I have written about Business Monitor International’s coverage of Pakistan Telecom before here. In the past BMI has made interesting projections about growth of Pakistan’s telecom industry. This time they have extended their forecast to 3G services in Pakistan. A subscription is required to view the detailed reports but here’s a summary as reported by Business Recorder. I think their forecast of 6% handsets by 2010 is a bit high.

According to BMI’s 3G forecasts for Pakistan, a difficult exercise given that no licences have yet been awarded to other operators. The PTA is eager to kick-start the process in 2007, which would mean that there are unlikely to be any active paying 3G subscribers until well into 2008.

With GSM the main mobile technology in use in Pakistan, as accessed by Mobilink, Ufone, Warid Telecom, Telenor, and local group Paktel (since its emigration from AMPS in 2004), the preferred 3G technology would be UMTS.

It is likely that the PTA will stage an auction in mid of 2007. It is even possible that licences could be awarded later still. It is improbable, therefore, that any commercial 3G launch would happen before H1 2008.

The introduction of EDGE services (such as the one by Telenor) and popularity of WLL may hinder the development of 3G, but BMI forecasts that by the end of 2010, about 6 percent of all mobile subscribers in Pakistan will have a 3G handset. This, however, remains very much in the hands of the PTA, the operators themselves and, of course, Pakistan’s consumers.