Telenor Pakistan, Pakistan
In April 2004 Norwegian mobile telecoms operator, Telenor, bid for and ultimately won a licence to operate a cellular network in Pakistan. The winning bid of $291 million secured one of two new nationwide licences in Pakistan for mobile operation. Telenor has secured a 15-year licence, which is renewable upon application for the same fee; only 50% of the licence fee is payable in the first year, and the balance over the next ten years. Additional fees for Telenor include 2.5% of the annual gross revenue. The licence covers the operation of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) technology for the network.
Pakistan has the sixth largest population in the world - approximately 150 million. There are currently four mobile operators in the country. Mobile penetration at the end of 2003 was just 2.3% with a subscriber base of 3.4 million, while fixed line penetration was approximately 2.4%. Many geographic areas in Pakistan are without telephone coverage. To accompany recent positive economic development in Pakistan and the inherently low mobile penetration, high growth within the mobile segment is expected.
Telenor's previous activities in Asia have focused on the development of mobile networks from scratch, and so the current activity is a continuation of their previous successful strategy. Telenor has formed a subsidiary company to operate the business in Pakistan called Telnor Pakistan Pvt Ltd. Latest reports have estimated the amount of investment in Pakistan mobile infrastructure by Telenor to amount to $1 billion over the next five years, although this figure has been increased to $5 billion in some local media.
MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE CONTRACTORS
The Pakistan network is a large undertaking and Telnor Pakistan have pledged that 70% of the country will be covered before network start-up. In addition, they have stated that the mobile network should be in place by April 2005. Telnor Pakistan has signed two deals with mobile infrastructure contractors for different areas of the network:
- Nokia have signed a three-year deal to build and operate a GSM / GPRS / EDGE network to cover the central and Northern Punjab region (phase one), centred around Lahore
- Siemens have signed a deal to build a GSM / GPRS / EDGE network to cover the southern areas of Pakistan, centred around Islamabad
Both projects are scheduled to be completed and in operation by April 2005 to conform to network licence requirements.
CENTRAL PAKISTAN AND NORTHERN PUNJAB MOBILE NETWORK
Nokia are to supply the GSM Base Station Subsystem (BSS) solution, GPRS core system and Network Switching Solution (NSS) DX 200i series, which is easily upgradeable to 3G Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) technology in the future. In addition, Nokia are to provide turnkey implementation of the network including project management, network planning and design, site acquisition, civil engineering and supply and installation of hardware and software.
Nokia will also operate the BSS section of the network to ensure the network is in operation by April 2005. Nokia Care Services will provide support using their NetAct Operations Support System (OSS). They will provide software maintenance, emergency support, hardware services and maintenance and training for Telenor Pakistan personnel.
SOUTHERN PAKISTAN MOBILE NETWORK
Siemens are to provide turnkey implementation of the new network including supply and installation of all the infrastructure components for setting up a GSM / GPRS / EDGE network. These include switching technology, mobile transmission and receiving stations, intelligent networks and GPRS hardware and software.
Siemens will carry out network design, site acquisition, civil engineering and project management. They will also provide the initial operations support service for the network and provide training in software support and maintenance to Telenor Pakistan Personnel. Again, this system is easily upgradeable to 3G WCDMA technology in the future.
EDGE DATA CAPABILITY
Further enhancements in data capability over the core GPRS / GSM network will be provided in both networks with the installation of Enhanced Data for Global (GSM) Evolution technology. This component of the two systems will be installed after the initial roll-outs and will allow the subscribers to have the use of advanced mobile services such as downloading video and music clips, full multimedia messaging, high-speed colour Internet access and email on the move.
EDGE is a 3G technology that can delivers broadband-like data speeds to mobile devices. It allows subscribers to send and receive data, including digital images, web pages and photographs, three times faster than that possible with an ordinary GSM / GPRS network. Using EDGE, operators can handle three times more subscribers than GPRS, triple their data rate per subscriber, or add extra capacity to their voice communications.
EDGE uses the same TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) frame structure, logic channel and 200kHz carrier bandwidth as current GSM networks, which allows existing cell plans to remain intact.