The leading cellular company in Pakistan has assured
its subscribers of early addressal to connectivity problems arising out
of its partial band migration from 900 MHz to 1800 MHz. All technical
aspects of the problem are being rapidly worked upon to ensure prompt
and quick connectivity to its subscribers before the close of this
It was revealed during a visit by media personnel
belonging to various national dailies to one of Mobilink's Regional
Switching Facility last Monday. The journalists were given a detailed
briefing about various technical activities being carried out by
engineers working on the site. The media personnel went round the site
and asked questions about the nature and causes of degradation in
services, time span required for up-gradation of network and the impact
of improved network on subscribers' base and coverage area etc.
Mobilink's customers have been experiencing problems
in connectivity since it started work on upgrading and overlaying its
network under the provision of the new telecom policy. PTA has asked
Mobilink to vacate part of its frequency in the 900MHz band and in lieu
was given additional bandwidth in the 1800 MHz band. This work of
overlaying and optimizing the network is expected to be completed by the
end of January 2005. Band vacation was carried out to accommodate two
new cellular companies entering the Pakistani market some time later.
Mr. Asim Ali, National Manager for RF Planning
informed the journalists that degradation in services were expected when
the new system was being installed as it required both hardware and
software changes. "This is a temporary phase and we are working
diligently round the clock to minimize the inconvenience", he
added. "Our engineering department is well staffed with both
national and international experts to optimize the network and bring it
to the desired quality levels".
With a customer base of 5 million, Mobilink is the
country's largest cellular company providing services with
state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure in more than 320 cities
with over 1800 cell sites across the country. Its investment in Pakistan
is expected to inflate to $1 billion in 2005.
Responding to another question, Mr. Asim said
Mobilink is continuously investing in expansion of the systems and
maintains a capacity buffer of 25%, "Our expansion plans are
triggered once subscriber traffic reaches 75% of the planned network. We
at all times want to maintain a capacity buffer of 25%."
About a question on increase in coverage area through
enhanced system, he disclosed that the upgraded network would help them
expand their services to more cities by the end of the year.
Mr. Asim said that Mobilink is using the latest
cutting edge equipment of leading global vendors such as Siemens,
Alcatel and Motorola. "Additionally, these companies are also
assisting us in the ongoing band migration and optimization process with
their technical support", he said. He reiterated that the problem
is only temporary and will be soon corrected. "I assure you that
the problem will be resolved and that all our customers will enjoy the
desired uninterrupted quality of service", he added.