ISLAMABAD: Telenor Pakistan has been awarded Rs1.36 billion contract by the Universal Service Fund (USF) to provide mobile broadband 4G services in Chaghi and Nushki districts of Balochistan province, which would serve 0.16 million people in 170 unserved mauzas covering 47,872 sq km in the region.
Federal Information Technology and Telecommunication Minister Syed Amin Ul Haque and Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani witnessed the contract signing ceremony held at the USF Office on Wednesday.
The contract was signed by USF CEO Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary and Telenor Pakistan CEO Irfan Wahab Khan.
Congratulating the teams of USF and Telenor for achieving this significant milestone, Haque said this project was a stepping stone to create equality of service across the country.
“The Digital Pakistan vision is all about bringing Pakistan closer together, ensuring that all parts of the country benefit from securing the jobs and opportunities of the future.
People in Balochistan should not have to choose between their career and the way of life in their hometown.”
He said high-speed broadband would ensure that people in Chaghi and Nushki districts were able to take advantage of the opportunities that were presented by the digital economy, from health care to education, rural development and tourism.
Haque said that following this project, the total number of projects for 14 districts of Balochistan at a cost of Rs8.43 billion has increased to 11.
The completion of these projects would benefit more than 2.2 million people from 2,024 villages of Bolan, Jaffarabad, Mastung, Ziarat, Kichh, Panjgur, Gwadar, Pishin, Qila Abdullah and surrounding areas. The minister said that the work of providing uninterrupted mobile services to the commuters on the highways and motorways of Balochistan was in full swing.
Under this programme, provision of mobile services on 701km highway from NH25 to NH10 has been completed at a cost of Rs759 million. Meanwhile, projects worth Rs250 million on 650km highway from NH25 to NH65, and more than Rs410 million on 451km highway from NH50 to NH70 were under completion.
Chairman Senate hailed the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) partnership between USF and Telenor. He said that availability of 4G in Balochistan should bring tangible benefits for households, businesses, and the government, as it connected people to information and improved the quality of life.
He also highlighted the federal government’s resolve and commitment to promote and support the initiatives to enhance Pakistan’s technological capacity to develop and produce a globally competitive ICT industry.
Earlier, USF CEO Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary said, “Its implementation will be transformative for Balochistan, which will now be able to move forward with renewed confidence in achieving its full economic potential. We are, therefore, pleased and encouraged by this momentum and we are committed to taking it forward.”
Expressing his resolve to strengthen connectivity throughout the country, Telenor Pakistan CEO Irfan Wahab Khan said, “Connecting Pakistanis to what matters the most is the reason why we at Telenor do what we do. What once was an inaccessible luxury for the people of Chaghi and Nushki districts will now become the norm.”
Access to critical information, services, and opportunities is only the first step in empowering communities to participate in Pakistan's economic growth.
Senator Naseebullah Bazai, Federal Secretary Ministry of IT and Telecom and Chairman USF Board Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput, Member Telecom Muhammad Omar Malik, PTA Chairman Major General (retd) Amir Azeem Bajwa, and Super Net Limited VP for Government Sales Imran Akhtar Shah were also present at the ceremony.