Mobilink, Pakistan’s largest cellco by subscribers, has announced that its 3G services in eight cities will remain free to all new and existing, pre and post-paid customers for the time being. The operator, backed by Russian-owned group Vimpelcom, launched free 3G trials after securing a 3G concession in late April, expanding the service to Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Multan and Peshawar by the end of May. Mobilink had previously planned a commercial launch of its 3G services by mid-June 2013 but has opted instead to extend the free trial. The cellco did not give a time frame for the extension, noting simply that ‘the services will continue to provide first-hand opportunity for testing high-speed internet services.’ Its press release went on to say that prolonging the trial was a reward for its customers: ‘Mobilink is providing free 3G services in 8 major cities of Pakistan as a means to thank its customers for the confidence that they have shown in Mobilink during the last 20 years.’
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Ufone was the first to market the long-anticipated 3G services, launching a basic W-CDMA network in late May. Norwegian-backed Telenor and Chinese-owned Zong followed suit earlier this month, activating HSPA+ and dual carrier (DC)-HSPA+ networks respectively.