The opening of Telenor Pakistan's mobile network, which took place on Tuesday 15 March, attracted great attention in Pakistan. More than 400 guests and a large number of journalists from both national and international media were present at the opening ceremony in Islamabad. Pakistan's President, General Pervez Musharraf, conducted the actual opening of the network by placing a call to Norway's Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, who was on a visit to Sidney, Australia.
This is the first time that Telenor as sole owner launches a mobile operation outside Norway. The commercial launch of the network took place less than a year after Telenor won its license on 14 April 2004. "We are pleased to be in operation at this early date, and plan to maintain a high tempo as we remain committed to providing coverage to 70 per cent of Pakistan's population three years from now," said Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas. "Today, the mobile penetration in Pakistan is low. We expect that the positive economic development that the country is undergoing at the moment will secure strong growth in the Pakistani mobile market in coming years, and we aim to be part of that growth," said Baksaas, who attended the opening ceremony in Islamabad.
Telenor was one of two bidders to secure a mobile license in Pakistan in April 2004, and with these two new additions, Pakistan now counts six mobile operators. Telenor paid USD 291 million for its Pakistani mobile license and plan to invest an estimated USD 1 billion over a period of 6 to 8 years.
At the time of launch, Telenor Pakistan's mobile network covers close to 20 million people in Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Karachi. By the end of March, coverage will be extended to include 32 million people. Pakistan has a population of 150 million people and the country's mobile penetration is close to six per cent.
Press spokesman Dag Melgaard, Tel: +47 901 92 000
Still photos from the event are available at:
Telenor won its license by auction on 14 April 2004. The license is of a 15-year duration, and may be renewed. The second license was awarded to Warid of Egypt. Telenor Pakistan and Warid entered into an agreement for intercommunication in March of 2005. Such intercommunication agreements were also entered into in with the other Pakistani operators in December 2004.
The other operators in Pakistan:
- Mobilink - 64 per cent market share and approximately 5.6 million customers
- U Fone - 23 per cent market share and approximately 2 million customers
- Paktel - 7 per cent market share and approximately 646,000 customers
- Instaphone - 6 per cent market share and approximately 519,000 customers
Nokia and Siemens are cooperating on the rollout of Telenor Pakistan's network. During the initial phase, 400 base stations will provide coverage in the three largest cities: Islamabad, Karachi and Rawalpindi. As of 23 March, coverage will also be provided in the cities of Lahore, Faisalabad and Hyderabad, as well as the highway running between Karachi and Hyderabad (this includes an additional 12 million people, which brings the total amount of people covered up to 32 million by the end of March).
At the time of launch, nine Telenor Customer Centres, 38 franchisees and around 1,000 smaller sales outlets will provide service in the covered areas.
Telenor Pakistan is 100 per cent owned by Telenor and is headed by Tore Johnsen.
The headquarters in Islamabad was opened in February 2005.
Pakistan is the world's sixth most populous country, with approximately 150 million people.
With its 796,095 square kilometres Pakistan is almost 2.5 times as large as mainland Norway. Norway and Pakistan share certain geographical challenges.
In 2003, Pakistan's GNP (Gross National Product) per capita was USD 471.
The real growth in GNP was 6.4 per cent in 2003-04.
Average income per capita was 652 USD in 2003-04, compared to USD 582 in the previous year.