Blood Requests for Today
Smart phone usage worldwide has jumped 79% in the past year. Around 450 million smart phones are expected to ship worldwide this year.
Despite this worldwide popularity, smart phones in Pakistan haven’t picked up any steam. Currently, there are 105 million SIMs in operation in Pakistan and phone density is 63% (according to PTA, other estimates from different institutes provide a lower figure), but smart phone usage is limited.
Estimates suggest that the smart phone share in Pakistan is 5% of the total mobile phone market. E-Series from Nokia and Blackberries are counted in this.
The low penetration of smart phones in Pakistan is due to high prices. In the UK and other countries, the model adopted by network providers which is popular is contract based. So an iPhone 4 might cost around $199 dollars which translates to Rs17, 000 on contract. But the same iPhone here costs around Rs55,000.
Those networks, like in the UK, offer the phones for lower prices because they can recover their money and make profits from the data plans offered in contracts.
The phones only run on the network with which you have a contract and these networks have huge user bases so even if they break even in the seventeenth month of a two year contract, they will still make substantial profits.
This model is not suitable for an environment like Pakistan, so telecom companies here have done what they can.
Ufone and Zong have taken good initiatives to increase the popularity of the Android platform, which in many regions is already the number one platform for smart phones, by releasing an affordable series of handsets running the OS.
The cheapest of them, Ideos, is available from both operators for a price of approximately Rs10,500. Ufone further offers two more Android handsets, the Image and Verve.
Mobilink has also periodically released smart phones into the market.
The Android is only going to grow in popularity in Pakistan with the help of affordable offerings from these operators, but these offerings also raise a few questions. Why aren’t other providers like Warid and Telenor stepping into this market?
The competition in the Pakistani market is tough right now, and naturally providers would be looking for any way to increase their market share and gain an advantage over their competitors.
That is the reason we have seen the recent surge in handset offers from these providers. Due to the popularity of Android abroad, Ufone and Zong had the right idea to offer a phone running on Android for a low price and tap into a potentially big demographic.
Though all operators have released quite a few BlackBerry phones and have given them a reputation for brands that cater to the business community, changing trends suggest that the Android is replacing Black Berries.
Telenor also jumped in, providing the BlackBerry 9800 Torch and Nokia E7.
But these are relatively high end phones which not a lot of people can afford to buy.
The better deals for smart phones are only being offered by Ufone and Zong, and these are also limited. They need to expand their inventory by introducing more handsets like the Ideos and if possible, at lower prices.
Others also need to take note and cater to the younger mobile phone generation. Smart phones are big business, and it’s only a matter of time before Pakistan is caught up in their fever too. Only time will tell which provider will come out on top when it happens.
Kuwait’s Zain has announced that it has received the final tranche of US$700 million from Bharti Airtel as part of the sale last year of Zain’s African networks to the Indian company.
In a statement to the stock market, the company said: “With reference to the June 8, 2010 sale of Zain’s African assets (with the exception of Morocco and Sudan), and specifically to the deferred installment of US$700 million, we would like to inform you that the company has received this amount, in accordance with the agreement of the transaction, in which the sum was to be paid one year after the transaction, conditional on the completion of both the final approvals and the of the sale and transfer of property.”
It should be noted that the amount was calculated as profits in the financial statements of the second quarter of 2010, and therefore will not have any effect on the financial statements for the current quarter of 2011.
Most Pakistanis have been brought up speaking national language Urdu and English. Instead of communicating in Urdu, many of us lapse into English during everyday discussion. Even people who do not speak English very well try their best to sneak in a sentence or two, considering it important for their acceptance in the ‘cooler’ group.
We wonder where the trend started, but unknowingly, unconsciously, somehow or the other we all get sucked into the trap. It was not until a few years ago while on a college trip to Turkey that I realized the misgivings of our innocent jabber.
A group of Pakistani students went abroad and stopped at a shop for lunch. After lunch the waiter came with bill and asked Pakistani students:
“Where are you from?”
The waiter looked surprised, and then asked students whether they had been brought up in England. Pakistani students answered in the negative, telling him how Pakistan was where we all had grown up and spent out lives. The waiter genuinely looked confused now. Finally waiter blurted out:
‘Then why don’t you speak in the Pakistani language?’
And then the waiter went on to explain how millions of people of different nationalities from across the globe visit here as tourist. And when French visit here, they speak French. When the Chinese visit, they speak Chinese. Similarly everyone in this country speak local language. Waiter also claimed that he was very proud of his language and culture and failed to understand how someone would not speak the language of their country and choose instead a foreign tongue.
The group of Pakistani students was all at a loss of an answer. They had never thought of it that way. It was just something that we took up because of society. Even when people speak in Urdu, they tend to include a lot of English words in their sentences. Why is that? Is it because we are not proud of our national language?
Are we not proud of our native language?
Let’s appreciate everything that we are blessed with whether it is health, wealth or our loved ones.
Public awareness needs to be spread on basic life support and the ability to perform CPR. Do register yourself for same. (email or contact VOP for availability of CPR training)