Is CharJi The Real 4G?

Wasio Abbasi
May 07, 2015

PTCL’s CharJi device is the latest product in Pakistan and the company claims it to be the fastest wireless internet in the country. It is also compared with 4G services offered by Zong and Warid based on speed and coverage.

But is PTCL’s CharJi really 4G technology? And how is PTCL able to use 4G technology without going through license process like other telecom companies? SmartChoice.pk feels that users of  PTCL internet packages in Pakistan should be aware of the difference and realize potential of each service.

PTCL CharJi

CharJi is not the real 4G, nor does PTCL claims it to be 4G service. A theoretical download speed of 36 Mbps is more like super fast 3G since 4G speed is even higher, approaching 42 Mbps (and above). To offer true 4G service, PTCL would need dedicated 10 MHz bandwidth from 1800 frequency spectrum. With the said device, there are two different PTCL internet packages with 25GB and 50GB of data volume respectively.

PTCL CharJi device utilizes CDMA network of PTCL to provide theoretical speed up to 36 Mbps. This is the same technology used by Sprint and Verizon in the U.S.A and PTCL offers vfone service, Evo 3.1/9.3 for internet and now CharJi for much higher internet speed. CDMA is the same network used for WLL (Wireless Local Loop) services and PTCL had acquired technology neutral license for 13 regions of Pakistan. This includes frequency bands 1800/2100 that are essential for data services.

PTCL doesn’t have enough spectrum band to offer true 4G services and the frequencies it uses are shared with its other services like Evo Wingle (3.1/9.3) and Vfone.

Technology Neutral License

PTCL and Warid had purchased frequency bands back in 2004 with technology neutral license for nationwide mobile telephony. Of the 1800 frequency spectrum, used for 4G/LTE services, Warid had acquired 8.8 MHz and PTCL 6 MHz. Using the same license Warid launched LTE service without participating in 3G/4G spectrum auction held in 2014. PTCL used the same approach for launch of CharJi service, by using existing spectrum and technology neutral license to offer higher speed service. Since Warid has low market share, the existing bandwidth doesn’t have much traffic compared to other operators while PTCL’s bandwidth competes with its vfone service (which also has low traffic).

Verdict

PTCL’s CharJi is not the real 4G. PTCL itself doesn’t commit a speed of 36 Mbps, rather it fluctuates between 4 – 8 Mbps depending upon traffic load, and the competition within its own services prevents consistent performance. Backward compatibility with 3.1/9.3 and largest network coverage allows internet availability even in some remote areas are positive aspects of the service. For people who have used CharJi device, many experience speed not much better than standard 3G services due to various factors.

If you are CharJi user, kindly share your experience of the service in comments.

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