Minister of State for Information Technology & Telecom, Anusha Rehman, has said that Pakistan will become the first country in South Asia to test 5th generation (5G) cellular services in order to accelerate internet connectivity. She was speaking at a ceremony organized by Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) held at a local hotel.
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal, has also made similar remarks back in September 2016. He said that the government of Pakistan is gearing up to launch “5th Generation” cellular services soon in the country to offer faster connectivity. But, given the current situation of the 3G/4G services in the country, many experts doubt Pakistan’s ability to launch 5G services.
Is it possible for Pakistan to become the first country in South Asia to test 5G services?
The simplest answer to this question is, no. This claim is shocking, since even 3G is not accessible in many parts of the country. As of now, 5G technology has not been introduced in any country. Whereas, South Korea, China and the United Kingdom (UK) have planned to launch the technology in their respective markets by 2020. Even this deadline set by these countries is considered very ambitious by experts.
Where Pakistan Currently Stands?
Let’s admit the fact that quality of 3G and 4G services in Pakistan is very low compared to the quality of 3G/4G in developed markets.
“Customers are not satisfied with the quality of 3G and 4G services. There is a huge gap to be filled with regards to 3G and 4G connectivity services,” commented a well-placed official at a telecom company.
The basic criteria to assess the feasibility of any technology is to have complete knowledge of all the contributing factors and risks. Therefore, we have conducted an in-depth analysis to find the answer to the question.
OpenSignal, a wireless network mapping company, issued a report in this regard explaining that the average 3G speed in Pakistan is lowest among the world, as it currently stands at 3.33 Mbps. On the other hand, South Korea has the highest average mobile internet speed in the world i.e. 41.34 Mbps.
Out of the four telecom operators in Pakistan, only two are offering 4G services including Zong and Jazz. Moreover, Jazz 4G coverage is restricted to few cities only. On the contrary, Zong being the leading 4G provider in the country has failed to provide uninterrupted signals and connectivity across the country.
We believe that the goal set by the government to become the first country to try 5G services in Pakistan is ambitious and unrealistic. Nevertheless, only time will tell whether the government will be able to achieve it or not.