Pakistan – Telecom

Telecom sector has shown positive growth during the first three quarters of FY 2016. Total telecom density reached 70.4 percent at the end of March, 2016 compared to 62.8 percent at the end of last fiscal year, showing an increase of 12.1 percent during first three quarters of FY 2016. The prime driver of telecom density rise is the growth in cellular mobile subscribers as Fixed Line User and Wireless Local User  tele density has slightly dropped.

The fixed line market in Pakistan remains underdeveloped due to the dominance of the mobile segment. Further, the number of fixed telephone lines is slowly declining as the mobile segment continues to expand. Overall penetration dropped from 2.6% in 2014 to 1.6% in 2015 and 1.3% in 2016.

The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have also both been active in providing capital for country’s telecom sector. This contributed to a number of telecommunications projects, most of which have been involved in the laying of fibre optic cable and the installation of digital electronic switches. Pakistan has also had a universal access policy, which, among other things, was been aimed at expanding rural coverage by providing a phone in every village. Almost 70% of the country’s population live in rural areas. But, as with most developing countries, growth of telephone services has been concentrated in the big cities. Up to 90% of fixed lines had been installed in urban areas. Of these, over 50% were in the three largest cities. In an effort to redress this imbalance, the government launched a project to provide payphones in villages throughout the countryside.

Cellular Subscribers: By the end of March 2016, the total number of mobile subscriptions in Pakistan reached at 131.4 million at the end of March, 2016.

3G and 4G LTE Subscribers: 3G and 4G LTE subscribers have reached at 27.87 million at the end of March 2016 as compared to 13.49 million as of June 2015 which shows that on average, there have been more than one million subscriptions to 3G&4G LTE networks per month. More coverage and reduced tariffs will  further increase the uptake of 3G and 4G LTE subscriptions.

Broadband Subscribers: Broadband subscriber base showed strong growth during the July- March, FY2016. At the end of March 2016, broadband subscribers stood at 30.99 million as compared to 16.89 million at the end of last fiscal year depicting 83 percent growth over the last nine months. The number of net subscriber additions in the period stood at 14.10 million. Most of the broadband subscriber base belongs to mobile broadband, launched in June 2014, which collectively forms almost 90 percent of the total broadband subscribers no WiMAX, EvDO, HFC and FTTH collectively have 3.13 million subscribers at the end of March, 2016.

Local Loop Subscribers: The subscriber base of local loop segment has reached 3.50 million at the end of March 2016 as compared to 3.94 million as of June, 2015. The overall subscriber base has decreased by 0.35% with 0.44 million connections churned off during Jul 2015 to Mar 2016. FLL subscriber base has been relatively steady as 2.99 million subscribers (Mar, 2016) as compared to 3.14 million (June 2015). WLL subscriber base also dropped to 0.29 million during quarters of the FY 2016 as compared to 0.80 million at end of June 2015. The closure of huge number of WLL connections in the last two years indicates that cellular mobile services are preferred choice of consumers for voice and data connectivity.