LAHORE-The 3G technology, besides helping increase the GDP of Pakistan, encouraging infrastructure investments, will also help reducing fraud and economic leakage in financial sector and improve farm production in the agriculture sector. The evolution of technology has made life easier for customer base. The launch of 3G services is great news as it will not only improve the general standard of life and the quality of the way business is done but will also help boost the economy.
These views were expressed by the Ufone CCO Asher Yaqub Khan in an interview with The Nation. Following are details of the extracts of the talks with him.
Q: How 3G could be utilized for information?
AYK: Users can use 3G for watching TV on their handsets, downloading and streaming videos at high speed, sharing clips as well as enriched social media experience.
Q: How do you see loadshedding will affect the quality of 3G service on networks of telcos?
AYK: Loadshedding will not affect the quality of 3G service, in fact it will provide relief to our customers by facilitating them to use internet and watch their favorite programs or chat with their friends. The beauty of having 3G technology is that you can enjoy services on your phone even when there is no electricity provided you have your phone fully charged of course!
Q: Will a large section of customers’ base, out of 132m, be able to afford the rates of 3G?
AYK: At Ufone, customers are our top priority and we will ensure that the transition will be as smooth as possible to provide the best packages. Even if you look at our history, we have been known to provide world class service at affordable rates and this will be the case with 3G too.
Q: Do we see price hikes across the band or the model will continue to be price-centric?
AYK: we will keep the tariffs as simple and customer friendly as possible. At Ufone, as we have always stressed, it is always about you. We do not believe in exploiting our customers. The approach will remain the same in future as well and we will continue delivering affordable services to our customer base that by the way, has been great to us in return as well.
Q: What are the challenges that are expected to create impediments in the fastest deployment of 3G networks?
AYK: One major hold up point is that the technology is only supported on handsets that are 3G compatible. So only users who have a 3G handset will be able to experience the technology.
Customer awareness of how to use services is another issue. We are working on building awareness for the technology. Setting up the technology is one thing but making customers aware about it and then selling it is another.
Q: What are your demands from the government related tax rationalization on mobile phone services as the telecom sector in Pakistan is made to suffer from discriminate and highest tax regime?
AYK: This needs to be rationalized. Telecoms tax burden in Pakistan is amongst highest in the world and that effects all efforts of increasing teledensity. If we understand and acknowledge the sea change that access to telecoms can bring in our economy, I am sure we will appreciate the need for reduction of taxes here.
Q: What are some of the challenges in minimizing costs?
AYK: Increased taxes being levied by the government, indirect taxes, cost of infrastructure, power crisis, security issues, network shutdown, license cost, regulatory barrier on commercial activity as well as right of way the main challenge in minimizing costs.