Ever wondered what the 3G hype is all about?
The advent of 3G in our lives was loud and eventful. However, while tech experts celebrated, the less tech-savvy among us wondered aloud what all the fuss was about. Others, of whom there were many, chose to remain quiet, seemingly politely aware of and relishing the fact that their mobile phones supported this latest technology while secretly unsure of what to make of it.
The truth is that the advent of 3G came at a time when a lot of Pakistanis were comfortable with the existing state of technology and were sure that this was the limit that technology could ever reach. This is why the initial level of 3G adoption was relatively low. However, this certainly does not mean that the new technology has not affected Pakistani society in any way. The most important question that needs to be addressed, however, is what has 3G done and can do for the country’s burgeoning IT sector. Let’s first take a quick look at what the technology is all about.
To begin with, 3G or Third Generation, is a mobile technology that was introduced after First Generation (analogue signals in phones) and Second Generation (digital signals). What is different in 3G is that while Second Generation was based on GSM – a global system for mobile communication that focuses more on simple browsing and text messaging – 3G is more advanced and provides much faster web browsing and use of multimedia, factors which were noticeably missing in 2G.
So what is 4G all about?
After 3G came 4G – Fourth Generation, one step ahead. This technology can be described simple in two words: the fastest. Studies suggest that 4G is seven times faster than 3G when it comes to using multimedia and uploading videos and images. Furthermore, the average speed of uploading content using 3G is 1.6 Mbps while with 4G, the speed increases to around 12.4 Mbps!
We all know that the transition from 2G to 3G was met with enthusiasm. However, the arrival of proper, full-coverage 4G in Pakistan might not create the same exuberance as the transition is likely to be somewhat less dramatic and much easier after 3G. Nevertheless, the speed that 4G will provide will allow people to stay connected at all times, sharing information at will and staying up-to-date on the go.
The changes 3G and 4G will bring about in Pakistan
Since its inception in 1947, Pakistan has grown and embraced change with open arms. Even though its people once lived simply, early acceptance of technology has enabled them to be well-connected to the world outside, which demands quick flow of information. Out of Pakistan’s total population of 190 million, around 30 million are internet users. Likewise, active mobile users are around 134.8 million, which is a penetration rate of just over 70 percent. Moreover, as recent as in December 2014, the total number of 3G users in Pakistan added up to 7.68 million.
In a fast-paced world, keeping up is crucial for every emerging economy. This is because if we don’t adopt new technologies today, the rate of change we will experience will slow down drastically. The benefits of 3G in Pakistan have slowly come to the fore and among these benefits, certain economic and social dimensions have been apparent. To begin with, the adoption of new technologies has been an achievement within itself, because it shows that people are willing to adapt and change with the world.
Prosperous economic outlook
Economically, the country is anticipated to be better off in all respects with the arrival and adoption of 3G and 4G. Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is likely to rise in the near future on the back of strong initiatives in the IT sector, especially those spearheaded by entrepreneurial minds. In addition to this, approximately 900,000 new jobs are likely to be created and the government’s tax revenue is also projected to rise. So, if you were thinking that 3G and 4G only led to faster internet speed and uninterrupted downloads, you need to pay closer attention to these phenomena. These technologies have the potential to lead the economic growth in Pakistan, potential that has already begun to be realised.
It is not news that Pakistan’s IT industry is flourishing beyond anyone’s wildest expectations, and the contributions of 3G and 4G cannot be ignored. Perhaps their arrival was the final point for the IT industry to prove that it was not far behind the world, and is likely to catch up with the industries of developed economies in no time.
A big factor in this success is the receptiveness the general public has shown towards new technologies. For instance, people now have a platform through which they can collectively raise their voice and support various causes. Students have a wide array of opportunities at their disposal, adults can now monitor their daily tasks well, companies can monitor and forecast their revenues and old people can even monitor their health conditions. Whether it is health, education, finance or shopping, every sector has slowly but steadily integrated technology.
Benefits for the young entrepreneur
Pakistan’s youngsters are constantly exploring and experimenting with technology, which has given a boost to entrepreneurship in the country. Several entrepreneurs are now striving to make our lives easier. Very recently, thanks to 3G and 4G, the already bustling app development scene in Pakistan has picked up renewed vigour.
For instance, Zameen.com, Pakistan’s top real estate portal, has launched its app to assist property buyers, sellers and tenants from all over the country to go through property listings with ease. The app saves a lot of time and effort while allowing property hunters to choose from over a million properties. Pakwheels.com’s automotive app is yet another example of how Pakistan’s talented generation has revolutionised the automotive market in Pakistan. These are only two examples of how smartphone users are spoilt for choice with highly functional and increasingly well-developed apps.
Information in the palm of your hand
The whole point is that technologies like 3G and 4G have, ultimately, revolutionised how information is delivered to the users. While it was previously restricted to people’s doorsteps, companies now seek to ensure that through the effective use of 3G & 4G, they can send updates and information directly to the palm of the users. Doorsteps are now effectively a thing of the past.