With the 3G/4G auction set to be held on April 23, 2014, Internet users in Pakistan must now wait to see which telecom operators get the much hyped about licenses for the service. While everyone agrees that the addition of 3G and 4G technology will be a good development for Pakistan, many people remain confused as to the specific benefits of the new technology.
Increase in Internet Speeds
This is the benefit everyone knows about. Increased Internet speeds will not only make Internet browsing a pleasure for everyday users, but also increase work opportunities for those in the technical sector. Streaming music and video while on the go will become much easier. The increase in Internet usage will result in more opportunities for online businesses.
Increase in Employment
Studies have shown that as broadband penetration increases, so does GDP growth. The increased economic activity in the country will result in an increase in employment – specifically in the technical sector. It is estimated that about 1 million job opportunities will be created in Pakistan with the 3G and 4G launch.
Increase in Government Revenue
The Government of Pakistan hopes to raise over USD 2 billion from the sale of the licenses. Besides this, the increase in tax money collected from the increase in economic activity will also help the cash strapped government.
Availability of Internet Across the Country
It is going to become easier to provide better Internet services across the country instead of just in the main cities. As Internet usage increases, so will technological know-how for the average Pakistani. Once people in villages get connected to the Internet, they will be able to stay abreast of latest technologies and updates.
Increase in Foreign Direct Investment
One of the licenses is to be issues to a non-local operator, which is done in hopes of increasing foreign direct investment in Pakistan. For now, it seems as though TurkCell might be bidding for the non-local operator license.
Opportunities for Digital Literacy
Once fast Internet is available all over the country, it will be easier to implement digital literacy technology – like online classes and webinars – to improve the education levels across the country. it will make it easier to communicate, as well as deliver teaching training tools to schools. This will hopefully help improve education levels specifically in rural areas.
With Internet connectivity comes access to data, as well as ease in educating the public through campaigns. The healthcare system can use the Internet to create websites for the public to use, for medical professionals to learn from, and to help collect data on the medical issues across the country.
Specific Benefits for Women
In a country where women don’t step out alone in rural areas, Internet connectivity can allow educated women to work from the comfort of their home, educate themselves and their children, and learn about better health and nutrition.
A lot of these benefits depend on the government providing resources to the education and healthcare sectors. Countries in South Asia have managed to use 3G/4G technology to help connect far-flung areas, and brought better education, healthcare and more job opportunities to them. What the Pakistani government does with the opportunities this technology brings remains to be seen.