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Pakistan - Key Statistics, Telecom Market and Infrastructure, Regulatory Overview, and Forecasts


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Pakistan’s telecom market had been struggling for a long time with the transition from a regulated state-owned monopoly to a deregulated competitive structure. The government set out plans to increase fixed-line teledensity from 2.5% at the end of 2002 to 7% (around 10 million fixed lines) by 2010. This target became impossible to achieve in time and by 2012 the fixed subscriber base was actually declining. After peaking at 4% in 2008, fixed penetration had fallen to 3.5% coming into 2012. In the meantime, though, the focus had changed; the whole telecom landscape in Pakistan had shifted with the phenomenal expansion of the country’s mobile market. Over the same planning period – 2002 to 2010 – the number of mobile subscribers jumped from less than two million to 100 million. Despite a tightening of the national economy during 2009 the mobile market continued to expand at an annual rate of between 5% and 10%. And it had increased to 120 million by early 2012. While mobile penetration had passed 70%, internet penetration remained low. While broadband growth had almost been negligible for some years, 2008/09 saw a promising upsurge in broadband subscriptions; this pattern in broadband growth looked to be continuing, boosted by the spread of competition throughout the market and the increased adoption of wireless broadband solutions. By the start of 2012 broadband services made up around 40% of all internet subscriptions. This report offers a set of statistics on the Pakistan telecoms market, as well as information on the overall regulatory regime and regulatory developments.

Key developments:

Tighter restriction on number of SIMs per person introduced by PTA; with the delays in issuing 3G licences continuing, the PTA was targeting end-2102 for the auction; Pakistan has launched its first communications satellite, Paksat-1R; broadband subscribers had increased to 40% of the total internet subscriber base; dispute with regulator over origination charges resolved; the government has decided to ban MNP, citing threats to national security.

Companies covered in this report include:

Pakistan Telecommunication Co Ltd (PTCL); Mobilink (PMCL); Ufone (PTML, PTCL’s subsidiary); Telenor Pakistan; Warid Telecom; Zong (formerly CMPak); WorldCall; TeleCard; Dancom Pakistan; FLAG Telecom Group; Special Communication Organization (SCO); National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC).


1. Synopsis
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
3.1 Background
3.2 Economy
4. Telecommunications market
4.1 Overview
4.2 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
5. Regulatory environment
5.1 Overview
5.2 Background to development
5.3 Regulatory authorities
5.3.1 Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT)
5.3.2 Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)
5.3.3 PTA’s administrative actions
5.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
5.5 Regulatory developments
5.5.1 Restriction on number of SIMs
5.5.2 Operators accused of tax evasion
5.5.3 PTCL accused of anti-competitive practices
5.5.4 Dispute over origination charges resolved
5.5.5 Management of subscriber base
5.5.6 Special regions of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K)
5.5.7 Third Generation (3G) licensing
5.5.8 National numbering scheme
5.5.9 Number portability (NP)
5.5.10 Infrastructure sharing
5.5.11 Security
5.5.12 Censorship
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.1.1 Overview
6.1.2 Fixed line statistics
6.1.3 Forecast – fixed line market – 2015; 2020
6.1.4 Opening up of market
6.1.5 Rural services
6.1.6 Universal Service Fund (USF)
6.1.7 Mobile services
6.1.8 Fibre optic networks
6.1.9 Broadband networks
6.1.10 Payphones and Public Call Offices (PCOs)
6.1.11 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
6.1.12 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 International gateways
6.2.2 Pakistan-India link
6.2.3 Submarine cable networks
6.2.4 Satellite networks and systems
6.3 Infrastructure developments
6.3.1 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
7. Notes on forecasting
8. Related reports
Table 1 – Country statistics – 2013
Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2010
Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2012
Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2012
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – March 2013
Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 – Pakistan’s real GDP growth rate – 2005 - 2014
Table 7 – Pakistan’s total telecom revenue – 2004 - 2012
Table 8 – Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in telecom sector – 2002 - 2011
Table 9 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1991 - 2013
Table 10 – Fixed wireline subscribers – 2004 - 2013
Table 11 – Fixed wireline v. fixed wireless (WLL) subscribers – 2004 - 2013
Table 12 – Fixed wireline subscribers by operator and market share – June 2012
Table 13 – Forecast fixed line subscribers – 2015; 2020
Table 14 – Growth in Public Call Offices (PCOs) – 1999 - 2009
Table 15 – WLL subscribers – 2005 - 2013
Table 16 – WLL subscribers by operator and market share – September 2012
Chart 1 - GDP growth rate - 2005-2014
Chart 2 - FDI in telecom sector - 2002-2011
Chart 3 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005-2013(e)
Chart 4 - Fixed wireline vs. fixed wireless subscribers - 2004-2013
Chart 5 - Growth in Public Call Offices - 1999-2009
Chart 6 - WLL subscribers by operator and market share – September 2012
Exhibit 1 – Long Distance International (LDI) licensees – 2011
Exhibit 2 – Local Loop (LL) licensees – 2011
Exhibit 3 – Wireless Local Loop (WLL) licensees and status- 2011

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