Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to set up WiMAX testing laboratory in Pakistan

The Daily Times-Pakistan
By Muhammad Yasir

KARACHI: Pakistan Tele-communication Authority (PTA) has decided to set up Wimax and its physical equipments testing and certification laboratories in order to ensure rapid proliferation of broadband services with maximum guarantee of quality, official sources said.

The authority has invited private IT and telecom firms to establish quality-testing labs that can test and certify performance and fitness of different foreign and locally made telecom and IT equipments in the network of Wimax broadband operators.

The aim of these labs is to increase the proliferation rate of broadband services in the country through facilitation to Wireless Local Loops (WLL) operators that intended to switch their telephony services to Internet broadband services in the designated geographical and operational regions.

The authority through these IT and telecom firms will assist interested wireless telephone operators to provide broadband services with proper interoperability standards as prescribed by Wimax Broadband Forum.

PTA allows WLL operators to switch their services from telephony to broadband while functioning on the spectrum awarded in the license or carrying out both telephony and broadband services as per terms and conditions of license. Besides, the WLL companies are also allowed to auction their license to interested party seeking to deploy broadband services in Pakistan. Pakistan has seven wireless telephone operators providing telephony services with different standards having subscribers base of 2.78 million.

These operators can alter their service provision from telephony to broadband through legal procedures provided that they get approval with proper certification of services and models of Consumer Premises Equipment (CPE), which must have conformity with broadband working group. PTA has asked all interested parties already performing testing and issuing certifications in advanced capacities to approach its Directorate Numbering and Type Approval by June 30, 2011 for further assistance and guidance of authority to set up labs in Pakistan.

The IT and telecom firms must be conducting various certifications including Radio Conformance Testing (RCT) Protocol Conformance Testing (PCT), Network Conformance Testing (NCT) Mobile Interoperability Testing (MIOT), Interoperability Testing (IOT), Infrastructure Interoperability Testing (IIOT), Radiated Performance Testing (RPT). This is one of the steps of authority in collaboration with broadband and WLL operators to enhance the subscribers’ base throughout the country, which is encouraging for speedy and standard Internet access to a large number of citizens.

Pakistan has nearly 0.35 million users of Wimax Internet services at present, which has a significant share in overall broadband users’ base. PTA has recently developed an application named “Pakistan Telecommunication Coverage Footprint” on its web-portal that gives the flexibility to view areas of coverage and service availability of GSM, DSL and EVDO service providers. It also conducts quality of service survey and ranks different operators in accordance with their service performance and coverage.