According to recent reports from the regional press in the country, a major operator is encouraging Pakistan to work on network sharing.
Speaking to the Pakistan-based media, Telenor Pakistan CEO Irfan Wahab Khan said that the country needed to make a concerted effort on 5G, with operators needing to open up to network sharing arrangements, as they have in other countries around the world.
Citing Malaysia and China (though there are a number of other examples), Khan pointed out that sharing could reduce the cost of doing business for the telecommunications sector and that, while many telecommunications companies were looking into sharing, “Pakistan is still focusing on basic structures like towers”.
It’s a not unusual theme in both developing and developed world markets. Price competition, network rollout costs, the need to increase coverage (especially to underserved areas), and rapidly increasing usage of mobile data are going to continue to put pressure on mobile operators.
But mobile operators alone are unlikely to provide any kind of long-term solution. Regulators in particular need to look at ways of driving increased levels of asset sharing – and that could extend to fibre and the RAN as well as towers and masts.
Telenor Pakistan has become the third mobile network operator to successfully test 5G in the country, according to press reports. It has a user base of some 46 million. It’s no surprise perhaps that Irfan Wahab Khan is highlighting sharing at a time when an expensive rollout programme is getting closer.