The National Party (NP) led a protest on April 2 against the poor quality of cellular services provided by certain telecom companies in Dalbandin, Balochistan. Participants of the rally set fire to sims and advertisements of Ufone, Telenor and Zong at Shaheed Hameed Baloch Chowk after marching on different roads.
BSO Pajjar, Baba e Chaghi Panel, members of the business community and residents of the area also partook in the protest alongside NP.
Addressing the participants, NP’s district labor secretary Sardar Rafique Sher Sanjrani, district organizer Mir Atif Baloch and Baba e Chaghi Panel leader Abdul Ghaffar Bangulzai said that customers in Chagai district are tired of the poor quality of services provided by Ufone and Telenor. They further said the area still doesn’t have access to Zong’s 4G services, except Afghan refugee camp Girdi Jangal.
“It has become extremely difficult to even dial a call or send SMS since Ufone disconnected its media from Wateen Fiber network in Dalbandin,” they said.
According to the speakers at the protest, Telenor’s 4G services were working far below the speed of 2G services in Dalbandin, Nokkundi, Taftan, Chagai and surrounding areas. They said that major towns in Chagai district were still using Zong’s 2G services, which they termed an injustice to the population. They also alleged that despite earning millions of rupees, telecom companies remain unable to provide adequate services.
The speakers further said that students, traders, social media activists, journalists and employees working in public and private institutions are suffering from the lack of decent cellular and internet services in Chagai district. They demanded that relevant authorities take notice of the situation and work to provide better services in the area by upgrading their systems.
The speakers also noted that Dalbandin serves as the headquarters of Chagai district and has a significant population, but still suffers from poor connectivity.
In response to a tweet by Zong, residents of Chagai replied with grievances about the lack of 4G services in the area.
Zong replied that expansion is already in process and 3G/4G services will soon be available in other areas of the country.
Chagai is not the only area in Pakistan suffering from poor connectivity and lacking 3G/4G services. A similar situation can be seen in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, as well as Waziristan, where students in particular have faced the brunt of the lack of resources during the coronavirus pandemic as they struggle to attend online classes and exams.