The government of Pakistan seems set to issue three 3G licences by the end of this year, according to recent Reuters reports. Pakistan is one of a number of populous Asian nations whose hunger for more widely available communications services are proving to be a major growth engine for telecoms groups with global ambitions. However, it does remain to be seen if there exists a solid business case for investment in third generation networks in a region where the most basic prepaid voice and SMS services are stimulating economic activity by providing consumers and businesses with connectivity.
This has not deterred the state-owned GSM operator in Nepal, one of the world’s poorest countries, from launching 3G services. The 3G SIM card reportedly costs about US$64.50 with 3G tariffs said to be similar to that of prepaid rates. The service launched in the Ring Road area of the capital city Kathmandu. The launch hit an early snag within days, with the independent regulator objecting to Nepal Telecom’s setting a new subscription fee for 3G services without its permission. A spokesperson for the Authority said that under the country’s Telecommunications Act, prices levied by a service provider must first be approved by the NTA and the rates published as directed by the agency. Read more.