Socio-economic impact of 3G/4G technology on Pakistan

By Ali Raza

The Government of Pakistan is going to auction 3G/4G spectrum on April 23, 2014. The 3G/4G will enhance the broadband proliferation in Pakistan. This service will generate revenue between Rs. 380 and Rs. 1180 up to 2020 for national exchequer of the country. By launching this service mobile users will migrate from text or voice based services to data driven services like video calling, live video streaming, e-education, e-banking, e-health, e-commerce and social media applications. The 3G/4G service will provide ubiquitous internet access to users through smart phones.The debut of this service will open huge opportunities for entrepreneurs in Pakistan and generate million of direct and indirect jobs. This technology will improve productivity and efficiency of government, corporations and individuals. This technology will lay down digital infrastructure to cater governments, businesses and common people in 21th century.

The 3G/4G service will boost growth in sectors like education, banking, media, retailing and health. By 2017 the market share of 3G/4G service will expected to increase by 53%. It has been forecasted that 50% of total connections will be running on 3G/4G service by 2017. The 2G connections are forecasted to decline to 50% by 2017 as user migrates to 3G/4G services. According to GSMA/Deloitte study, there will be enormous economic impact of migration to 3G/4G technology on economy and prosperity of countries and citizens.It has been calculated that 10% shift from 2G to next generation technology leads to 0.15% increase GDP. With introduction of this technology Smartphone penetration will also increase in Pakistan, which stands currently on 15%. This technology will improve ways of learning’s, living and working in our country. This 3G/4G services will provide speed, reliability, connectivity to internet users.  There are many industries which will be transformed by introduction of 3/4 G technology but I will explain few of them.


The big beneficiaries of 3G/4G service will be utilities and their customers. The important applications of 3 G/4G service are smart grids, smart meters and electronic sensors. Smart grid is a network of millions of smart meters and sensors connected through 3G service that manage the power stations, energy transmission lines and electronic devices on that network. The smart meters will measure electricity every selected intervals and transmit energy usage to central energy management system through 3G/4G network. Furthermore, Smart meters will manage energy supply to selected appliances and share energy consumption information with home owners.

The 3G/4G service will assist in automated meter reading, optimum energy consumption and dynamic pricing instead of fixed pricing as currently practiced by energy distribution companies in Pakistan. In the same way, smart grids and smart meters will be excellent solution for gas and water utilities. Providing energy to a growing population will require effective co-operation between the cellular companies, utilities companies, technology companies, governments and regulators.


The automobile companies are preparing to launch 3G/4G enabled cars and these cars will support applications like cloud based video streaming, real time 3D navigation systems and other location based services. The 3G/4G service will support telemetry applications such as vehicle performance monitoring, driver performance monitoring by insurance companies and delivery of emergency services. This technology will introduce era of connected automobiles which will have potential to share real time information at the time of emergency, improve driving experience and modernize automobile entertainment and remote monitoring of automobile vehicles. The passengers in public transports could be able use high speed internet during traveling.The automobile vehicles will be able to communicate with each other’s and with their drivers through this service. The 3G/4G service will revolutionize the public transports and supply chain systems by sharing real time information with companies.  By connecting automobile and sharing real time information, it could be possible to reduce road accidents, road congestions, and information about petrol stations, restaurants and hospitals on road.  This service will help logistic and freight companies to control their supply chain systems by tracking real locations of their vehicles, managing their routes and reduce fuel costs.


The large population of Pakistan does have access to adequate health care services. Telemedicine will be used to serve patients in remote and underserved areas of Pakistan. Video conferencing will be used by doctors for checkups, diagnosis, to give instructions to patients and clinic staff at remote location. The 3G/4G enabled ambulances will improve survival rate of stroke patients. These ambulances will be equipped with CT scanners on board operators can perform scan on patients transmitting images to nearby hospitals and receiving instructions for treatment. The real time diagnosis and treatment in transit will improve survival rate of patients in critical condition.The 3G/4G service will facilitate development and delivery of innovative health care solutions like remote consultations, diagnosis, monitoring for disabled people and the elderly. The 3G/4G service will facilitate connection of ambulance and hospitals in order get on route expert diagnosis in order to reduce treatment time. The doctors and health care worker could remotely access patient health care record like CT scan and MRI report that will reduce treatment time up to 20-30%. It is very difficult for government to provide health care services to every citizen of Pakistan due to its meager resources and high cost of delivery. The 3G/4G technology will be the most effective conduit for delivery of innovative health care solutions like dengue tracking system in Pakistan.  The government will be able to launch disease preventive measures like monitoring of health care service and improvement in curative measure. The patients living in remote area will able to connect with their doctors through mobile telemedicine units. The technology will help Government in effective delivery of emergency services like RESCUE 1122 through global positioning system (GPS) navigation. In future smart watches will be able to monitor the body temperature, blood pressure and warn patients if any unexpected change happen in body temperature and blood pressure.


The 3G / 4G service will revolutionize the education industry in Pakistan. This service will improve education by providing access to high speed internet and delivery of educational content to students. The 3G/4G services will bridge the gap of missing facilities in schools of rural areas and facilitate students to access video lectures and study material via smart phones, tabs and laptops. Many organizations like Salman Academy, Coursera, Edx are providing free video lectures for students. Students will be able to access their educational content on their tabs, laptops and smart phones through 3G / 4G services. Students could be able to make preparation of their exams, attend video lectures online, take exams online and make contact with their teachers by using Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The Punjab government has launched E-learn Punjab project in which it has provided online interactive books of 9th and 10h class which will expand its reach by introduction of 3G / 4G technology.


This technology will introduce the era of Internet of Things (IOT) in Pakistan. The estimated market of Internet of Things (IOT) market will be $20 billion globally by 2018. It is that technology through which electronic devices can exchange with each other in order to generate value for human beings. Internet of Things (IOT) intelligently connects people, electronic devices and systems. The WAPDA could be able to read meters of its customers by using telemetering devices instead of visiting their houses. The vehicles could be able to automatically detect nearest fuel station, service station and parking in congested areas. The sensors in homes could automatically shut off appliances, monitor security of home and share real time information with home owners. The doctors will be able to monitor their patients at home without requiring them to visit hospitals through specially connected devices. Internet of Things (IOT) will make make our lives efficient, safe and secure. This technology will commence an era of mobile TV and online entertainment. Through this technology entertainment, infotainment and educational videos will be produced and shared by the people and for the people. This technology would weaken the power of middle man in manufacturing and service industries. The companies will be able deliver its products and services directly to customers. This technology is bad news for internet service providers ISPs which are providing sluggish, poor and snail speed internet connectivity at high prices. In order to survive in cut through completion with 3G/4G companies, ISPs will have to provide better connectivity at lowest prices to its customers.After introduction of this 3G/4G service, government of Pakistan is planning to establish telecentres in rural areas of Pakistan in order to provide services like registration of births & deaths, information of weather, commodity prices and farming of different crops. The government would be able to provide basic health service in rural areas through telemedicine centers. The government is also planning to establish NADRA centers in rural areas in order to make identity registration accessible for every citizen.

The writer is Editor at and Project Manager at iPrices app.

About Ali Raza

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