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Choosing an Internet Service Provider…

Pakistan has been experiencing tremendous growth in the telecommunication and internet sectors over the last many years now. This growth has brought many mobile phone and Internet Service Providers (ISPs), each with their own strengths and weaknesses. These days, if you want to get a new internet connection at your home, it takes quite a bit of research to figure out what company and what package would best satisfy your needs.

Internet Providers in Pakistan

Internet Providers in Pakistan

The various factors to consider include:

  • Availability in your area
  • Cable vs. DSL
  • Bandwidth Packages and Limits
  • Wi-Max, Wireless Broadband or Wired
  • Service Quality and Customer Support

We did the research into various company’s offereing internet services in major cities of Pakistan, to provide you with a quick overview of all the options available to you. The information we gathered for each of the various services includes the package prices, setup costs, availability, quality of service and customer support.

Most cities have smaller local internet providers as well, which usually cater to small neighborhood blocks, however those services have not been considered in this study.


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The table below shows a quick comaprison of all the major ISPs in Pakistan.

Wired Broadband

WorldCall Nexlinx PTCL BrainNET LinkDotNet
Packages 128K-Rs.750
256K-Rs.1100
512K-Rs.1400
768K-Rs.1900
1M-Rs.2600
2M-Rs.5100
256K-Rs.1200
512K-Rs.1500
1M-Rs.2900
1M-Rs.1199
2M-Rs.1999
4M-Rs.4999
512K-Rs.999
1M-Rs.1111
2M-Rs.2222
1M-Rs.1200
2M-Rs.2000
4M-Rs.3900
Download Limit Not Specified Unlimited Unlimited Not Specified Not Specified
Download Limit Not Specified Unlimited Unlimited Not Specified Not Specified
Setup Price Non-Refundable Rs.1500 Rs.3000 FREE! Not Specified Not Specified
Discounts Quarterly, 6-monthly and Annual Payment Discounts Free setup with 6-month advance payment 30% Discount for Students of Registered Institutions None 30% Discount for Students of Registered Institutions
Cable/DSL Cable DSL DSL DSL & Cable DSL
Availability Lahore & Karachi Faisalabad, Lahore, Gujranwala, & Islamabad All Major Cities Lahore, Karachi, Sialkot, Burewala, Kharian, Mandi Bahuddin All Major Cities

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Wireless Broadband

WorldCall PTCL Wateen Wi-Tribe
Download Limit Not Specified Unlimited Not Specified 8-10GB
Setup Price Non-Refundable Rs.1500 FREE! Not Specified Rs.999 Setup plus a Refundable Deposit of 1 month’s Tariff
Discounts Quarterly, 6-month and Annual Payment Discounts 30% Discount for Students of Registered Institutions N/A Free 7 Day Trial. 6-month and Annual Payment Discounts
Wireless 256K-Rs. 1200
512K-Rs.1800
1M-Rs.2500
Activation: Rs.2999/
3.1Mbps Max
Rs.2000 Monthly
Rs.6000 One-time USB Device
256K-Rs.499
512K-Rs.599
768K-Rs.699
1M-Rs.799
*5GB Limit
512K-Rs.1200
1M-Rs.1700
Availability Lahore & Karachi All Major Cities All Major Cities Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore & Karachi

Cable vs. DSL

The choice between DSL and Cable is not a simple one. If you already have Cable TV in your home from one of the providers, then it might be a good idea to get the Cable DSL from the same company. The setup process in this case will be simpler, and you may qualify for package discounts. The same holds true for DSL providers as well.

The one benefit of DSL over Cable is that DSL relies on having a land-line phone connection. If you have a landline, then you don’t require any extra wiring. However, if you do not have a landline, then getting Cable DSL is the obvious choice, as the time taken to get a landline installed is usually quite long.

Another thing to consider when going with DSL is the distance between your house and the phone exchange. DSL signals are much stronger the closer you are located to the exchange. You might want to ask the person who comes to install DSL at your place regarding this particular issue. Once you ask a company to install DSL at your place, that does not mean that you agree to purchase the service. You only agree to signup with the service after the installer has setup DSL to your liking.

Customer Support

Most major companies in Pakistan have improved their customer support tremendously over the last few years. PTCL now has automated complain registration and has improved a LOT since its days of full government ownership. Worldcall is also good with its customer support, although in my personal experience, I have noticed that they tend to give the customer the ‘run-around’. I haven’t had a problem with my WorldCall service in a few months, but earlier, whenever I got my package temporarily disconnected for non-use for 2 or more months, the reactivation always took 2-3 days AFTER I had made the required payment at their office. On calling customer support, I was always told that it will be done in a few hours, but it usually ended taking upto 2-3 days.

Availability

PTCL is the best choice for people outside the 3 major cities – Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. They have the largest network and cover the most cities. In certain areas of bigger cities, e.g. Defence Phase-VI and above in Lahore, they do not have PTCL landlines yet. Instead PTCL has launched V-PTCL there which is a wireless phone service. In these places, the only choice you have for broadband internet is to go with a wireless provider or cable internet. You can call the DSL companies, or check their websites to find out if they provide service in your area.

Load-shedding Factor!

If you use a laptop and do not have a UPS at home, then choosing the wireless internet options might be a good idea. That means that you will have uninterrupted internet access during load-shedding.

If however, you are amongst the lucky ones to have a UPS or generator, you can go with DSL or Cable. However, before choosing a provider, verify that their service will remain active even during hours of load-shedding. For the last few months, my World Call modem would stop receiving a signal during load-shedding. Customer Service told me that the sheer hours of load-shedding was causing the backup power sources to get exhausted. Lately, however, I have seen that the service remains active even during load-shedding.

Most DSL providers have backup power available to ensure that the service is up and running during load-shedding, however you should ensure with the specific company before signing up for their service. From personal experience, I know that the PTCL service keeps running during times of load-shedding.

Payment Options

A lot of the companies have a local set-up for collecting the monthly dues from your home. That makes things very convenient as you don’t have to go to their offices every month. PTCL sends its dues as a part of the monthly phone-bill, so it does not require any extra visits to pay the bill. WorldCall has agents who visit your house at the end of each month to collect dues. Some companies however require you to go to their franchise outlets or specified collection points which can become a hassle, specially if you are paying every month.

  1. salman.zafar
    June 8th, 2009 at 09:39 | #1

    Great article!
    If you live in Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Micronet Broadband is the best option for you. Great service and very quick customer support. For home users, they have a very special package with 1Mbps line in Rs.1199
    The other package is with 512kbps line but the good thing in this package is the static IP. The overall package is divided like:

    a. Monthly Advanced Charges Rs. 1,199/-
    b. Installation & Line Conditioning Charges Rs. 750/-
    c. Choice of hardware
    (either of the following as per requirements)

    * DSL Modem (1 USB Port) Rs. 2,150/-
    * DSL Combo Router (1 Ethernet Port, 1 USB Port) Rs. 2,950/-
    * DSL Router (4 Ethernet Ports) Rs. 4,750/-
    * DSL Wireless Router (4 Ethernet Ports) Rs. 6,300/-
    * Reach Router Rs. 6,900/-

    If you are facing any issue in the service, just sms at: 0302-8555941 and they will call and assist you.

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