Internet access has been available in Pakistan since the mid-1990s. PTCL started offering access via the nationwide local call network in 1995. Coming into 2012, despite the long incubation period, internet penetration in the country remained low, with less than 10% of the population estimated to be users. There were signs that this was changing, however. The country has been pursuing an aggressive IT policy, aimed at boosting Pakistan’s drive for economic modernisation and even looking to create an exportable software industry in much the same way as in India. There is no doubt that the government’s efforts have been helping increase the popularity of the internet. Of special significance has been the administration’s provisioning of e-government services. Nonetheless, despite the huge potential of the local market, much work still needs to be done. Broadband access in particular remains limited (with a broadband subscriber penetration of 1% by end 2011), but this sector of the market was finally starting to expand. Interestingly, a number of WiMAX networks have been successfully put into service, placing Pakistan ahead of other more developed markets in this regard. This report looks at the development of the internet, including broadband, in Pakistan and provides some information on the country’s e-commerce market.
Government efforts to control the internet continue to draw criticism; plans for a government operated firewall appear to have been abandoned; Pakistan’s e-government strategy has seen a series of projects completed and other commenced; wireless broadband services now constitute a majority of the total broadband subscriber base; Commenting on Pakistan’s deployment of WiMAX, the WiMAX Forum said: ‘This success of the technology is unparalleled anywhere else in the world.’
Companies covered in this report include:
Pakistan Telecommunication Co Ltd (PTCL); PakNet; Wateen Telecom (subsidiary of Warid Telecom); Mobilink; Trans World Associates (TWA); Micronet Broadband Ltd (MBL); NayaTel; LinkdotNet; Orascom; TeleCard; WorldCall; Mytel; Wi-Tribe; Qubee; Dancom Pakistan.