Mobile World Live — Pakistan’s campaign to verify the SIM cards of all mobile subscribers has sharply reduced serious crimes in Karachi, the police commissioner of the capital said during Telenor’s IoT Expo. The biometric verification campaign, which started at the beginning of the year and was completed in April, has significantly reduced crime rates because criminals haven’t been able to communicate anonymously to ask for ransom or extortion money, ProPakistani reported.
Times of India — LONDON: Britain secretly obtained vast amounts of communications data from Pakistan to identify terrorists by hacking into routers in the country made by an American firm, according to US whistleblower Edward Snowden. The former intelligence contractor with the US National Security Agency (NSA) said that the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), British intelligence and security organisation responsible for providing signals intelligence, has been monitoring Pakistan’s communication data.
Times of India — KARACHI: The Pakistani government plans to shut down BlackBerry Ltd’s secure messaging services by December 1 for “security reasons”, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said. Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people, is plagued by militancy, criminal gangs and drug traffickers.
Pakistan Herald — “The International submarine cable SEA-ME-WE 4 has experienced a fault in the Arabian Sea, impacting internet services in the region including Pakistan,” PTCL said in a statement today. The fault impacted browsing speeds for users across most major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country, while causing problems for other countries in the region as well. “Restoration work has been initiated by the international consortium that manages the submarine cable systems,” said the PTCL statement.
Facebook, in collaboration with local partner Telenor, announced today that Internet.org is available for users in Pakistan. The initiative is part of a campaign to make the internet accessible and affordable to the two-thirds of the world that remain offline. Mobile users from Pakistan will now have free access to an array of services, including health, education, finance, news, and jobs. Some of the sites included in the initiative are ESPN Cricinfo, BBC,Accuweather, OLX, and UNICEF Facts for Life.
Naseeb Networks, the parent company of employment marketplacesRozee.pk and Minhati.com, announced today that it has raised US$6.5 million in a Series C funding round. The investment is led by Vostok Nafta and Piton Capital, bringing the company’s total venture funding to US$8.5 million. The company plans on using the fresh injection of capital to accelerate growth in its target markets of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
One of the pioneers of incubation and co-working spaces in Karachi is DotZero, a facility that aims to foster innovation and creativity by bringing diverse startups into a shared environment. Initially conceived by a team of four entrepreneurs, DotZero has the goal of creating and catalyzing an ecosystem for technology startups, and aims to be an all-encompassing “community space” for entrepreneurs, technology enthusiasts and other individuals interested in being part of the sector.
The blogging platform WordPress, used by millions of bloggers around the world, has been blocked in Pakistan, blogs from Pakistan report. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has asked ISPs (internet service providers) to block access to WordPress.com, says ProPakistani. This makes all blogs hosted on WordPress inaccessible. Self-hosted sites powered by WordPress, includingTech in Asia, are not affected by this.
OLX Pakistan, a subsidiary of the global online classifieds marketplace OLX, has confirmed rumors that it recently bought Asani, a local competitor trying to challenge its overwhelming dominance. In the last several days a notice on the Asani page had been informing users that they will soon be redirected to the OLX Pakistan site, but the company shied away from commenting publicly on the issue. Today, speaking to Tech in Asia, a public relations executive confirmed the acquisition and said, “We are entering into a joint venture with Asani to further build the classifieds market in Pakistan as a single business.
BENGALURU: A Pakistani cyber security firm with close ties to Islamabad has been found stealing information from Indian government and defence establishments, according to a two-year investigation by a US-based IT security firm. The Pakistani company targeted Indian establishments using leased US hosting services, the US security firm, FireEye, said, the findings revealing that India remains a vulnerable target for cyber attacks even after documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed widespread spying on the country by the US National Security Agency.
Punjab has traditionally been Pakistan’s most prosperous province. Known as the land of five rivers, the province is blessed with an abundance of fertile flatland, thereby giving it the overwhelming majority of Pakistan’s agricultural and industrial output. According to the latest Pakistan Economic Review, Punjab accounts for 62 percent of Pakistan’s agricultural yield and 46 percent of its industrial output, reflecting the huge impact that it has on the nation’s economy.
Plan X is arguably the largest startup accelerator in Pakistan. It was born out of Plan 9, which is the top startup incubator in the country. Plan X launched in September 2014. It has taken in a number of startups, most of which graduated from Plan 9 and have already gained momentum and attracted funding.
Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam, the Maldives and Nepal are partnering with the World Bank to map out their most-promising locations for solar, wind, biomass and other renewable energy resources. The US$22.5m, five year project installs measuring stations and uses geographical information systems (GIS) to plot the solar and wind potential of regions. Pakistan is the most developed in this process, having commissioned a measuring station that was installed in Punjab province at the end of October.
Pakistan now has close to 150 million mobile subscribers. A growing number of those are smartphone owners who are pushing forward adoption of web services like ecommerce and social media. Gertjan van Laar, an app developer who published a report this week on smartphone usage in Pakistan, tells Tech in Asia that smartphone adoption has reached between 7 and 10 percent of the population – in contrast to the general mobile penetration rate of 80 percent.
Nawaz Sharif, prime minister of Pakistan, recently issued 3G and 4G licenses to CMPak, China Mobile’s subsidiary in Pakistan, in Islamabad. Sharif said during the issuance meeting that Pakistan currently has over 132 million mobile users and they will soon be able to experience the most advanced mobile communications technologies.