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October 17, 2011

Pakistan's 'Gamer Generation' to Get WiMax Nationwide from Wateen Telecom

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

Wateen Telecom is on-track to deploy WiMax in Pakistan — becoming the first firm ever to offer WiMax nationwide and bringing explosive growth to the personal broadband segment, especially the youth demographic, by catering to the infotainment market.

WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a trademark for a family of telecommunications protocols that provide fixed and mobile Internet access. The Beaverton, Oregon-based WiMax Forum describes it as "a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last -mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL.”

Wateen has awarded Greenpacket, a wireless broadband company based in Kuala Lumpur, a two-year contract for the supply of the UH350, a high-gain modem. With the collaboration of Motorola Solutions Inc., the partners plan to deliver unmatched quad-play services of data, voice, media, mobile, and networking solutions — enabling the people of Pakistan to access a digital lifestyle.

Specifically, with the WiMAX network, Wateen will offer:

Subscribers will be able to access advanced telephony, surf the Internet at super-fast speeds, make video calls, and watch IPTV (News - Alert) (Internet Protocol television) with the ease afforded by a single connection

Wateen Telecom is based in Lahore, Pakistan. It is a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG), a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based private equity company owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family and minister of presidential affairs for the UAE.

Pakistan’s broadband market is expected to reach 4.3 million by the end of 2013, with the mobile broadband segment accounting for almost 50 percent of the total market.  When the Abu Dhabi Group created Wateen Telecom four years ago, it gave the company a difficult but exciting challenge—to become the leading carrier in the region by building a world-class, reliable, cost-effective network that would provide wireless, and fixed voice and broadband data, services to both residential and corporate users.

There are fewer than five million fixed-line connections in Pakistan,” says Shahid Miah, CTO, Wateen Telecom. “There are also just over two million Internet users and only a limited number are connected to broadband. We saw this as a huge, untapped market with a lot of potential.”

The largest part of that potential market is in the under-30 age group, which represents fully 60 percent of Pakistan’s population. The Motorola wi4 WiMax was a good solution for that demographic, because not only was it designed to

support fixed, portable, nomadic and mobile applications; but it delivers true broadband mobility at speeds that enable power applications such as VoIP (Voice over internet Protocol), online gaming, mobile TV, and personalized infotainment.

Because WiMAX (News - Alert) doesn’t depend on scattered hot spots, once its network is completely built out, Wateen will be able to provide subscribers throughout Pakistan with one big, never-ending broadband Internet hot-spot. “When we chose Motorola (News - Alert), we not only focused on the technology and the technical expertise of Motorola, we looked at their capability to deliver an end-to-end service,” explained Shahid Miah, adding, “From day one, they engaged with us at all levels, whether we were talking about the design, the deployment, or managed services. They knew exactly what

questions to ask, what information was required to ensure that the delivery was as painless as possible, and that the operation would be as smooth as possible once we started offering service.”

The UH350 hybrid modem also is particularly suited to serve Wateen Telecom’s youth segment in key metro areas such as Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, and will help the company significantly grow this market segment by improving network and service quality. UH350 is part of Greenpacket’s portfolio of next generation Wave 2 compliant WiMAX Modems and the world’s first high-gain USB modem supporting both fixed and nomadic WiMAX. UH350 is also one of the first breakthrough wideband modems that support the frequency range of 3.3GHz to 3.6GHz.  Incorporating one of the most advanced antenna designs, UH350 sets new standards for ease of use, performance, and quality, both indoors and outdoors.

Referring to the deal, Chief Executive Officer of Wateen Telecom Naeem Zamindar (News - Alert) said: “The personal broadband segment is currently missing from the broadband offering in Pakistan. We see a great opportunity in closing this gap to over 500,000 subscribers within the next three years by offering customers on-the-go, smooth and seamless internet access, making connectivity agile for them.“Today’s consumers expect a lot more from their service providers; absolute performance, mobility, and portability all at the same time. We are confident the UH350 will meet Wateen Telecom customers’ high expectations of high-speed connectivity, anytime and anywhere, putting them customers in control,” said Kelvin Lee, senior general manager of Greenpacket.

Cheryl Kaften is an accomplished communicator who has written for consumer and corporate audiences. She has worked extensively for MasterCard (News - Alert) Worldwide, Philip Morris USA (Altria), and KPMG, and has consulted for Estee Lauder and the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspapers. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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