Internet penetration in Pakistan is growing slowly and gradually, but the country is still not able to match the penetration rate of other emerging countries. Currently, Pakistan has more than 35.1 million internet users out of a population of 194.8 million.
Realizing the importance of internet in everyday affairs, Pakistan is all set to begin testing 5G services by 2020. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has said that it will call in all existing and new companies to test out 5G services. The regulatory body plans to facilitate the companies by providing them with free testing license and spectrum.
PTA circulated handouts of the plan to test 5G services in Pakistan at a workshop in Islamabad. Chairman PTA Dr. Syed Ismail Shah said that “harmonized spectrum for 5G is [available] in the 3.5GHz band.” PTA would also roll out an Expression of Interest (EOI) at a suitable time before the standard is finalized by the year 2020.
Companies will be able to apply for 5G network and test it out on their networks. According to the Minister of Information Technology & Telecom Anusha Rahman, Pakistan will become the first country in South Asia to get 5G services. Currently 4G services are available in the country but even they need a lot of improvement.
There are many far-flung areas in the country that don’t have access to 3G/4G technology and the Ministry of IT & Telecom is working to improve internet service in those areas. The addition of 5G network will increase internet penetration rate in the country as there are a lot of users who are still not using internet.
With penetration rate of only 18%, there are ample opportunities for PTA to get more people online by providing them with better internet speed through 5G network. Presently, one million users are using internet every month through their smartphones in Pakistan and steps like introduction of 5G will further increase the penetration rate.