The recent figures for telecom industry were announced this week by Pakistan Telecom Authority. By the end of March 2015, mobile internet subscribers had grown to 12.07 million that used to be 1.9 million until July 2014, a whopping 635% growth rate. The 3G and 4G auction last year and the five telecom operators going out of their way to upgrade infrastructure resulted in phenomenally high speed mobile broadband.
By March 2015, Telenor leads total number of subscribers that stand at 3.5 million, followed by Zong with 2.9 million, Mobilink with 2.8 million and Ufone with 2.6 million. These figures speak the rapid adoption of 3G services while Warid has 66,140 subscribers for its LTE service and Zong has 31,582 for its 4G services.
Starting from EDGE service with a speed of 512 kbps, telecom operators spent a couple of months testing 3G services that allowed many subscribers to enjoy free high speed mobile internet up to 7 Mbps. Several subscribers chose to switch to 3G after the auction and many converted with the availability of better packages, better and cheaper smartphones and better awareness of 3G services by the telecoms. Telecom revenue from mobile broadband services now stand at 25% of total revenue, a phenomenal change in one year since the auction.
Despite bio-metric re-verification drive that saw reduction of overall number of subscribers, rapid uptake of mobile broadband shows great potential in the market and hunger for faster internet speed. Much of it as smooth as fixed broadband, constant supply of high speed mobile internet has opened doors where people can remain connected even in the absence of electricity.
The success can also be gauged by the fact that in March 2014 Pakistan won an award at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona called “Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award 2015“. The successful auctioning of 3G/4G spectrum was recognized by the world and Anusha Rehman (Minister of IT) shared facts and figures at the forum to prove Pakistan’s potential. With a population of 200 million, mostly of young people, the possibilities and opportunities are endless.
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