2014 witnessed the launch of 3G services across Pakistan, with 4 out of the 5 industry players launching their 3G services across the country. The only company that opted out of the auction bid was Warid, who intends on launching their 4G LTE platform later this year.
While Zong procured the 4G license in the auction bid, all active market players namely Telenor, Ufone, Mobilink and Zong are currently offering 3G services.
Prior to the launch of the 3G services in the country, there was widespread speculation in the market regarding the pricing of the product or rather regarding how expensive or affordable would the same be. Most companies have pleasantly surprised their customers with extremely competitive pricing plans. Below you will find a quick comparison on the 3G pricing plans currently available in the market.
Most players are offering different pricing and data plans for their prepaid and post paid customers. Lets take a look at the prepaid packages first.
Prepaid Pricing Plans
The pricing options have been divided into daily , weekly and monthly bundles with Telenor and Mobilink providing a 3 day option as well.
Daily Bundle Packages
Ufone has been disqualified from the daily bundle comparison since the package operates at GPRS speeds. The remaining players are charging similar prices for per MB usage with operative laws of economies of scale ( higher the data usage, lower the unit price). Telenor is the cheapest option in terms of providing the highest MB usage for the lowest price (100MB’s @ PKR 0.25/MB) followed closely by Zong (180MB’s @ PKR 0.25/MB)
Three Day Bundle Packages
Only Telenor and Mobilink offer a 3 day bundle with Telenor being the cheaper option. It is priced at PKR 0.18/MB and offering a higher band width quota of 25MB’s.
Weekly Bundle Packages
On a weekly bases Telenor is not only the cheapest option available on price/Mb bases, it is also offering the highest data quota. Ufone is providing the smallest data quota and is relatively expensive on per price MB bases also. Zong and Mobilink are comparatively similar in terms of price however between the two Mobilink is the better option with a cheaper price and higher net data quota.
Monthly Bundle Packages
Most companies are offering a wider range of packages for monthly subscriptions. On the first look Telenor seems to be the cheapest option, priced at PKR 0.13/MB however Zong comes to a close second at PKR 0.15/MB with an extra 2240 MB’s available in the package. Ufone is the priciest option available in the market when it comes to monthly data plans.
When it comes to postpaid packages, the cheapest option will be Mobilink which is currently free for its users. However the company is due to launch postpaid pricing plans shortly.
Zong has drawn no distinction between its prepaid and postpaid plans when it comes to 3G data pricing. Telenor and Ufone offer distinctly different packages. Data sizes in both vary drastically , however Telenor does provide a cheaper price for per MB usage in comparison to Ufone.
Though the competition is tight, Telenor has the cheapest pricing options currently available in the market. However it is important to note that effectiveness of speed remains a strong factor when considering which 3G operator to subscribe with. In this case Ufone remains the most transparent with declared speed bands priced at different ranges. Telenor, Zong and Mobilink retain that they have uniform speed of up to 42Mbps across their data packages. However speed variations are currently an issue across the country and hence user experience varies extensively based on connectivity strength and usage traffic across a defined area.