Telecom Giants Race to Offer Competitive Roaming Packages as Hajj Season Commences

hajj call packages

As Pakistanis are set to travel to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, leading telecom companies are eager to leverage this opportunity by rolling out competitive International Roaming (IR) packages. 

Jazz, the country’s largest network provider, has introduced an offering of 5GB of internet data for Rs2,000. On the other hand, Telenor has launched the ‘Hajj Saudia Bundle,’ available at Rs799 for prepaid users. This package includes 1GB of internet data, 30 minutes of voice calls (both incoming and outgoing), and 30 SMS, valid for 30 days. 

Zong 4G is providing an international roaming package at Rs1,200 for 1GB data, and other options at Rs3,300 for 3GB data, and Rs5,400 plus tax for 5GB. The company also assures customers that the IR services will enable access to WhatsApp audio and video calls, which are typically unavailable through local operators in Saudi Arabia. 

Meanwhile, Ufone’s IR package guarantees unlimited WhatsApp call access, facilitating uninterrupted communication with loved ones back home. Their 7GB package, priced at Rs4,000, comes with unlimited WhatsApp calls and messages, valid for 40 days from Saudi Arabia. 

Read More: Understanding the Hajj: A Journey of Faith and Unity  – About Pakistan

These roaming packages are being aggressively promoted by telecom companies due to the surge in the number of pilgrims compared to the previous three years. As per reports, the Hajj pilgrimage in 2022 saw only 80,000 participants, and there were no international pilgrims in 2020 and 2021 owing to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Senior officials from telecom companies believe that the domestic call and data rates are not highly attractive, providing telecom operators with excess capacity to explore new ventures. An executive also noted that the international roaming packages offer specific advantages over local SIM cards, especially for pilgrims who may struggle to access foreign currency or lack familiarity with foreign travel and procuring local SIMs. 

In a separate development, the government has partnered with a Saudi Arabian bank to simplify payments for sacrificial animals for Pakistani pilgrims. The pilgrims will need to pay 720 Saudi Riyals to receive a token for sacrificial animals, which will be available from mobile vans stationed near their residences. 

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