Before writing the review of Internet Service Providers in Pakistan, I want to explain the exposure. I have been indulged as client or end user with different service providers from last 15 years. This exposure of internet provision to me was VSAT based Downlink/uplink, SCPC VSAT, ADSL, SDSL Fiber Optic based, E1 Lines based or even modem based.
Overall Major Issue with Internet Service Providers:
The major issue is proactive customer services to end users. This issue is with most of the service providers. Complaint management, will to provide effective service, prioritizing the customer needs are missing throughout telecom and internet service providers.
You may have noticed that internet will be working fine till the time some issue is arrived. Then there is a chaos when you put a complaint to service providers. A customer will feel that no one is caring about the service. This is the point where customer is potentially lost. A delay in complaint handling means least priority to your consumer. There comes a proactive customer care service.
Now we will see different providers and their issues:
The major stakeholder in this field is PTCL. PTCL has various issues within their setup. Consumer support staff at exchanges has lack in will to work. Their top management has created a customer care center and online support but in actual, they are only listener of complaints and cannot do anything. Actual implementation is at leaf nodes/exchanges which have same government mindset people there. There are issues with bandwidth management, customer support services on ground.
Overall Nayatel has good customer care and services. Only issue is their coverage. They have provided these services to very limited set of people and very small community. They have good internet service overall.
Wi-Tribe is a Qatar based company which launched is operations in Pakistan in 2007. According to PTA, in 2010, Wi-Tribe was the top ISP in Pakistan in terms of quality. Its coverage area is Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Wi-Tribe offers multifarious packages and devices ranging from dongles, wired connections, 3G, 4G and prepaid devices.
COMSATS Internet Services is the pioneer ISP in Pakistan, operating the country for 18 years. It offers Wireless Broadband, DSL Wi-Fi, Fiber optic, Domain & Hosting, Virtual Servers, Video Conferencing, Website Development, IT Training Courses & Telehealth services. Customers can buy wired, wireless, satellite, fiber optics, copper and normal lined cable internet services from this ISP. CIS is connected with CIIT (COMSATS Institute of Information Technology) and covers all major cities of Pakistan.
LINKdotNET is a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom Holding. This ISP provides services in three packages: Link Home, Link Work and Link Enterprise. Dedicated and customized services like Domain Hosting, Home DSL, Dial-up, ISDN, Global Connectivity, Data Networks and VPNs. LINKdotNET coverage area is limited to main cities and it fails to impress the users.
Qubee was launched in 2007. It covers Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. It offers prepaid, postpaid, SME and Youth packages. This ISP is also operating in Bangladesh and plans to extend its operations across the region.
Wateen Telecom is yet another reputable ISP in Pakistan. It has introduced WiMAX and DSL technologies in the country and gives smart internet services in affordable rates. Its coverage area is Abbottabad, Bahawalpur, D.I. Khan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Jhelum, Karachi, Lahore, Mandi Bahauddin, Multan, Okara, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawalpindi, R.Y. Khan, Sahiwal, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Sukkur.
As most of satellite based internet service providers take internet from PTCL fiber and uplink it. So, they cannot provide quality service as they are dependent on PTCL. Moreover, Paksat is also an issue which has too much downtime in a year. As government urges to use PAKSAT that affects customers.
Telecom based Internet Service Providers:
Zong has covered the market with its 4G services throughout Pakistan. They have good 3G and 4G coverage. But they have technical issues. First one is bandwidth. They have provided less bandwidth to some 4G coverage areas with many clients. This results in very slow internet browsing even equal to 2G. They have less active customer care unit. Most of the time, they respond to complaint in very slow manner even some time, never bother to answer. They also cheat in their packages by showing more usage.
Mobilink and Warid has least focus on individual customers. They are focused on corporate customers. So, they have least priority for their end users. Signal issues, coverage issues and customer care are some of them.
Packages of Telenor is always more costly than any other network. They have always hidden costs and balance deductions. Although their services are good but their packages and deductions are not reliable.
Ufone has same issues as of PTCL. Signal and bandwidth are two major issues in their provision.
Every Internet service provider has some pros and cons. Till now, Nayatel is performing better than others but due to its limited coverage, it is still available at very few places.