Pakistan - Country Commercial Guide
Telecommunication Equipment and Services

This is a best prospect industry for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-01-27

Overview

Recent liberalization of the telecom sector has made telecommunications one of Pakistan’s most promising sectors. Today, four cellular companies are operating in the country with a customer base approaching 182 million subscribers compared to 167 million last year, showing a growth of 8.6 percent. The private sector is now actively involved in the expansion and development of telecommunication services. It provides cellular telephone services, card payphone, internet/broadband services, and, with the privatization of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), it also provides fixed line telephone services.

Pakistan’s telecom sector has enormous growth potential. A major development in the sector was the auction of the 3G/4G license by the Government of Pakistan. All cellular operators participated in the auction and 3G licenses were awarded to Mobilink, Ufone, and Telenor and the 3G/4G license was awarded to Zong. Later, all existing cellular operators got the 4G license in Pakistan. In addition to this, Government has unveiled 5G roadmap incorporating the testing of 5G technology and allied services during the FY21. With telecom operators rolling out 3G/4G services, the number broadband subscribers have grown quickly and stands at 100 million. This surge has created a huge demand for smartphones, which is the top selling category across all major e-commerce platforms.

Telecom Infrastructure

Pakistan’s telecommunications infrastructure includes: Microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, fiber-optic cable, cellular, and satellite networks. International links include landing points for the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable systems that provide links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; as well as the recently completed fiber-optic land cable from China to the city of Rawalpindi. About 44,000 cell sites cover the longitude and latitude of Pakistan.

Teledensity

At the end of FY20, Pakistan’s total teledensity increased to 89 percent, registering a growth of 7.3 percent over the previous year. Cellular mobile segment was the main contributor towards overall growth in teledensity.

Telecommunication Equipment

The present market size for the import of telecommunication equipment (including handsets) is estimated at $970 million. The world’s leading telecom infrastructure providers like Ericsson, ZTE and Huawei have established branches in Pakistan and are engaged in design, development, installation, configuration, and maintenance of telecom installations. Other vendors of telecom equipment and services in Pakistan include Advance Digital, Inc., GD Satcom, iDirect, Comtech EF Data Corp., NEC Corporation, Conexant Systems, Agere Systems, Cambridge Silicon, Panasonic, Catecom, Quanta, Ruckus, Computational Systems, Tellabs, Symbol Technologies, and Emerson Process.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • Telecom switches
  • Radio communication links
  • Fiber optic cables
  • Towers, poles, ducts, and pits used in conjunction with other infrastructure facilities
  • Tower sharing services
  • Broadband services
  • Back-up power for telecommunication towers
  • Opportunities

The telecommunication sector in Pakistan experienced very rapid growth from over a decade.  With 3G/4G licenses in place, investment in this sector will continue. Pakistan is interested to adopt latest technology along with the world and making notably efforts to advance to 5G technology.

In addition to this, Pakistan has also implemented the world’s first open-source, full-fledged Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) in order to confront the menace of the grey market for mobile devices and its negative impact on the mobile ecosystem. With the introduction of DIRBS, legal imports have increased significantly, and local manufacturing has also picked up. With this trend, Government has decided to introduce a comprehensive mobile manufacturing policy to encourage and attract mobile manufacturing players to come to Pakistan and establish their plants in Pakistan.

Resources

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)