Residents in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) can now enjoy 3G and 4G internet service provided by Special Communication Organization (SCO).
An SCO spokesperson confirmed the news, saying the internet service will continue on a trial basis and can be accessed free of cost until further notice.
He said the SCO mobile phone SIMs for this purpose are available at the organisation’s franchises in the area. The subscribers have been asked not to pay more than Rs200 after acquiring a receipt for purchasing the Sim.
SCO is a public sector telecommunications service provider, established by the government in 1976. It is responsible for developing, operating and maintaining telecom services in G-B as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
In October 2017, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority announced plans of introducing fast-paced information technology services – 3G/4G – in AJK and G-B, which it said would materialise by February this year.
Last year, the number of subscribers of 3G/4G in Pakistan rose to 44.4 million, which PTA expects will rise further.
The arrival of 3G and 4G service in such remote areas promises to boost commerce, bring socio-economic prosperity for the entire region and also benefit people living along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor routes in AJK and G-B.
As people of AJK and G-B are heavily dependent on remittances, the 3G/4G service will provide them easy access to the financial services.
The technology will also boost tourism, local economy as well as create job opportunities for local people. The hospitality industry and tourism value chain will also improve as it will make online marketing more efficient and effective.
As transportation in the area is also difficult, better connectivity through modern communication technology is important for its people.