CMPak – South Goes to Ericsson

Ericsson is announcing that CMPak (formerly Paktel) has awarded its expansion project in the south of Pakistan to the company. Ericsson will provide GSM and microwave transmission network equipment to CMPak for its expansion project that will cover 312 cities of Sindh and Baluchistan that form the southern part of Pakistan.

CMPak has awarded the expansion project of northern wing of its network  to Alcatel-Lucent that we covered here. 

The news bodes well for the industry in terms of more jobs in the sector particularly in the outsourced contract projects segment. The news also mean that increased network capacity will drive down the cost for the consumer due to increased competition and force the cellular operators to focus more on value added services on their network beyond just voice.

Let us hope Mr Leghari can lure in cellular manufacturers to start making terminals in Pakistan so that the import bill for these terminals can be minimized


Name Trouble

As projected by G&W about the regulation domain overlap on the Telenor Mobile TV announcement, the Norwegians got a call from PEMRA. Dawn reports today:

Telenor launched TV mobile service late last month without obtaining a licence from Pemra. “Pemra has issued a notice to Telenor, seeking explanation about its mobile phone TV service without its permission,” a spokesman for the authority told this correspondent here on Thursday. ..

The PTA/PEMRA confusion on the regulation of the topic of Telenor’s Mobile TV, it seems, will continue for a while. As we tipped earlier, Telenor might have avoided all this hassle had they named the baby correctly as a Value Added Service. But marketeers, in their efforts of being the first ones, often ask for trouble.

On a related note, Farhan estimates that it will cost Rs 225 per hour to use the service. Hmm.. any couch potatoes around?

P.S: Telenor is happy  on its Pakistan operations Q1 results.

Telenor Mobile TV

Telenor announced a GPRS/EDGE based valued added which they are calling Mobile TV (look here for content roundup by Farhan of OurE61). This is different than the chip-based, 470 to 862 MHz analog TV reception on cell phone that can potentially be realized by technologies like FLO from Qualcomm. As rightly pointed out by this in-depth review of Telenor Mobile TV by Osama at Green & White, the service is expensive and sports pretty high procedural entry barriers.

The stunt might not have a lot of takers in the local Pakistani market but this, along with the Telenor Akhbar service (reviewed here), should send a few chills down the spine for the operators who are still basking in just the volumes of voice. With rates approaching the 50 paisa boundary and tele-density at 33%, contents will become the ARPU enhancer maintainer.

Telenor to Wannbe Road Warriors: ‘Spare us your Rs 17K’

Telenor‘s new postpaid brand ‘Persona’ is now focusing on its EDGE data capabilities. In a newly launched campaign, the European cellular operator is offering Telenor/Sony Erricson co-branded PC based card and service. The campaign shows an empowered women road warrior that is apparently doing some botanical research and modeling in one go right in the hearts of in the troubled tribal areas of Pakistan. And true to match her Rs 7 million Range Rover, the PC card is priced at Rs 17,000 plus actual data services charges that would probably go by the bytes. The service is limited by EDGE’s technological upper limits for data transfer rates but is apparently available everywhere on the Telenor’s foot print in Pakistan as well as outside Pakistan.

Telenor and other EDGE services in Pakistan compete with the CDMA 1X based data services from Telecard and Worldcall. Telecard used to offer GoCDMA Internet service which was recently given an exclusive brand called ‘iGo‘. One time charges are less than Rs 10,000 and data rates max at 153 kbps with average responses being around 60 to 80 kbps. The product lacks proper branding and support services can sometime be frustrating but is technologically advanced than the EDGE. Coverage, while available in most of the cities of Pakistan, has some coverage holes.