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Tech Week in Pakistan (Issue 15: 25th May)
This weekly newsletter focuses on the most important new developments within Pakistan’s Technology Sector. To receive this newsletter on a weekly basis subscribe to our mailing list (no spam ever) or follow me on Twitter @adamdawood. Previous instalments of the newsletter can be found here.
Peshawar Plays Host to the Digital Youth Summit
Peshawar a city long feared for being unsafe has just held the Digital Youth Summit, a 2 day conference meant to showcase Pakistani startups. The conference featured a who’s who of Pakistani entrepreneurs and international guests such as Hussein Kanji of Hoxton Ventures & Gwendolyn Regina of TechinAsia joined via Skype. Organised by the KPITB (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board) in collaboration with Peshawar 2.0 and the World Bank, the event has widely been considered a success. Alongside the launch of co-working space Basecamp Peshawer and events such as Startup Weekends and Civic Hackathons, Peshawer is building itself into a strong technology hub in Pakistan.
3G Officially Launched
The Prime Minister launched 3G services on Thursday and UFone was the first to announce its packages. UFone is offering its customers access to upto 3Mbps of speed which will cost PKR 1,500 for 3 Gb of data. Telenor, Zong and Mobilink are expected to announce their packages next week. Warid has also begun testing of 4G services and plans to invest $400m to bring its services to the market. Speeds as high as 35Mbps on their network have already been recorded.
The auction though was also challenged, in the Islamabad High Court, with the petitioner saying the auction was sold off “at throw-away price”. Seems hard to believe given other countries have auctioned of licenses for much less, the licenses were also sold only $17.8m above the base price and one 4G license still remains unsold.
Twitter Censoring Tweets in Pakistan
Twitter has blocked 5 tweets in Pakistan after requests made by the PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority). With cyber security laws, though drafted, have still to be passed into law, Twitter decision to block the content is a quite alarming.
Startup Showcase: Tohfay.com
One of Pakistan’s earliest ecommerce portals in the country, Tohfay.com is one that is believed to put customer service first. The portal has arranged for funeral prayers, recorded an event for a father and even handled the entire adoption process on behalf of an expat couple. Launched in 2003 in the US as a portal to fulfill the wishes of expats to send gifts or conduct services for their friends and family members in Pakistan, the portal is now advertising quite heavily in offline channels. With a few billboards across Karachi and maybe other cities, the firm is seeing 60 orders a day, which is boosted to around 230 orders per day on events such as Mothers Day.
Pakistan becomes first country to deploy China’s BeiDou GPS network | Tribune
Accord signed for biometric verification of mobile phone users | Dawn
1 Million Freelancers in Pakistan & other stats from the freelancing community | Saad Hamid
World’s Largest Tech Incubator will be opening up in Pakistan | Triple Pundit
Rawalpindi’s high-tech flood warning system | Prevention Web
How the Women’s Digital Lead is empowering women in the workplace | Dawn
Pakistani entrepreneur taking is map based app from the UK to the US | NYTimes
Pakistan is the hub of Kaymu’s Asia operations | Business Recorder
Startup Dosti provides cross border mentorship and funding to Indian and Pakistani entrepreneurs | Economic Times
Official Wikimedia Affiliate Group Gets Recognised in Pakistan | ProPakistani
Time to innovate the banking sector | ProPakistani
Program details for The Foundation at LUMS | TechJuice
Using Technology to help citizens — an Op-Ed by Dr. Umar Saif | Tribune
Shophive an online retail store has started offering leasing facilities to its customers | TechJuice
Teradata hold National IT Excellence Awards | ProPakistani