The cellular base in Pakistan is growing at around 14% per year and already the cellular customer has outpaced the fixed line customers. Wireless revolution has swept Pakistan, and competition among the mobile operators is pulling the prices down. Its as cheap as Rs. 2 to call to USA per minutes (that is 3-4 cents per minutes). Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola along with Samsung and LG remain to be the popular brands among customers. Though Nokia has a strong market presence, this has been somewhat taken over by Sony Ericsson, through aggressive marketing and advertisement.
Pakistan is on the verge of Telecom revolution and it is by far the most attracted sector in Pakistan in terms of Foreign Direct investment coming in Pakistan. It s estimated alone that this year 2006-07, FDI attracted by Telecom will be US$ 2 Billion out of the total FDI of US$ 6 Billion, the highest in Pakistan history. Telecom Sector: The Government and the Regulator (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) have created a business friendly environment in the telecom sector of Pakistan through a series of initiatives.
The Government has announced various businesses centric policies, which take into account the market demands and challenges, are open and consistent, and are creating a conducive environment for healthy business activities in the sector. Competition has now been introduced in each segment of Pakistan’s telecom sector including fixed line, mobile and other value added telecom services. An unprecedented growth has been witnessed in almost every segment and the cellular phone sector in particular.
Total teledensity in the country has reached 40.2 (as of end April 07) registering year on year (YoY) growth of 53 percent (Table. 14. 9). During July-April 2006-07, telecom sector attracted US$ 1. 4 billion which is expected to cross one and half billion dollar mark at the end of year. As a result of strong growth in the sector the revenues of the telecom companies reached Rs. 193 billion last year and are expected to cross Rs. 240 billion in 2006-07. Consequently, the contribution of telecom sector in the government’s exchequer is also expected to cross Rs.81 billion during 2006-07.
The success of telecom sector in Pakistan is now globally recognized and it has emerged as a role model for other emerging telecom markets. The dramatic growth on the telecom sector has been supported by prudent government policies. Teledensity of the country has improved many folds in the last couple of years. Currently the total teledensity in Pakistan is over 40. 2 percent, which was just 2. 8 percent at the end of 2000.
Total number of mobile subscribers in Pakistan has crossed 55.6 million by end March 2007 whereby mobile density has hit 35. 8 percent, far surpassing the fixed line teledensity which is 3. 32 percent with total working connections of 5. 2 million. The Wireless Local Loop (WLL) subscribers are also on the rise and have reached 1. 6 million. Similarly, value added services, such as payphones and Internet usage are also on the rise. There are 353,194 PCOs working across Pakistan and more than 2. 4 million registered Internet subscribers with an estimated 12 million Internet users.
The growing competition in the vibrant cellular market of Pakistan has compelled the operators to offer very competitive services. Four out of five GSM operators performed well during the year exhibiting tremendous growth in their subscriber base and provided the market with new, innovative and value added services. Added competition from Telenor and Warid has provided real momentum for the growth of Pakistani mobile market. These two companies have given an impetus in the industry for lower tariffs, expanded networks, customized packages and high tech services.
During the year, wireless companies continued to expand their network and subscribers exponentially. Today, mobile segment of telecom sector is considered to be the most thriving one. On average, approximately 2. 3 million subscribers have been added on cellular mobile networks each month in Pakistan during the first nine months of 2006-07. This is an exemplary growth in relation to the population of any country in Asian region. Total mobile subscribers at the end of April 2007 crossed the 58. 6 million mark (Fig-14. 3).