Tech Week in Pakistan (Issue 13: 11th May)

This weekly newsletter focuses on the most important new developments within Pakistan’s Technology Sector. To receive this newsletter on a weekly basis subscribe to our mailing list (no spam ever) or follow me on Twitter (@adamdawood). Previous instalments of the newsletter can be found here.

Warid & PTCL Launching 4G Services   

This week PTA approved the launch of 4G services by Warid as long as they meet the service quality KPI’s set in the auction rules. As discussed in last week’s newsletter, Warid purchased 4G bandwidth back in 2004 but up till now has only used it for 2G data services . It now appears that other network providers may also hold pre-existing 4G bandwidth. Warid, however, is most likely to be the first service provider capable of launching 4G services as a result of their comparatively smaller subscriber base (Warid has 12m subscribers which is half as many as the next biggest competitor).

Telenor executives have stated that they did not participate in the 4G auction as there are only 50k 4G enabled handsets in the country and therefore they felt the investment was not justified.

Finally, PTCL has aggressively been promoting its wireless internet devices in what looks like a bid to retain market share. It is rumoured to be releasing a 4G LTE wireless gadget in the coming weeks that can reach speeds of up to 20Mbps for as little as PKR 3,000 per month.

PTA Approves of Warid 4G | 50k 4G Phones | PTCL 4G Wireless Internet

National Assembly Unanimously Votes to Lift Ban on YouTube

The National Assembly of Pakistan has unanimously voted to unblock YouTube, however, this will not lead to the lifting of the ban that has been in place since 2012. The key issue at hand is that Pakistan’s constitution does not protect any internet company from intermediary liability protection. This means that any illegal content placed on YouTube or any other content hosting site could result in the host and not the person who posted the content as having broken the law. Intermediary liability protection would give Google the ability to create a localised version of YouTube that would remove content as dictated by local laws. Bytes4All, a local advocacy group,  believes this alone will not not be enough as simply changing the law with no system to monitor and control content in a transparent manner could result in the law causing greater harm.

Dawn | Analysis

The AppJuice Rebrands itself to TechJuice

One of Pakistan top portals for technology news has aptly renamed itself TechJuice. Since their launch last year, they have focused on covering all news concerning local startups and given the tech community the ability to keep up to date on most events and issues within the industry.

TechJuice | Twitter | Facebook

Startup Showcase – Asli Goli

Asli Goli was the second runner up at Startup Asia Singapore, a competition aimed at discovering the best startups in the region. According to Asli Goli as many as 25% of all medicines in Pakistan are counterfeit. Their aim is to create a very simple and affordable solution to solve this problem. Asli Goli issues and charges pharmaceutical companies 1 cent for every unique generated code that is printed on each bottle/strip of medicine. The code when revealed after scratching the bottle is sms’ed by the customer to the company where it is verified. Asli Goli wants to implement this for all high value medicines in Pakistan and then develop it as a ‘smart’ application where they can give patients refill reminders.

Asli GoliTechinAsia

Other News:

  • Entrepreneurship in Pakistan: Shifting Traditions Amidst a Booming Ecosystem | Huffington Post
  • 5 New Pakistani Mobile Apps | TechJuice
  • Conversation with a young Pakistani Entrepreneur | TechJuice
  • Hafeezcentre.pk – The “Pakistani eBay” For Gadgets | PakWired
  • Nine Students from Pakistan to compete at the ISEF 2014 | ProPakistani
  • Interview with Khurram Zafar of LUMS LCE | StartUp | LCE Website
  • Pakistani Man behind the Football at this years FIFA World Cup | Salon
  • Hometown Shoes Rebrands itself as Markhor | Markhor

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