Telecom Sector in Pakistan; an Outlook of Past, Present and Future

Among all the industries, the telecom sector in the Pakistan is a significant contributor in revenues putting a positive impact on economy. Throughout the last decade, country has seen an incredible progress in the telecom industry due to deregulation as well as privatization of the sector. But unfortunately unjustifiable complacency has affected the rapid growth of telecom sector.

It is so obvious and apparent that telecom sector in Pakistan has observed a real growth specifically after January 2004 when there was an announcement of policy for mobile phones came that proved to be a basis of grounds for licenses and competition enhancement in Pakistan.

As per the sources by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, around 2,50,000 cellular subscribers were shown up at the launch of first mobile phone service which then showed a rapid growth to 14 million with increased teledensity by 2005.This increase continued to raise with wider cellular population  in the country that further added up to five hundred thousand users every month .

It is evident that due to robust strategy of the government, IT and telecom sector has developed to the most during the last five years. Computer and internet usage has seen a gigantic progress due to reduction in rates and increased bandwidth packages across the country. In this regard, both, fixed broadband and mobile broadband have grown to waves.

As per the Economic Survey of Pakistan in 2011-12, the investment figure of telecom sector reached to $495.8 million. However, in regard to Foreign Direct Investment, it has been proved to be a real beneficiary for years 2003 to 2009. But after these years, investments in telecom sector got declined due to cut throat competition in the industry which made investors unenthusiastic to add the additional capital in the business

However, with the facts, total revenue generated in the fiscal year of 2010-11 was reported as Rs. 364 billion. This figure shows 5.4% increase as compare to revenues of Fiscal year 2009-10 that was Rs. 344 billion. Moreover, also the cellular companies’ revenue grew to Rs. 262.76 billion that is 11% greater by the previous year.

Though, Pakistan is one of the late adopters of 3G and 4G technologies but after its emergence in the country, positive GDP growth has been observed with enhanced mobile as well as internet penetration. Pakistan was already equipped with 2G infrastructure so it got to 3G/4G really well and deployed the faster broadband services in every nook and corner of the nation. This successful auction has attracted foreign investors for telecom industry that make the country to have significant results reaped on economy.

This launch of 3G and 4G in a country fulfils the demand of broadband required for all the sectors like agriculture, commerce, health as well as education sectors. Moreover, it has enhanced the socio economic development while improving lifestyles and bestowing the economic opportunity in both sectors of public and private.

However, 3G and 4g technology reframe a stakeholder friendly policy with clear and multidimensional plans. This leads to entail greater economic benefits while broadband penetration enhanced with 10% increase with positive impact on GDP as well as catering both the long term and short term objectives of the telecom sector. Moreover, it created a pool of new jobs and new broadband connections across the nation.

Internet of things (IoT) and Telecom

As the name suggests that internet of thing is the next big aspect in the world of technology that connects billion of devices, capable of sensing and communicating with efficient decision making that is creating easiness of lives. Thus, to generate awareness in this regard, PTA is conducting awareness sessions so that people could get benefit from it well. Under these sessions, IoT components, devices with sensors, networks as well as IoT applications got introduced to people.

So, this is the start of a new thing that will bring about beneficial aspects in the country if executed well. Need is to implement policies that can support this framework putting impact on economy in a positive way.

Awareness of Big Data Analysis

With transformation in technology sector, business analytics and big data are enhancing the way of businesses. It is making possible to compete on analytics by getting into data insights and with usage of advanced algorithms. However, big data analytics presents great opportunity for youth to become efficient in this field and get to fill the greater unemployment gap that is faced in the country for years.

Thus, in order to create awareness, different sessions on big data analytics are being arranged by PTA so that it can reach many of the people relating to technology. These sessions caters the informative training and highlights the current as well as future scope of big data analytics either in business, human resource or any other field.

Usage of Cloud Computing

In order to enhance the telecom sector, there are also cloud computing sessions that are being arranged at regular intervals. Basically, cloud computing is a kind of internet based computing that offers shared computer processing resources as well as data to computers and further devices on requirement.

So, business organizations and the individuals could adopt cloud computing services as an attractive investment opportunity or may explore the services like a client that can save much of the operational cost.

Thus, it has been quite visible that Pakistan is an enormous market for mobile telephony as well as mobile broadband while the population of the country is growing at gigantic rates. There has been a remarkable growth observed in broadband subscribers. However, as per PTA, broadband penetration will get to a significant rise as 10 subscribers for each 100 inhabitants around the year 2020 while leading broadband users to the figure of 78 million mark.

Overall, with respect to past five years, telecom in Pakistan has grown to vast extent. Tele density has increased from 60.9% (in 2014-2015) to 70.9% (in 2015-2016) with revenues of Rs. 454.4 Billion in 2016 that were reported as Rs. 445 Billion in 2015. However, Telecom contribution figures for the year 2015-16 has crossed the mark of 157.8 billion and it is significantly better mark than all previous years.

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