The mobile telephone market in Pakistan has been experiencing a period of healthy and sustained development. Mobile services were first offered in 1990 and, despite high costs, grew steadily at first; into the second decade and the market surged, with annual growth running at around 100% for a number of years. Subscriber numbers increased from around three million in 2003 to reach the milestone of 100 million mobile subscribers in the second-half of 2010. Penetration has moved past the 60% mark with still more room for expansion. Operators have been struggling with falling ARPU and this may well weigh down on the market into the future. While progress has been made in the regulatory area, some rigidity in policies had been slowing growth. The regulator has a major challenge with the timing of the auctions for 3G licences. This report looks at the Pakistani mobile market, as well as a brief look at digital media.
After many delays, 3G licence auction was rescheduled for late 2012; mobile banking offering opportunities for entrepreneurs; the government has decided to ban MNP, although implementation process is not clear; survey shows Pakistani generally happy with mobile service.