By KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – The world’s most populous country is expected to get its first 4G network after an official test on Friday, but only after it has completed all the necessary testing and has agreed to a $10 billion deal with a telecommunications conglomerate, a government source said on Saturday.
A government source told Reuters the test will be carried out by a consortium of three telecom companies and will be conducted by a third party.
A telecom company will also be involved in the rollout of the new network, the source said.
It is expected the consortium will be formed by a combination of telecom and government officials, the government source added.
The source did not give the name of the consortium.
The T-Mo network will cover the urban areas of Karachi, the country’s second largest city, as well as other cities including Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.
The project is aimed at making mobile communications more affordable and faster for the millions of Pakistanis, the official said.
T-Mobile has agreed an agreement with a group of three companies to build and operate the new T-mobile network in Karachi, a city of more than 13 million people.
It is expected that a total of 30 million customers will have access to the network.
“The project will be completed within five years.
The government has committed to a 10 billion dollar (30 billion dirham) deal with this consortium,” the official added.TMO said it has agreed a $1 billion (10 billion) deal to launch the new telecom network in a project dubbed “Lokpal”.
It will have a range of services from messaging to data to internet and will offer unlimited data to residents of the country, the company said.
The government said it would launch the network with a target of offering 5G speeds in 2019.
Pakistan’s government said on Thursday it would start trials of a new network in the southern port city of Karachi to enable more rural areas to use the service.
The country’s telecommunications industry was in turmoil after a series of corruption cases against top officials.
The telecom industry has been reeling from years of political unrest and a crackdown by the army and a new anti-corruption law introduced in March aimed at rooting out corruption and money laundering in the sector.