This is a best prospect industry for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
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 188 million subscribers compared to 182 million last year. 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.
In the last few years, Pakistan’s telecom industry has shown notable growth on the back of an uptick in e-commerce which increased the demand for connectivity, particularly during and post-COVID-19 pandemic. This opportunity helped develop infrastructure and network for the industry, however, operational challenges like power cuts, stability and security challenges, fuel price hike, and cost of operation are still inevitably high.
Seeing the growth potential, the Government has unveiled 5G roadmap incorporating the testing of 5G technology and allied services during FY21. With telecom operators rolling out 3G/4G services, the number of broadband subscribers have grown quickly and stood at 110 million. This surge has created a huge demand for smartphones, which is the top-selling category across all major e-commerce platforms.
Pakistan’s telecommunications infrastructure includes Microwave radio relays, 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.
At the end of FY21, Pakistan’s total tele-density increased to 87 percent. The cellular mobile segment was the main contributor toward overall growth in the density.
The present market size for the import of telecommunication equipment (including handsets) is estimated at $800 million. The world’s leading telecom infrastructure providers like 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.
- 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
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) 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.