Insufficient BTS Infrastructure: The prevailing issue of lackluster cellular network performance in Pakistan can be attributed to an insufficient number of BTS (base transceiver stations) in relation to the growing user base of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). A notable industry expert emphasized that the capacity of GSM BTS varies according to technological advancements. While a single 2G BTS accommodates limited calls and data, 3G supports more users with improved data speeds, and 4G handles higher data rates for hundreds to thousands of users. The advent of 5G further elevates the capacity to serve numerous users concurrently.
However, true capacity hinges on factors like spectrum availability and network design, often necessitating multiple BTS installations for optimal coverage and capacity. Overloading a single BTS with an excessive number of users can lead to overload-induced performance deterioration, manifesting as dropped calls, sluggish data speeds, and compromised service quality.
Role of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA): To address this pressing concern, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the national telecom regulator, bears a pivotal role. PTA should adopt a robust stance by enforcing stringent actions against telecom operators (Jazz, Ufone, Zong, and Telenor) that fall short in delivering optimal network services. Imposing penalties on underperforming telcos can incentivize improved service quality.
Furthermore, the regulatory body should proactively encourage telecom operators to ramp up BTS installations, thereby bolstering the overall performance of cellular networks across the country. By fostering a collaborative approach between PTA and telcos, Pakistan can pave the way for a substantial enhancement in cellular network performance, ultimately benefiting its users.
PTA’s Central Role: At the epicenter of this concern lies the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the nation’s telecom overseer. PTA’s robust role becomes pivotal. It should assert authority by exacting stringent measures against telecom giants (Jazz, Ufone, Zong, and Telenor) found wanting in delivering top-tier network services.