KARACHI: The much-hyped merger of two telecommunication giants Mobilink and Warid last year was the first in Pakistan. After the merger, the combined entity will have the largest subscriber base in the country.
But beyond the amalgamation of 50 million customers for both telcos, what is in it for subscribers?
“Over 50 million customers in Pakistan will benefit from high-speed mobile telecommunications and digital mobile network,” reads a statement by Amsterdam-based Vimplecom, the international communications and technology company operating Mobilink.
Ever since the announcement, both companies have been engaged in completing legal formalities, obtaining approvals from authorities and satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
Mobilink, a provider of the largest 2G and 3G networks in the country, along with Warid’s 4G service, aims to become Pakistan’s fastest 4G network provider. With Mobilink and Warid customers both on board, the two organisations say they will strive to minimise discrepancies in their cellular service.
According to Vimplecom's CEO, the combined Mobilink and Warid entity will be the leading telecommunications provider of 2G, 3G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in Pakistan, providing higher quality national voice and data coverage, faster downloads, and a wider portfolio of products and services.
Among other salient features of the deal, entertainment is a primary focus. The merger hopes to introduce high definition audio and video. In addition, it also focuses on easy audio and video sharing on mobile by enhancing the existing connection.
To ensure its application, Vimplecom has signed a contract of one billion dollars with Ericsson—a provider of equipment, software and services for technological transformation—to recondition hardware and technology.
Both companies are in the process of revamping their packages in combination to produce executive packages for customers. After the merger, the new entity claims to offer premium quality service.
Can't find a Mobilink Customer Service Center in your area? Now you will be able to try Warid's.
To strengthen customer service, the integrated range of products and services will be able to customers entitled to either telecom service.
4G and coverage
While Mobilink does not have a 4G service, Warid does provide a 4G service. However, Mobilink serves a wider coverage reach while Warid’s signal coverage is smaller in comparison.
Both Mobilink and Warid customers can benefit from an integrated 4G service operating under the new entity. In areas of absence of either network, they say a 3G or 4G service will be made available to customers.
With the merger, Mobilink customers will also be able to recharge their sims using a Warid card, and vice versa.
“Vimpelcom continues to make significant progress against its transformation program," said the company's Chief Executive Officer Jean-Yves Charlier. "This market consolidation represents a further step in our strategy to strengthen our position in the markets in which we operate."
Expanding to rural areas
Going up country, and experiencing low signal connectivity? You are not alone.
The joint operator plans to overcome little gaps in communication in Pakistan’s rural factions.
In an attempt to resolve limited signal coverage in outskirts and rural areas, Vimplecom and Mobilink plan to revolutionise communication and form a digitalised generation. The merger claims to provide customers with sound network coverage reach from urban to sub-urban and rural areas.
It also has designs on upgrading SMS delivery by making it quicker and faster; a popular facility amongst mobile phone users.
Revamping online banking
Customers often complain that Pakistan has poor online banking facilities, and the combined entity is paying attention.
It plans on offering easy-to-operate and user-friendly online banking services on mobile. This will be implemented through a mobile banking and mobile financial services feature.
“We aim to cater to the customer even if it means going out of the way,” said a telecom official who requested anonymity. “We want to ensure that customers have no interruptions even during the transition phase.”
Additional Reporting of the story was done by Jamal Shahid, IT and Telecom Reporter, Dawn newspaper, Islamabad.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Vimplecom as being based in Egypt. It is owned by Telecom Holding, which is based in Egypt.*
The author is a freelance journalist who writes about social issues. She tweets at @_shairani.