 2012. The event was held under the patronage of the country’s regulatory body, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, and co-organised by Wateen Telecom.

The WiMax Forum – a global body certified to promote compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless products – hosted the conference at a local hotel. Professionals from government organisations, telecom operators, equipment manufacturers, solution providers, media and others participated.

The aim of the conference was to inform attendees that WiMax is a cost-efficient, sustainable and easily scalable solution for broadband distribution in Pakistan. Panellists were of the view that better service can help and improve the economy by helping industries; such as electricity, aviation, oil and gas, agriculture, healthcare.

WiMAX Forum President Declan Byrne said that “WiMAX technology has achieved a penetration rate of 50% of all broadband connections in urban centres in Pakistan. This success of the technology is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. I am delighted to come to Pakistan and look forward to returning to continue supporting the success of WiMax operators in the country.”

Presently, Pakistan has four WiMAX operators in the country – Wateen, Qubee, Mobilink Infinity and Wi-Tribe – who account for around 29% of the total broadband market share. Pakistan is the first country in the world to have rolled out a nationwide WiMAX network, established by Wateen Telecom.

On the occasion, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Chairman Dr Mohammed Yaseen said that “Pakistan has a huge untapped market, with only 7% of households having subscribed to broadband internet. The fixed market space is virtually untapped and future potential for growth is immense for broadband operators”.

Broadband subscribers went up from 26,611 in 2005 to 1,794,467 in 2011, and usage by 2020 is expected to go up to 19.5 million subscribers.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Wateen Telecom Corporate Manager Salman Mazhar said that 85% of broadband usage is out of three main cities – Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. The new WiMax strategy would target these cities first. “The internet usage phenomenon in Pakistan will boom like mobile usage very soon,” said Mazhar.

The conference included speakers from AWB, Purewave, Airspan, Fanoos Telecom, Gemtek Technology and Banglalion among others, who discussed various go-to-market strategies, planning considerations and applications for WiMAX operators. Alepo, a leading provider of WiMAX solutions, shared information on how broadband and mobile networks can collaborate for better provisioning of data services for consumers.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2012.


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