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Pk

Basics Edit

Pakistan has 5 mobile GSM operators, going down to 4 in 2016/7:

  • Mobilink (to be relauched as Jazz) - merging with Warid
  • Telenor
  • Ufone
  • Zong
  • Warid - merging with Mobilink (to be called Jazz soon)

2G/GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz on all networks (except of Warid) and 4G/LTE started in 2014 on Zong and Warid on 1800 MHz and with Telenor on 850 MHz.

In 2015 Mobilink and Warid agreed to a merger that has been finalized in 2016. Both networks will be united under one brand. This is supposed to be completed by 2017.

The PTCL (Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd.) is the former state-owned and now semi-privatised incumbent provider. It focuses on triple play, but is not further mentioned in this survey, as it uses GSM-incompatible CDMA for its mobile network.

Coverage and speed Edit

Mobile internet in Pakistan used to be painfully slow. Up to 2014 only 2G with EDGE was available. Internet cafes have been often equally slow and not widely available outside tourist locations. In April 2014 frequencies for 3G and 4G were auctioned. Since then the mobile operators are quickly building up high speed networks throughout the country. Mobilink and Telenor are already covering some hundred cities with 3G, while Zong and Warid concentrate on 4G/LTE in major towns only.

Coverage on the countryside and in the mountainous areas in the north, where many visitors are likely to travel, is still poor. Sometimes when there's no signal, villagers will know of a "mobile point", a specific spot nearby that happens to have a signal from one or more networks. That's why many Pakistanis carry SIMs from more than one network.

Regulations Edit

After the 2014 terrorist attacks, the Pakistani governement severely tightened SIM card registration rules in the country. All 100 million SIM cards now have to registered biometrically. This process led to long lines in the shops of the operators and is still going on in 2015.

Foreigners can buy prepaid SIM cards in the country showing their passport (and visa) documents in an operator's shop. They will copy your documents, take a picture of you (or you provide one) and take fingerprints on a scanner. Be prepared to wait for quite a while as Pakistan has one of the tightest SIM registration schemes in the world. You might also need to call the operator or will be called to verifiy your data and identity.

SIM cards are now being sold and activated only after the National Database and Registration Authority verifies the purchaser’s biometrics (thumb and finger impressions) online. Some 70,000 biometric devices have been installed at sale points of cellular mobile operators. A re-verification project was done in 2015, which required all mobile customers to confirm their identity with their mobile provider via biometric verification – in this case a thumbprint scan. They chose to reinforce its SIM registration procedures after an attack on a school in Peshawar in 2014 revealed that phones used in the attack had used fraudulently verified SIMs. Another tightening of laws in 2016 threatens fines for those, who don't register SIM cards properly with up to 3 years in prison or up to Rs. 500,000.

A SIM card will be deactivated after 180 days of non-usage. The Propakistani website gives an excellent survey of the latest updates in the country. There you can find listings of some more 3G/4G offers based on package sizes and additional data-only options for modems. Many information in this article are taken from this valuable source.

Mobilink (to be relaunched in Jazz) Edit

Mobilink

Mobilink controlled by Russian Vimpelcom is still market leader in the country with a 29% customer share. It has the widest coverage in 2G up to EDGE, but seems to be losing the race for 3G to Telenor now. In 2016, it covers 350 cities with 3G so far, listed here: click on 3G coverage area.

For 2016/7 it's planned to adopt Warid's (see below) 4G network and offer their LTE to all of their customers as a single brand. Most of their prepaid products are now marketed under the Jazz label which will their new brand for the Warid merger. The brands Mobilink and Warid will eventually disappear.

Availability Edit

Jazz

Their prepaid SIM card called "Jazz" is available in their shops (locator) for a minimal price. You need to visit nearest Mobilink Jazz Service Center or retail point, elect any number of your choice from the pool, verify through biometric system and your number will be activated immediately.

To activate 3G service on your prepaid SIM, you may need to dial *443*3# or text "SUB" on 7003. They offer different plans, but no data is included. Check balance, by *111#.

Effective 2017 all Mobilink, Jazz and Warid vouchers are interchangeable for top-ups.

Data feature packages Edit

Mobilink has these packages below for 3G (and 2G) available. Default rate outside packages and for overuse is Rs. 2.39 per MB.

Package Data Validity Price Subscription
Daily Social

Bundle

30 MB for FB, WA

only

24 hours Rs. 5 *114*5#
Daily Lite 50 MB 24 hours Rs. 12 *117*11#
3 Day Lite 100 MB 3 days Rs. 20 *117*1#
Weekly Lite 300 MB 7 days Rs. 50 *117*3#
Weekly Smart 500 MB + 200 MB

for FB, WA

7 days Rs. 75 *117*7#
Weekly 1 GB 7 days Rs. 110 *117*47#
Weekly Extreme 1.5 GB (2am-2pm) 7 days Rs. 70 *117*14#
Monthly Browser 1.5 GB 30 days Rs. 160 *117*77#
Monthly Light 3 GB 30 days Rs. 250 *117*31#
Monthly Smart 6 GB 30 days Rs. 500 *117*30#
Monthly Heavy 8 GB 30 days Rs. 800 *117*32#
Late Night 500 MB (2am-8am) 3 nights Rs. 15 *114*14#
All taxes are included, bundles won't auto-renew and have to be subscribed again. Overage of Rs.0.30 per MB applies for all bundles. To check data balance for free, type subscription code ending by *2#, e.g. *117*1*2#.

More info Edit

  • APN (for prepaid): jazzconnect.mobilinkworld.com

Telenor Edit

Telenor

Telenor from Norway is the 2nd provider in Pakistan almost on par with Mobilink's 29% of the users. While its 2G network is not so widespread in the countryside as Mobilink's, Telenor is faster in building up a 3G network. In 2016, they cover more than 250 towns in HSPA speed and are adding more places. They have the most 3G customers in the country right now, but they are still limited to towns: 3G coverage map

4G/LTE has started in August 2016 in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan ,Peshawar and Sawaton on 850 MHz and is open for prepaid.

Availability Edit

Their prepaid packages are called "Talkshawk" or the youth-oriented "djuice". They are available for a minimal fee in their sales & service centers: where-to-buy.

3G doesn't need to be activated. Usage without subscribing to bundles will be charged at 10 Paisa (incl. tax) per 10 KB. After Rs. 50 of daily charging on default rate further usage will be completely free for the rest of the day.

For 4G/LTE you need a require a compatible handset and 4G SIM; Telenor is offering to replace customers’ existing SIMs for 4G SIM cards for free at its retail outlets.

Data feature packages Edit

Default rate usage without subscribing to bundles will be charged at 15 Paisa (incl. tax) / 10 KB. They offer these packs on 3G. 3G bundles will work both on 2G and 3G, but 2G bundles will not work on Telenor's 3G:

Validity Data Price Activation
1 hour 500 MB PKR 6 *345*981#
1 day 50 MB PKR 12 *345*141#
1 day 75 MB PKR 15 *345*131#
3 days 200 MB PKR 35 *345*133#
7 days 750 MB PKR 75 *345*134#
7 days 1.2 GB PKR 100 *345*164#
7 days (5am-5pm) 3 GB PKR 70 *345*144#
30 days 1 GB PKR 150 *345*835#
30 days 2.25 GB PKR 300 *345*935#
30 days 4 GB PKR 478 *345*135#
30 days 10.5 GB PKR 1195 *345*136#

Taxes are included. Overuse will be charged at the default rate. After Rs.59.75 of daily charging on default rate further usage will be completely free for the rest of the day (FUP of 1.5 GB).

Data-only SIM Edit

Telenor sells a data only SIM called Telenor 3G Connect. Together with a 3G dongle it includes 2 months of internet and 20 GB per month for Rs. 2,200. To activate, type *345*4005#.

You can use your existing Telenor prepaid SIM with the Connect too after migrating it to a data package, which you can do so by dialing code *345*4006#. Once migrated, voice calls will be blocked on that SIM and you can add a package:

  • 2 GB for 1 day: Rs. 75 - activation: *345*4000#
  • 3 GB for 30 days: Rs. 300 - activation: *345*4001#
  • 10 GB for 30 days: Rs. 750 - activation: *345*4002#
  • 20 GB for 30 days: Rs. 1100 - activation: *345*4003#
  • 30 GB for 30 days: Rs. 1500 - activation: *345*4004#

Check your remaining data and its validity by dialing *999# for Rs. 0.24 inclusive of tax.

More info Edit

ZongEdit

Zong new

new logo

Zong in Pakistan is owned by China Mobile. It has become the 3rd network now with 19% of the users. It has a limited network on 3G so far in many towns: 3G coverage-map, but started in 2014 with 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz in the centers of 7 major cites. Zong’s 4G network has coverage of more than 300 towns and cities, and served a total of 2.3 million 4G subscribers in 2017.

AvailabilityEdit

A Zong SIM can be purchased for 500 Rs, which includes 300 Rs call credit in their stores: customer service centers. For 4G/LTE you need a special 4G SIM card.

Data feature packsEdit

Out of bundle rate is Rs.1 per Mb. Zong offers these packages on 2G, 3G and 4G for the same price, where available:

Zong chart

Dial *6464# for activation menu or visit their website. To check data balance, type *102#. If you your bundle expires, the user’s mobile internet speed will be reduced to 256 kbps and charges of Rp.1 per MB will be applicable. You can buy Add-ons at Rs.10 for 100 MB extra by texting 'ba' to 6464. All packages auto-renew.

More infoEdit

Ufone Edit

Ufone

Ufone by Pak Telecom Mobile Ltd. (PTML) is the 4rd operator in the country with a 15% share. It started with 3G in 2014 on 2100 MHz and now new on 900 MHz as well and covers around 60 cities in 2016 so far: 3G Coverage,

Availability Edit

Their prepaid packages are called "Talkshawk" and are available for a minimal fee in their sales & service centers: where-to-buy.

You need to activate 3G service by typing *7701#.

Data feature packages Edit

Default tariff is Rs.20 for the first MB and the user gets next 19 MB free, then gets charged for the 21st MB and gets the next 19 MB free and so on. They have a big variety of packages for 3G available:

Ufone chart-0

To activate type *3# and choose package. Dial *706# to check the remaining balance of the buckets. Facebook, Line, WhatsApp and Twitter consumption is not debited from the data allowance.

More info Edit

Warid (soon to be moved to Jazz) Edit

Warid

Warid used to be the smallest operator in Pakistan with a market share of 8%. 4G/LTE has started on 1800 MHz in 5 major cities so far: Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad, Islamabad/Rawalpindi and Gujranwala. It used to have no 2G/3G coverage at all: LTE coverage-map. In 2015 Waird announced a merger with Mobilink and will incorporate their network under a single brand in 2017 giving their customers access to 2G and 3G now.

The merger started in 2017 and the enlarged company is expected to use the ‘Jazz’ brand previously used by Mobilink for its prepaid offerings. Consequently, the Warid and Mobilink names will be phased out, whilst former Warid customers will be transferred to Jazz.

Availability Edit

A Warid SIM card can be bought in their stores: business centres and franchises. Be sure to get one for their 4G/LTE. For LTE internet activation dial *443#.

Effective 2017 all Mobilink, Jazz and Warid vouchers are interchangeable for top-ups.

Data feature packages Edit

Usage without subscribing to bundles will be charged at Rs. 2 / MB. After Rs. 50 of daily charging on default rate a bonus of 10 MB will be awarded to the subscriber.

These data packages can be booked on 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE:

Warid

For activation, type code or *443#. Overuse fee is Rp. 0.30 per MB.

Warid introduced prepaid shared internet plans. 2 or more numbers can share the same internet data account. To add a prepaid number to your LTE Shared Internet Plan, SMS Add<space><number> to 7777. Only two numbers can be added to the LTE Shared Internet Plans in a single day. These shared packages are available for 2G and LTE:

  • 15 GB: 1500 Rs., activation: text 'SH1' to 7777
  • 20 GB: 2000 Rs., activation: text 'SH2' to 7777
  • 35 GB: 3000 Rs., activation: text 'SH3' to 7777

More info Edit

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