Summer Retreat in Northern Pakistan and the missing Cellphone Coverage

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Summers are in full swing these days. One can’t withstand the scorching heat and all the related mess that comes as a package deal. With the summer vacations almost on the table, many of us will take refuge in the cool environs of northern Pakistan. Naturally we have to stay connected with the rest of the world while lazying in the valleys up north. In this tech age, professionals can not afford to totally severe the ties with ones business/work for weeks on end.

Here comes the trouble. People find it extremely difficult to stay connected while vacationing in these valleys. Mobile companies don’t offer any proper coverage in these areas. They also don’t have any special packages where they can facilitate thousands of their customers roaming in these areas during summers. Let’s assume for a moment that Swat, Chitral and Gilgit are very far flung areas where coverage is not possible. Having said that, is Murree or Gullies located in planet anet Zuag? I have always faced problems of coverage in these areas.

Coverage is good in Murree and surrounding areas but as you venture out and travel to Patriata or Gullies, the signals take a nose dive. It’s interesting to note that Murree and the gullies remain hotbed of the tourists both in the summers as well as during winter season, especially during snowfall. I wonder why no company is taking any concrete steps in this regard.

Swat valley receives the second highest inflow of tourists after Murree. The destruction of Kaghan Valley in the October 8 Earthquake has doubled the tourist traffic in this region. Installation of Mobile towers is surely a mess in this area due to its mountainous terrain. Still major tourist spots like Kalam or MalamJabba should have adequate coverage facilities. When I last visited these areas in April 2006, the coverage of almost all telecom companies was really discouraging. I hope that the conditions are better now. The lesser said about the coverage (or mis-coverage) in Northern Areas the better.

So guys if you are planning a vacation in these heavenly valleys of Pakistan, do check out for the coverage with your operator first. If you want to enjoy yourselves with a complete retreat (away from everything!) then who cares about coverage, right? Otherwise, if you really want to stay connected with the outside world, take a satellite phone. Have a nice summer retreat. Cheers

Facebook comments:


  • recently a mobile operator was boasting that its covering whole of Azad Kashmir… i think it was Telenor if i am not mistaken…

  • That’s a good news Doc. I don’t have any accurate info of AJK scene by the way. Do inform us if u have anything interesting to share in this regard. Thanks…

  • Well which services have you tried. Telenor covers most of the areas i suppose

  • skhan, I guess this time round you will find better coverage. after the earth quake a lot of operators started expanding in those areas. the terrain is very difficult so it was slow. but i guess this time the services of all major operators should be there. the congestion is another issue

  • Thanks for your comments both Qazi and Faisal. Well that’s a good news if these operators are expanding their network in these areas.

  • Well I recently came back from these areas and was astonished to see coverage of telenor in these areas (although i myself use warid) swat is almost fully covered by telenor, way upto drosh (near chitral) is almost coevered by telenor but strangley chitral ciity itself is only covered by Mobilink. Good thing was that i was able to use internet on my cellphone. Kalash valley is still out but locals told me that telenor are starting their service in july this year.

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