A step ahead: Telenor Pakistan already gearing up for the 4G era

Published: May 5, 2013
Even though 3G licence is yet to be auctioned, Telenor is upgrading its network.

Even though 3G licence is yet to be auctioned, Telenor is upgrading its network.


Regardless of whether the new government opts to auctioning the three-year-old 3G mobile spectrum technology or goes a step further by auctioning 4G spectrum licences, Telenor Pakistan’s network modernisation initiatives will reduce energy costs, facilitate the introduction of 3G services and provide a smooth transition to 4G, a top official of the company says.

“There are two major advantages of this [network upgradation] exercise: the first and the most obvious one is being ready for 3G technology,” Telenor Pakistan’s Chief Technology Officer Gyorgy Koller told The Express Tribune. “Secondly, there will be an overall benefit from using modern equipment that is energy-efficient and less taxing on the already scarce energy resources of Pakistan,” he said.

With the deployment of a state-of-the-art network infrastructure, reduction in energy consumption will be close to 20%, Koller said. The modern network, according to him, will also allow a smoother transition to 4G/LTE when required, which will obviously be superior in quality due to the use of the latest technology and optimised bandwidth provision.

The Telenor Group, a Norwegian telecom company, has mobile operations in 11 markets around the world, of which Telenor Pakistan is a major equity stake. In total, the Telenor Group has close to 150 million subscribers, out of which 30 million subscribers reside in Pakistan, making it the second largest cellular service provider in terms of consumer base.

Telenor Pakistan’s network modernisation project, according to Koller, is the largest-ever undertaking by the Telenor Group and ZTE – a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment company, which is also the world’s fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer by volumes.

Telenor Pakistan, according to Koller, contributes to about only 5-6% of the Telenor Group’s combined revenues. Telenor Group reported 26 billion Norwegian kroner, or $4.4 billion, in revenues for 2012. “We [Pakistan] are a low ARPU market with low mobile data consumption,” he said.

While expecting to complete the network upgrade by the end of 2013, the company is hoping to benefit from high speed mobile internet by improving its average revenue per user.

“Our experiences with high speed mobile internet across various markets around the globe have shown that there is a lot of potential to serve our consumers and enrich the lives of people,” Koller said. “It will allow us to open new horizons in communication, especially in areas such as e-learning and mobile health,” he said.

It may be added here that frequent suspension of mobile phone services in Pakistan also dampens the industry’s revenues. “The industry loses around Rs1 billion for every day the network is suspended countrywide, with the government itself losing 33% in taxes due to these suspensions,” Koller said.

Network glitches

While the company upgrades its network, its customers have at times experienced low quality services. The company acknowledges the fact, and says they may continue till the project is complete.

While responding to a question about the compromised service quality, Koller said their emphasis remains on establishing the future benefits that customers will receive if they stay with Telenor during this challenging period.

Explaining the difficulty of the task, he said: “We call the project ‘highly complex’ because live network equipment modernisation with 30 million active subscribers is not an easy task, and it requires extremely efficient processes and very competent teams.”

The scale of this network modernisation activity, Koller said, envelopes almost all components of the Telenor network: ie, core, radio and transmission. “A network upgrade of this nature involves meticulous planning to avoid any potential degraded user experience,” he said, adding: “Keeping in view the complexities involved in such major network upgrades, the standard timeline is around 1.5-2 years.” Telenor Pakistan has been consistently working to make sure that customers are aware of network modernisation activities, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • rkfromny
    May 5, 2013 - 2:26AM

    now entering 4g ..?? the entire world has moved to 5g wifi..and pakstan is entering 4G now.? and calling it a ‘step ahead’..??? hahaha


  • chethan
    May 5, 2013 - 5:28AM

    –“Telenor Pakistan’s network modernization project, according to Koller, is the largest-ever undertaking by the Telenor Group and ZTE – a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment company”
    I think ZTE has deployed only LTE-TD technology till now whose frequency band will be between 1.8GHz to 2.1GHz. This LTE-TD technology vastly differs from LTE-FD (700MHz) which is followed in United States, UK,Australia and South Korea.
    Hence deploying LTE-TD by Telenor-ZTE might not be useful since there are no mobile handsets which supports LTE-TD except from huawei and ZTE .


  • Shariq
    May 5, 2013 - 7:49AM

    @Rkfromny: seriously?which entire world are you talking about sir?


  • Ismail
    May 5, 2013 - 8:20AM

    Dude. 5G Wi-Fi has not been officially launched anywhere in the world yet. I am sitting in US right now and every network here is on 4G as of now. Little googling is better than making an ignorant comment.


  • Bahauddin
    May 5, 2013 - 8:25AM

    Brother Pakistan hasn’t still moved from 30 year old GSM technology let alone 4G. Allegedly Zardari government demanded billions of Rupees from each company besides the license fees. Companies couldn’t fulfil that demand letting the government withholding the 3G licenses. Allegedly PTCL; the only company with 3G licence, is also hindering the issuing of 3G licences to other mobile operators.


  • Ari Mad
    May 5, 2013 - 8:27AM

    Great job Telenor.

    Save your Pakistan bashing for something else. 5G is still on drawing board.


  • Faisal
    May 5, 2013 - 8:56AM

    rkfromny: What a comment, don’t ever appreciate any good cause. Wth


  • Usman
    May 5, 2013 - 9:15AM

    @rkfromny would you please tell me where in the world people are using 5g, I never heard that, for your kind of information in most of eueorpeom countries still it’s 3G, they are also moving towards 4g, anyway this 3G or 4g are very good for Pakistan.Recommend

  • Doorandesh
    May 5, 2013 - 9:18AM

    rkfromny; You have been misinformed. 4G LTE is the most advanced mobile network available in USA and Canada. So yes for Pakistan, going to 4G and bypassing 3 G is indeed a step ahead. 5g wifi you are talking about is for wifi access only ( as in a, b, c, n etc.) and is nothing to do with mobile/cellular network. Its name as 5G is actually misleading.


  • Hussain
    May 5, 2013 - 9:23AM


    would you please enlighten us about the 5G technology..? n in which country have you benfited from this so popular 5G technology. operators in the world have begun rollouts of 4G/LTE networks & that too is in developing stages.


  • Ali
    May 5, 2013 - 10:01AM

    @rkfromny, probably your room is your entire world :)


  • sani
    May 5, 2013 - 10:20AM

    @rkfromny: do u really know what 4G is? Which part of the world has entered 5G (an invention i heard just from u).


  • Soomro
    May 5, 2013 - 10:35AM

    You have no clue whatsoever about telecommunications. LOL

    Only few countries have 4G i.e. LTE-A.Recommend

  • Shakaib Khan
    May 5, 2013 - 2:51PM

    Thumbs up telenor! Thats impressive..


  • AA
    May 5, 2013 - 5:12PM

    @rkfromny: You are clearly out of picture. 4G commercial deployment is just one year old, some of US operators are just stated it and so do middle east. BTW where have you seen 5g commercial deployment.


  • AA
    May 5, 2013 - 5:20PM

    @rkfromny: You are clearly out of picture. 4G commercial deployment is just one year old, some of US operators are just stated it and so do middle east. BTW where have you seen 5g commercial deployment.Recommend

  • atif
    May 5, 2013 - 6:54PM


    they still have to enter 3g, btw , pakistanis r never and will never b happy …. THE FACT…


  • Tahir Amjad
    May 5, 2013 - 7:31PM


    pehlay tolo phir bolo…………….where in the world 5G is in operation sir?????


  • boyZ
    May 5, 2013 - 8:42PM

    Joke of an article….they can hardly make anything work….let alone 4G….this year the world will move to LTE-A and CA….Pakistan will now never be able to catch up


  • May 6, 2013 - 10:34AM

    That is a great news technology must be geared up to the latest Pakistan needs developments like this to keep up with the other countries


  • May 6, 2013 - 11:31AM

    aaah! the Irony in some of the comments above. Before being a critic in this matter my suggestion is that first analyze the position at hand. At present I doubt if there is sufficient potential in our market to consume or exceed the capacity which 3G technology has to offer. It is an expensive service and most of the consumers even in Europe and America do not opt for it because of its rates and the excessive battery drain from using 3G/4G on your smartphone. Our industry is way underdeveloped for 4G/LTE, the only reason for Telenor to opt for 4G network would be to achieve cost savings.


  • Faheem
    May 22, 2013 - 9:19AM

    There is no 5g mobile network in the world at present …Let them bring 4g (if they do it really) …and then enjoy it


  • Qazi Haris Wadan
    Jun 1, 2013 - 12:18PM

    To all the people who complain that 4g is old. Well it is old but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be introduced in Pakistan be happy that we will get 4g over here. 4g is still 10-15 mb speed Internet which is quite enough for all of u


  • Qasim
    Jun 19, 2013 - 10:55PM

    talk talk talk.. lets see if they bring 3G even.


  • Aly
    Jun 28, 2013 - 12:18AM

    even in the united kingdom there is hardly one 4g mobile service provider!! what 5g are you talking about, get your information right buddy….!! yeah if you want to criticise you can on not even bringing 3g yet :p


  • asif raza
    Jun 29, 2013 - 5:52PM

    let me clear for everyone. we can’t get 3g in more then 3 years it’s confirm because we have seen hypocrisy of this govt in the past so forget about 4g.. it’s not first time we have heard of this kind of news it’s old stuff. remember peoples once upon time we used to call Afghanistan a unfortunate state but in fact we are unfortunate nation.. even country like Afghanistan have 3g service from past 2 years.. if any one still believe that im lying then visit http://www.etisalat.af/personal/etisalat-3g. all I want to say is that people wake up its our legitimate right. we aren’t living in stone age voice you support for future.


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