Pakistan: a Huge hotspot!

  Pakistan, a pioneer in developing a nation-wide WiMAX communications network, has announced that Motorola has won a $30m WiMAX contract to provide infrastructure and wireless broadband services. Wi-tribe, a wireless ISP, will use Motorola’s WAP 400 WiMAX basestations with diversity (MIMO) antenna capabilities for indoor penetration.

The deployment of the WiMAX network will start from this month in the 3.5GHz spectrum while the commercial launch is expected during 2009. Wi-tribe Pakistan is a joint venture between Qatar Telecom (Qtel) and Saudi Arabia’s A.A. Turki Group.

At the same time, Wateen Telecom, an Abu Dhabi venture, is making WiMAX available in 22 cities in Pakistan. It is expected to herald a broadband revolution in Pakistan, catering to more than one million users. Motorola will supply 198,000 end-user WiMAX customer premises devices for both indoor and outdoor use.

Wateen intends to roll out its WiMAX network to 100 cities in Pakistan by the end of 2008. Pakistan, with a population of 164 million, is an attractive market for new entrants. It had less than two percent broadband penetration at the end of 2007 and only 45,000 DSL subscribers at that time. Poor quality copper lines and high prices have held back DSL growth.

Motorola is on a tear. In August, Motorola also won a contract to enable REDtone to launch East Malaysia’s first WiMAX broadband services. In April, it won a $19.7m contract from Taiwanese WiMAX license winnerFirst International Telecom to provide base stations, and in March it won a $165m contract from Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication to provide WiMAX network in Saudi Arabia.

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