Pakistan - Key Statistics, Telecom Market and Infrastructure, Regulatory Overview, and Forecasts
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 just over 3.2% coming into 2013. 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 125 million by mid-2012. (The figures included a contraction following the tighter control of registration of SIM cards.) While mobile penetration had reached 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 2013 broadband services made up around 70% 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.
Tighter restriction on number of SIMs permitted per person introduced by PTA;
with the delays in issuing 3G licences continuing, the PTA was targeting end-2103 for the auction, but early 2014 was more likely;
the Prime Minister had approved relevant policy directives in October 2013 to allow the spectrum auction to proceed;
Pakistan has launched its first communications satellite, Paksat-1R;
by 2013 broadband subscribers had increased to 70% of the total internet subscriber base;
a dispute with the regulator over origination charges had been resolved;
the government decided to ban further application of Mobile Number Portability (MNP), citing threats to national security, then lifted the ban a month later;
PTCL announced plans in 2013 to help fund a new submarine cable system linking the Far East to Europe;
A task force from the National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes (NR3C) had shut down more than 30 illegal VoIP providers in 2013.
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).