I recently shifted my phone connection to Telenor’s Post-paid Persona Package with Unlimited Data Connectivity. The reason for choosing Telenor was that it offers the widest EDGE connectivity when compared to other operators in Pakistan, supposedly in more than 2000 cities & towns of Pakistan, which is very useful for someone like me who travels a lot.
Secondly, being a heavy user of the prepay version, paying @Rs. 15 per MB was burning a hole in my pocket, the size of a small Earth.
Here’s a quick recap for those who don’t know about the features of the Persona’s Unlimited Connectivity Package.
- You Get 2GB of data bandwith (which is calculated as Upload + Download) for only Rs. 500 + tax per month.
- Additional data usage will be charged at Rs. 5 per MB w/0 tax = Rs. 6 with Tax.
- Refundable Security is Rs. 1,000.
I have been a very satisfied user of Pre-Paid internet and have always encountered fast speeds, thus I expected the same on the post-paid package, so after buying it, i put it to the test.
My Testing Equipment:
1. Nokia 5730 Phone Connected To My Core 2 Duo Laptop via Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0.
3. Areas Tested: Korangi, Clifton, PECHS.
On the Post-paid package the average speed i’ve encountered is 56 kbps (7 KB per second) to a maximum of 104 kbps (12 KB per second) during bursts.
Most of the time however the speed stays within the 6 KB – 8KB per second limit.
The Ping & Latency rate on the connection is very high and most times the packets time out. As you can see below, testing with the Sprint servers, the average speed (up and down) is 82 kbps/84 kbps (9.5 KB per second) with a latency of 462 ms. In the real world, this means that services such as streaming music (internet radio) don’t work at all on the connection, whilst watching YouTube videos through the connection will ensure that the video will constantly buffer.
Generally coverage is quite reasonable. The network offers above average reliability (it always connected fast) and as far as EDGE coverage in Karachi is concerned, it was very good.
Telenor is offering a GPRS level of service at most places. It’s good enough for email or basic surfing but don’t expect to open content rich pages or watch videos on your phone anytime soon.
Conclusion: At most places you will only be able to get a GPRS level of service (48 Kbps) and not the speeds promised by EDGE (384 kbps) and in that manner you are paying a very high price.
Due the comparatively slow and unstable speeds, it is recommended only if you only intend to use it for general/basic Internet activity.
On the whole it certainly makes for an effective remote working or land-line backup connection. which still makes it a useful, if not quite yet a true mass market land-line broadband alternative.
Update: 1st December, 2009
Since the publication of this post, Telenor seems to have updated its service levels. The average speed now regularly hits 18-20 KB per second.
Updated: 22nd December, 2009
It was too much to expect for the service levels to continue. The speeds didn’t last. Whatever it was, it was fun whilst it lasted. Speeds are back to the pre-updated levels hovering between 5-6 KB per second.