ISLAMABAD (APP):  The telecom operators in the country have added over 9.07 million 3G users till January 2015, showing a reasonable growth in modern mobile broadband services with each passing month. The operators also added 49,100 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE) subscribers to their network till January. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), in its latest updates, has revealed that all four 3G operators added some 3.3 million users on to their networks during January 2015 with Telenor leading the charts that added 472,374 users to its 3G network during the reported month.

Mobilink converted 381,984 subscribers to 3G while Ufone’s 301,572 subscribers and Zong added 189,023 subscribers on its 3G network during January 2015.

With 2.74 million 3G subscribers, Telenor stands at number one slot with Ufone at second position with its 2.25 million 3G users.

At the end of January, Mobilink had 2.18 million 3G users while Zong ended the month with 1.85 million 3G users.

This count of 3G users is likely to grow further (during weeks to come) with introduction of mobile broadband dongles, WiFi devices from telecom operators in recent weeks.

The PTA said Zong almost doubled its 4G users in January 2015 to take the total count of its 4G subscriptions to 5,023 4G Users from 2242 in December last.

Warid, on the other hands, recorded 44,075 LTE subscribers during the month of January to outrun Zong.

With combined subscription count of both the operators, Pakistan has currently almost 50,000 4G/LTE users in the country.

Meanwhile, as expected, the rollout of 3G and 4G services has resulted in spike of demand for smartphones and tablets that support 3G, as semi-urban and rural consumers take advantage of expanded services and offerings.

The experts have said implications of 3G connectivity are immense across a wide spectrum of sectors. First and foremost are enhanced communication paradigms, as families are able to engage in Skype and video calls with ease and comfort.

Free calling apps are also significantly upgraded as high-speed internet enables the usage of such software. The 3G has brought the world closer together, and Pakistan is no different. Use of data intensive apps will increase as the 3G and 4G market matures.

They said in the fields of learning and knowledge, 3G is also a game-changer. With enhanced internet connectivity, students and other people wishing to gain information can use different websites which offer tutorials, courses and other knowledge-based mediums to help gain critical skills and experience.

As the labour force becomes more educated and trained, international firms are more amenable towards making investments as they know there is a large talent pool available in the market to help build companies. Such investment has a multiplier effect, as employment rates go up, more and more people are attracted towards acquiring education and building their skills as they know that such talent is in demand.

Socio-economic development is positively impacted. With half the population in the youth bracket, the potential for online education cannot be stressed enough. Another important sector that positively benefits from 3G deployment is the e-commerce and online shopping segment. Traditional modes of shopping are time consuming, cumbersome and exhausting. With high-speed internet, consumers can easily browse through a wide range of products online, without having to brave traffic jams, heat and other factors.

Pakistan’s e-commerce sector has grown very rapidly in the past few years, and as it currently only occupies a small percentage of total retail sales, it is clear that there is still significant opportunity to grow and progress.

Such news will be welcomed by all businesses - as expansion of delivery channels results in a higher pool of customers that can be targeted.