Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Smartphone Sales and Mobile Broadband Subscriptions Soar in Pakistan

Over 1.5 million smartphones and an equal number of 3G subscriptions are being purchased every month in Pakistan, according to data released recently. The number of broadband subscriptions has more than quadrupled from under 4 million in 2013-14 to nearly 17 million in 2014-15 as a result of 3G and 4G rollout in the country last year, according to data released by Pakistan Telecommunications Authority.

Broadband Subscription Data. Source: PTA

3G/4G Expansion:

3G/4G subscriptions in Pakistan soared to 13.49 million, up from 9.83 million in May, according to data from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). Telenor led the 3G/4G market with over 4.16 million subscribers, followed by Mobilink (3.65 million 3G subscribers), CMPak (3 million 3G/4G subscribers, and Ufone (2.57 million 3G subscribers). Warid had 106,211 LTE network subscribers at end of June. These carriers have laid thousands of kilometers of fiber to support 3G services. Mobilink alone has fiber optic network that currently spans over 8,000 kilometers.

Soaring Smartphone Sales:

Monthly smartphone sales in Pakistan are averaging 1.5 to 2 million, according to a publication named Mobile Payments Today.  Over 70% of these new smartphones are based on Google's Android operating system.  Rapid growth in smartphones in the country has attracted Chinese company Haier to set up a factory in Lahore to take advantage of the opportunity.

Mobile Broadband Apps:

Several operators are now offering 3G 4G mobile broadband connectivity in over 200 cities and towns across Pakistan. The ubiquity of access is laying the foundation for Pakistan 2.0 with a wide range of apps to improve the lives of Pakistanis. Such apps are starting to appear for education, health care, social networking, ride-sharing, banking, e-commerce, government services, etc.

It is also bringing in mobile payments companies to allow consumers to pay using direct carrier billing. Centili, a mobile payments processor, has announced its plans to work with Mobilink, Telenor, Zong, Ufone, and Warid, which have a combined 136 million subscribers in Pakistan.


Expansion of mobile broadband and increasing sales of smartphones are beginning to help stimulate Pakistan's economy, as are the increasing cement sales from both private and public sector.

Construction work on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is stimulating economic activity in Pakistan as indicated by rising domestic cement demand in the country.  It was up 8% year over year in 2014-15.  Cement sales are considered a barometer of development activity.  A recent assessment by Ruchir Sharma, head of Morgan Stanley's emerging markets, has said Pakistan's economy is growing more than twice as fast as emerging markets other than India and China.  In a piece titled "Bucking stagnation elsewhere, the quiet rise of South Asia",  Sharma particularly mentions the Chinese CPEC investment of $46 billion as a positive for Pakistan. "Pakistan’s manufacturing sector is now growing, due to both increasing electric output and the fact that – like Bangladesh – its young population and labour force is expected to continue expanding for at least the next five years", says Sharma.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

3G 4G Rollout in Pakistan

E-Commerce Growth in Pakistan

Haier Expands to Start Smartphone Production in Pakistan

Pakistan 2.0: Technology Driving Productivity

Public Sector Apps in Pakistan

Online Education in Pakistan

Growing Fiber Connectivity in Pakistan


Riaz Haq said...

July 2015 IDC report on smartphones in Pakistan:

Shipments of smartphones in Pakistan increased by a massive 124% year on year during the first quarter of 2015, with shipments up 21% when compared with the previous three-month period. That's according to the latest findings from global technology research and consulting firm International Data Corporation (IDC), which attributes the shifting dynamics of the Pakistan mobile market to the deployment of 3G/4G networks across the country and the subsequent rise in demand for devices that are compatible with the new infrastructure.

Pakistan has traditionally been a feature phone market; indeed, just three years ago (2012), 93% of all mobile phone shipments in the country were feature phones since there was no network to support smartphones. Even those consumers that did own smartphones had to be content with only using traditional voice and SMS services. In the last year, however, the market has experienced a drastic shift to the smartphone form factor. According to IDC's Global Mobile Phone Tracker published in Q1 2015, smartphones now account for about 30% of all the devices shipped to Pakistan, up from 25.3% in the previous quarter and from 14.7% in the corresponding period last year. This shift is set to continue, as IDC expects the proportion of smartphones to overtake feature phones by the end of 2017.

The Shift to Smartphones in Pakistan

The rapid shift to smartphones began in 2014 following the deployment of 3G/4G networks in the country. Inevitably, there is now a scrum of vendors trying to get a share of the pie, and as telecom operators deploy infrastructure to the whole country, the level of competition is only expected to increase. Data from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) shows that only about 10% of all subscribers in the country are using 3G/4G networks, so the shift to smartphones will gather even more pace as the numbers of 3G/4G subscribers increase.

Another important factor to consider is that mobile phone penetration currently stands at around 75% in Pakistan, meaning there is a sizeable share of the population that has yet to acquire any type of mobile device. Uptake among these first-time buyers is sure to spur the smartphone market's development even further. Meanwhile, dual device ownership is expected to rise, with consumers increasingly acquiring a smartphone in addition to their existing feature phones, not only so they can capitalize on the added benefits of smartphone ownership, but also so they can leverage the on-net savings that telcos may provide for both voice and data usage.

Vendor-Specific Trends

As the above shift is taking place, the market is witnessing an increase in the number of vendors offering different SKUs of devices. QMobile continues to dominate the market with an overall unit share of 58%, leading in both the feature phone and smartphone segments. Nokia and Voice are the other key players, with shares of 17% and 5%, respectively. The market is also witnessing an influx of new vendors.

Despite QMobile's strong lead, IDC expects competition to intensify as other players like Voice, Samsung, Huawei, and Lenovo make inroads into the market. "We expect to see fluctuations in the market's vendor shares as large global players start to establish a stronger foothold in the market and new players try to gain a slice of the action," says Nabila Popal, IDC's research manager for handsets and display solutions in the Middle East and Africa. "Samsung, for example, initially had a hard time in the Pakistan market, but recent changes to its product mix and target price bands have helped it to finally gain traction in the market, recording a 6% share of smartphone shipments in Q1 2015."

Anonymous said...

may be, one day in the next century there will be similar articles about Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "may be, one day in the next century there will be similar articles about Pakistan."

Bulk of Pakistan's energy needs are met with natural gas, a much cleaner fuel.

By next century, Pakistan will be on on all renewables and all electric cars, leaving India behind on fossils.

Gurcharan Singh said...

"By next century, Pakistan will be on on all renewables and all electric cars, leaving India behind on fossils" I sincerely hope so; however, it is not possible. India, like China, wants to ensure crude oil availability at the lowest cost possible. A global glut allows bargaining power and locking in future prices is possible to a certain degree. It is in Pakistan's interest to do the same but, Pakistan has been in a severe cash crunch and has to take out loans to make oil purchases. The result is, petrol price remains high for Pakistanis.

Riaz Haq said...

Singh: " Pakistan has been in a severe cash crunch and has to take out loans to make oil purchases. The result is, petrol price remains high for Pakistanis. "

India, too, relies heavily on foreign money inflows including loans to afford its imports. India runs massive current account deficits. Its imports far outstrip exports year after year. According to the Reserve Bank (RBI) data, in the April-December 2014 period of last fiscal, India's current account deficit stood at $31.1 billion or 2.3% of GDP.

Petrol prices in Pakistan are in fact significantly lower than in India. Petrol price of Rs 63.16 per litre in Delhi is more than Rs 44.05 per litre rate of the fuel in Pakistan and Rs 54.75 in Sri Lanka. However, it is cheaper than Rs 76.97 per litre price in Bangladesh and Rs 68.13 a litre in Nepal.

Anonymous said...

Is there going to be an India in next century?

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has expanded its next-generation CharJi EVO wireless broadband services to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s capital Peshawar.

The introduction of CharJi EVO will enable residents of Peshawar to experience Pakistan’s fastest and most reliable 4G LTE wireless broadband service at speed up to 36Mbps.

The company ushered a new era of technological innovation in the country by introducing the next generation ‘CharJi EVO’ in 2014, which is an addition to the 3G EVO range of services already serving the residents of Peshawar and customers nationwide.

The launch ceremony of CharJi EVO services was attended by a large audience of business community, senior government officials, media personalities as well as representatives of IT and education sector.

KP’s Finance Minister Muzafar Said was the chief guest at the occasion.

PTCL Chief Commercial Officer Adnan Shahid, while speaking at the launch ceremony said, “PTCL has always been at the forefront in introducing innovative technologies and services in the country and our fixed and wireless broadband services are acting as a catalyst in transforming the socio-economic landscape of Pakistan.”

“PTCL has always introduced technologies that have helped people improve their lives. Peshawar is a historic city and a strong business hub and CharJi wireless broadband services will open new possibilities of growth and development in the area,” he added further.

CharJi EVO service is available in convenient dongles, Mi-Fi clouds and tablet, providing a powerful internet experience, faster web browsing, HD video streaming, downloads, uploads and low latency (ping) rates for online gaming.

The ease and comfort of CharJi EVO cloud devices with its state of the art Wi-Fi capability and fast internet browsing brings an unparalleled experience, connecting up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously.

PTCL has launched Pakistan’s first 4G LTE tablet ‘CHARJI EVO TAB’ which provides built-in CharJi connectivity and voice calling feature.

Riaz Haq said...

It is no small feat. Within a year of launch, telcos have migrated nearly 12 percent of their cellular subscriptions onto their expanding 3G networks. It took Indian 3G/4G operators over four years to secure similar transition. From a non-existent base, the quantum of 3G subscribers has swelled to 13.3 million as of June 2015, PTA statistics show. The rise of mobile broadband took overall broadband subscriptions in Pakistan to 16.9 million, up from 3.8 million as of June 2014.

How the 3G operators have carved up this market is interesting. Telenor Pakistan sits atop the 3G chart with 4.16 million users. Thats a solid 31 percent subscription share for an operator that opted for a smaller, 5MHz spectrum block in last years auction. In an interview last year in September, Telenors CEO Michael Foley told BR Research: "For Telenor, 3G will be a marathon, not a sprint." It seems that the Canadian bosss steady approach is working out well.

In contrast, growth for Zong, the China Mobile project in Pakistan, has surprisingly slowed. With 2.89 million 3G users, Zong had a market share of 22 percent at June end, trailing the second-ranked Mobilink that has a 38 percent cut.

Zong had gone big in the auction by acquiring both 3G and 4G licenses, with 10MHz to boot each one of those. Over in the more advanced 4G/LTE segment, too, Zong is not the leading operator. Its 105,000 subscriptions of 4G data are marginally lower than Warids 106,000 LTE subscribers, even though Warid LTE started rolling six months late in December 2014.

Ufone happens to be the last-ranked 3G operator. This, however, is not surprising given its holding groups strategy that resulted in Ufone buying the smaller spectrum block last year. "From day one, Etisalat has put emphasis on "value share" over "market share". We want to grow subscriptions but we want to be profitable. Ufone has to be on top in terms of revenues," was how Walid Irshaid, PTCL Groups CEO summed up Ufones playbook for mobile broadband in an interview with BR Research last year.

While number of subscriptions is an important benchmark, perhaps more so is how much those subscribers are worth - that is, how much data they are using, resulting in higher non-voice revenues. Operators have invested heavily in buying the spectrum and in rolling out their respective infrastructures. How much "value" (or ARPU - average revenue per user) data subscribers generate and how fast the growth is, will determine the operators appetite for more investment in coming years. Official figures on the operators 3G revenues aren available. We are still months away from seeing official data on overall cellular revenues for FY15 (FY14: Rs323 bn). Even then, the picture would be muddied thanks to the cellular 2G subscriptions going down by 18 percent year-on-year to 114 million in FY15. That purge owes, in most part, to the Sim re-verification drive conducted earlier this year, and in small part to the 3G trade-up.

Nonetheless, the circumstances are conducive for further uptake of 3G, and 4G. Operators are now increasingly bundling up data service with voice minutes - the tariffs on offer look affordable for a middle-income user.

Smartphones are being bought and sold in amazing quantities, thanks to their falling prices and rising interest from folks. At this pace, the market should be at least 20 percent 3G by June 2016. Eyes, meanwhile, will be on ARPU.

Riaz Haq said...

#IMF: #Pakistan’s efforts paying off with strong gdp growth, low inflation, growing FX reserves via @frontiermarkets

Pakistan’s efforts to rein in its budget deficit and build its foreign exchange reserves are paying off, the International Monetary Fund says. In an assessment of the South Asian nation’s economic reform program, the multilateral argues that Pakistan “has significantly reduced near-term risks.”

The IMF praised Pakistan’s progress in implementing social programs and its drive to restructure loss-making public enterprises, to advance energy-sector reform and improve the business climate. It said decisive progress in those areas “will help strengthen competitiveness and resilience of the economy and transform Pakistan into a dynamic emerging-market economy.”

Pakistan is set for continued strong economic growth, the IMF said, forecasting that GDP will increase by 4.5% this fiscal year, which runs from July to June. Growth has been “helped by macroeconomic stability, low oil prices, planned improvements in the domestic energy supply, and investment related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” the IMF noted.

The country’s inflation rate dropped to 1.8% in July, but is expected to rise in coming months, if commodity prices stabilize, as expected, the IMF said. The organization also noted that Pakistan narrowly missed some budget deficit, tax revenue and government borrowing targets recently.

Foreign exchange reserves at the state bank rose at a healthy pace, the IMF added, reaching $13.5 billion at the end of June.

The country still has a great deal of work ahead of it, though, the IMF explained: “In the period ahead, consolidating these gains and focusing the reform efforts on overcoming structural challenges still facing Pakistan will be important to achieve higher exports, investment, jobs, and growth.”

Riaz Haq said...

Radio World: #Pakistan Broadcasting Corp. Joins DRM Consortium. Plans to digitize radio broadcast infrastructure …

Digital Radio Mondiale has announced that public broadcaster Pakistan Broadcasting Corp. is the latest member of the DRM Consortium.

PBC programs consist of music, features and plays meant to entertain listeners while also educating its overseas audiences about Pakistani culture, government and the world. The PBC broadcasts in 23-different state-recognized languages 24-hours a day.

“The Pakistan Broadcasting Corp. is interested in introducing the latest digital technologies for the benefit of the Pakistani listeners,” said Syed Imran, director general of PBC. “As such we are happy to join the DRM Consortium as we are embarking on the modernization and digitization of our infrastructures.”

DRM Chairman Ruxandra Obreja, welcomes PBC to the DRM Consortium and sees this “as a serious commitment of PBC to the latest radio technologies like the DRM standard and a chance for the DRM Consortium to strengthen its position in Asia and to learn more from an important market like Pakistan.”

- See more at:

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan monthly GDP is $25 billion in July 2015 (first month of FY 2015-16), up 8.7% from $23 billion in July 2014

The current account deficit of the country shrunk to negative $159 million in July, the first month of the current fiscal year compared to negative $820 million in the same period last year, according to the data of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) released on Thursday.

However, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has gone up by $2.013 billion to $25.112 billion in July 2015 or current fiscal year, which is around 8.7 percent higher compared to $23.099 billion in July 2014. The current account percent of GDP is still in negative 0.6 percent compared to negative 3.5 percent in July 2014, the SBP data said..

However, the SBP report said that the current account was surplus to $730 million in January-March this year, but it started sliding to negative $534 in April-June 2015.

If compared on month-on-month basis, this deficit was stood at $820 million in July 2014, but the inflows from International Monetary Fund (IMF) and US Support Funds supported the current account of Pakistan in first month of the current fiscal year.

In the first month, the trade balance has also come down to negative $1.794 billion, shrinking by 37 percent compared to last year July figures of negative $2,112 billion. The export of the country remained at $1.760 billion while imports stood at $3.554 billion.

Services exports of the country enhanced to $681 million in the first month, while services imports declined to $591 million, which were stood at $351 million and $734 million in July 2014 respectively, the data said.

In July 2015, the country received an amount of $1.664 billion in the head of remittances, which was stood at $1.659 billion in the same period last year.

The country’s reserves stood at $18.655 billion this week, in which SBP’ reserves stood at $13.615 billion, while banks (other than SBP) reserves are at $5.039 billion.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan to manufacture cellphones and #smartphones- …

Rs800 billion to Rs1 trillion telecom revenue estimated in the near future.

Pushed by burgeoning demand, and encouraged by examples of China and India, Pakistan has decided to domestically manufacture cellphone and smart phones.

"Foreign investors, who are seeking investment in the telecom sector are likely to get big incentives," Ministry of Finance sources say. They include prospective investors, particularly from UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Asean. Some of these investors propose to join hands with Chinese companies which have reputed and cost-effective technology and trained manpower. Their pans are to make Pakistan as the production base to feed the Pakistan-Central Asia-Iran, and Middle Eastern and African markets for telecom and cellular products.

Domestically, with a population getting close to 200 million in Pakistan itself, there is a huge big market for these new, hand held sets as their demand is equally strong both in the urban as well as rural areas, like far away Gilgit-Baltistan on the Chinese border in the north and Chaman in the south, bordering Iran.

Beside China, which is a big suppler of mobile phones through official-channels imports and trade, thousand more of the mobs, smart phones, and the rest of these telecom products are smuggled duty-free into Pakistan every week.

"The decision has been made by our Ministry of IT and Telecom, Minister of State Mrs Anusha Rehman told this writer.

"As soon as our domestic manufacturing starts, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government would have fulfilled one more promise to provide cheaper products to people, expand local manufacturing and ensure more jobs to Pakistanis," she also said.

The immediate steps to be taken are to float Expression of Interest (EoIs) for local manufacturing of mobile phones and smart meters under he revival and revitalisation plans of Telephone Industry of Pakistan (TIP) - the factory built by Seimens of Germany. It was the first factory which started making telephone apparatus and later on full fledged telephone exchanges and telecom equipment at Haripur in Khyber Pukhtunistan Province in 1950s. It is called of Mother of All Telecom products. This state-run factory has recently performed poorly both financially and production-wise.

IT and Telecom Ministry sources say after the recent launch of $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) prospects of Chinese investment in Seimens have brightened. It may run in public-private partnership mode, says Azmat Ali Ranjha, secretary, Ministry of IT & Telecoms. When it resumes working in that mode, the plant will start manufacturing mobile phones and smart meters. Zia-ul-Haq, managing director of Seimens says an EoI is expected to be submitted soon.

When the prospective investors look at the demand within the region and Pakistan, itself, it is huge - and still rapidly growing. Shipments of smartphones in Pakistan massively surged by 214 per cent on year-on-year basis during the first three moths of 2015 compared to the last year, says the just unveiled report of the International Data Corporation (IDC).

"The shifting dynamics of the Pakistan mobile market to the deployment of 3G/4G networks across the country and the subsequent rise in the demand of devices that are compatible with the infrastructure," according to the report.

IDC report further said Pakistan has traditionally been a feature phone market; indeed just three years ago in 2012, around 93 per cent of all mobile phone shipments in the country were feature phones since here was no network to support smartphones.

Riaz Haq said...

Uber Technologies Inc. launched its ride-hailing app in Pakistan on Thursday, as part of the company’s $250 million investment push that also includes expanding into the Middle East and North Africa.

The San Francisco-based company will initially offer its service in the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city with an estimated population of 10 million. The South Asian nation is the 69th market for Uber, which was valued at over $60 billion after a funding round in December.

Uber said the process to get approval from Pakistani authorities was smooth. “We have been welcomed with open arms by the government of Punjab and the regulators in Lahore, who see the need for Uber,” said Shaden Abdellatif, a spokeswoman for the company.

The ride-hailing app’s reception in Lahore, capital of the country’s Punjab province, is in contrast with Uber’s experience in neighboring India, where it has faced regulatory hurdles including a ban on its services in the capital Delhi.

Some companies offer on-call cab services in Lahore, but their impact has been limited. Uber will have competitors like Dubai-based Careem, which also offers services through a smartphone app.

Considering the security situation in Pakistan, Uber said it has built-in extra layers of screening into the driver selection process. In addition to personnel and car identification documents, potential drivers must provide a police verification certificate and a character certificate from a referrer. The company said it wants to provide women a safe and comfortable experience: drivers will have to attend a mandatory seminar on sexual harassment.

Last year, a court in Delhi sentenced a driver to life imprisonment for the rape of a woman in a car hired through the Uber app. The company said it had strengthened background checks and safety measures for customers after the attack.

Low Internet penetration and limited credit card use present challenges in Pakistan. Out of 128 million cellphone users, however, the number of users with 3G or high-speed 4G mobile Internet nearly doubled from June 2015 to January 2016, from 13.5 million to 24.7 million, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

Uber will allow users to pay cash as well as the usual electronic payments through the app.

“In Pakistan, we knew right away that in order to reach as many people [as possible] … cash was pretty much the way to go,” said Ms. Abdellatif.

Uber’s service in Lahore will have a base rate of 100 rupees, just under $1. It will charge 13.7 rupees (13 cents) a kilometer (0.62 miles) and 3.7 rupees (3 cents) a minute. Uber said its prices are low and comparable with the cost of a trip in a three-wheeler rickshaw, a common mode of transport in Lahore.

The company said it will consider expansion to other cities in Pakistan depending on its experience in Lahore.

Riaz Haq said...

Share of #smartphones in devices imports in #Pakistan jumps to 30% in 2016 from 7% in 2012. #3G #4G

Smartphones have registered around 30 percent share in overall cellular mobile devices imported in the country during last year which was only 7 percent in 2012.

In next two years, smartphones are expected to cross 55% of mobile phone imports in Pakistan as their adoption is expected to grow further due to expanding 3G and 4G networks.

A report issued by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) revealed that smartphone has become a major source for innovation and new age of enhanced mobile phone use in personal life.

With introduction of larger screen-sizes, consumers are finding smartphones a convenient way to complete many activities what they used to do manually or through desktops.

Therefore, larger screen phones are an accelerator for increasing adoption o smartphone.

Companies are developing their mobile websites, which will further enhance consumer experience on smartphones.

Greater functionality, rich features and enhanced interfaces make the consumer experience on smartphones much more attractive than the features available on a desktop.

The report said share of internet activities through smartphones will grow in near future.Smartphones are more convenient to use and the younger generation has quickly adapted to use of smartphones.

The fall in smartphone prices and mobile data cost has also increased the adoption of smartphones in developing countries.

According to GSMA Intelligence data forecast, global smartphone adoption is expected to increase massively in coming years particularly in developing markets.Smartphone penetration in Asia- Pacific region has reached around 40 % in 2014, and forecast is that this will rise to 65 % by 2020.

Similarly, worldwide smartphone penetration was 50%, which is expected to increase to over 73% by 2020.

Availability of next generation mobile services after the auction of 3G and 4G spectrum in Pakistan in April 2014 has rapidly increased the adoption of smartphone in the society.During 2015, 123 percent increase in smartphone shipment to Pakistan.

Cellular mobile operators have also collaborated with smartphone manufacturers to promote smartphone usage in Pakistan.Companies have also started developing mobile apps and mobile websites keeping in view the fast adoption of smartphones in the country, which will increase the smartphone usage in future.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan tops region with 185% #3G #4G growth in 2015. #India #Indonesia #Bangladesh …

Pakistan leads the race when compared to its regional peers such as India and Bangladesh hands down and this just happened in the past two years. The NGSMA auction in 2014 and the resultant growth has seen Pakistan leading the race for MBB penetration of 19% and still on the increase showing 185% YoY growth. Gone are the days when mobile internet was rare facility and there was only one person using it in a home. The growing smartphone penetration, availability of affordable smartphones and above all access to 3G/4G has enable Pakistan to boost its standing across the region.

GSMA Intelligence is the mobile industry’s leading data and analysis resource. It is used by over 800 of the world’s mobile operators, governments and regulators, device and software vendors, equipment manufacturers, financial and consultancy firms.

Riaz Haq said...

Over 1 million new subscribers sign on to 3G/4G services in Pakistan in May 2016, according to Pakistan Telecommunications Authority

3G/4G subscriptions have more than doubled in less than a year, from 14,614,411 in July 2015 to 29,748,666 in May 2016.

The number of 3G/4G subscriptions increased from 28,676,081 at the end of April 2016 to 29,748,666 at the end of May 2016, an increase of 1,072,505 subscribers in the month of May 2016.

PTA said 544,803 phone users switched to 3G services on the Mobilink network, 255,048 on Telenor network, 150,990 on Zone network and 47,147 mobile phone users moved to 3G services on Ufone network in May.

Zong recorded new subscription of 45,737 users on 4G network, while Warid registered new subscription of 28,860 users on LTE (4G) network in May 2016.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan offers world's most affordable mobile #broadband access, even cheaper than #India and #Vietnam via @PCMag

One of the most surprising trends was a disparity in the cost of Internet access in developing nations: Pakistan had the most affordable Internet access delivered via broadband or mobile networks, with Vietnam and India also in the top 10 most affordable. Other developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, placed near the bottom.

Overall, the report found a disparity between consumers' desire for technology and the capability of businesses and governments to provide it. "In recent years, digital innovation has been primarily driven by consumer demand," the report said. "Yet this increasing demand for digital products and services by a global consumer base is largely being met by a relatively small number of companies."

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s #Smartphone Revolution Is a Double-edged Sword.“To most Indians, the smartphone is their first camera, first TV, first video device, first Walkman, and first MP3 player. It may even be their first alarm clock and calculator,”#fakenews #violence

Even illiterate individuals — of whom there are nearly 300 million in India — can learn to use the device. With the Google Assistant, they can say in their own language, for example, “‘Show me the Taj Mahal,’ and up pops a video showing them this great wonder that they’ve all heard of but never seen,” notes Agrawal. So in some ways the smartphone is a great equalizer.

Fake News on the Phone

Yet with all the apparent benefits, “there is so much that can go wrong,” said Agrawal. One problem is the proliferation of “fake news,” which he noted has sparked religiously-motivated lynchings and other violence.

India has also experienced more internet shutdowns than any other nation — Syria and Iraq follow — in which the government temporarily pulls the plug in the name of halting rumors that spark unrest. There were over 100 shutdowns in 2018 alone, according to Forbes, and the frequency appears to be increasing. These have a negative effect on the economy as well.

There’s also been an explosion in pornography, Agrawal notes. “The head of one of India’s biggest wireless companies told me that 70% of his company’s bandwidth is porn, believe it or not.”

According to Agrawal, a young boy growing up in rural India has a very different life than someone growing up in the West. “He’s not really sensitized to the female body … he’s never even seen a woman’s legs.” He is segregated from girls in school and in college, and may have unhealthy notions of the opposite sex, and sex in general. “And then if porn — and oftentimes violent porn — is this person’s first entry point to romance and sexuality, that’s immensely damaging in ways that I don’t think we fully have come to comprehend as a society,” said Agrawal.

Agrawal was asked about a possible link between the large amount of pornography and the problem of sexual violence against women in India (what BBC News recently called India’s “rape crisis.”) He said that although as a journalist he believed in freedom of information — and that he approached the question of internet porn without passing moral judgment — he believed it was “a real problem … a contributing factor that we have to keep in mind.”

Another internet-related problem is a condition that Agrawal callled nomophobia, or ‘no-mobile-phobia,’ the fear of being separated from your phone or losing battery power, which is on the rise in India. While some may find this hard to take seriously, it’s not a laughing matter, he said. “It’s a growing concern because it has led to many young Indians feeling a real sense of anxiety and depression when they’re not near their phone.” Agrawal linked the phenomenon to the sudden proliferation of smartphones in a population with little or no technology experience.

He drew an interesting comparison between India’s smartphone revolution and the profound effects of the automobile on 20th-century America. The mass availability of the car led to the interstate highway system, which in turn led to the rise of suburban communities and the concept of commuting to work. Cars also helped create so-called bits of “Americana” — diners, gas stations, drive-ins — not to mention the cultural and imaginative zeitgeist. “Every Hollywood movie featured the car: the race, the chase … the first kiss was always in the car.” Agrawal said the car was every American’s “first private property … it was freedom, the American dream.”

Riaz Haq said...

Pak Optical Fiber Cable Project inked between Chinese Companies

A Nationwide Optical Fiber Cable Network Project has been signed between PowerChina and Hunan Sunwalk Group, according to Gwadar Pro on Friday.

Phase 1, Lot 1 of the said project will aim to improve Pakistan’s telecommunication infrastructure for better interconnection with its neighboring countries.

Talking to Gwadar Pro, business manager Sunwalk Group said that the company plans to spend several billion dollars on Pakistan’s Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities to establish telecom infrastructure and fiber industry.

The nation’s broadband adoption will be increased for the digital revolution, which will benefit not only the business-to-business sector but also the government, enterprise firms, and end consumers, the official added.

Previously, Sunwalk Group CEO Pakistan, Lan held a meeting with Federal Minister of IT and Telecom, Syed Amin ul Haque. Lan informed the Minister regarding investment plans for establishing a statewide optical fiber network and facilitating the growth of broadband in Pakistan.

He stated that his organization is prepared to invest approximately $2 billion over the next 8 to 10 years.