Pakistan - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications market in Pakistan. Subjects covered include:


  • Key Statistics;
  • Market and Industry Overviews;
  • Regulatory Environment and Development;
  • Major Telecom Players (fixed and mobile);
  • Infrastructure;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Market;
  • Internet, including VoIP;
  • Broadband (fixed, wireless, mobile);
  • Scenario Forecasts (fixed-line, mobile and internet subscribers).

Researcher:- Peter Evans
Current publication date:- November 2013 (19th Edition)

Executive Summary

With a rudderless regulator, Pakistan’s telecom industry continues to wait for the 3G auction

Mobile operators in Pakistan have started to shift their focus to value-added services as slowing subscriber growth starts to impact. The operators have therefore been especially keen to see the issuing of 3G licences. The government had started a process to assign these licences back in 2007. By late 2013 however there had been no licences issued. Delay after delay had occurred, much of which had not been properly explained by the authorities.

In the meantime, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) was without a chairman and key board members. A local court had found that the initial appointment of the chairman did not follow established procedures for an openly advertised role and the incumbent was removed from the position. The situation that evolved where the regulatory authority was unable to act on a range of issues was nothing short of chaotic.

The 3G fiasco combined with the PTA leadership problem presented an ominous cloud over an otherwise energetic telecom sector in Pakistan.

The progressive implementation of the Pakistan government’s reform plans over a number of years has triggered a period of strong growth in the local telecom market. Up until recently the energy and growth was predominantly in mobile services; as the mobile market moderates, the focus has shifted to broadband access in its various forms. In the meantime, there has been no significant activity in fixed-line services as originally intended and in fact subscriptions in this sector are in decline.

Earlier on Pakistan’s telecom market struggled with the transition from a regulated state-owned monopoly to a deregulated and competitive environment. The government initially focused on fixed lines setting out ambitious plans to increase fixed-line teledensity. After peaking at around 4% in 2008, fixed penetration had fallen to 3.5% coming into 2012. And, at the same time, the majority of these fixed lines were in urban areas. A more balanced distribution is certainly desirable in the longer term as 70% of Pakistan’s population lives in rural areas. Some good news in the fixed-line market came with the arrival of Wireless Local Loop (WLL) services and the licensing of a multitude of WLL operators. This technology has helped sustain what there is of a fixed-line segment. WLL services constituted around half of the total fixed-line subscriber base by 2012.

Meanwhile, the focus of the market changed; the whole telecom landscape in Pakistan having shifted to mobile services with a phenomenal expansion occurring in this sector from 2005/2006 onwards. The number of mobile subscribers jumped from less than two million to 100 million in just eight years. Interestingly, despite the significant tightening of the national economy during 2009 the mobile market continued to expand at an annual rate of between 5% and 10%. The mobile networks were already covering well in excess of 90% of the population and this coverage was continuing to be expanded.

While mobile penetration was strong and continuing on its positive growth path, internet penetration remained at relatively low levels coming into 2012. Broadband growth had been of particular concern with almost negligible growth for many years; finally, 2008/09 saw a promising upsurge in broadband subscriptions and this fresh growth pattern growth looked to be continuing, boosted by the spread of competition throughout the market and the increased adoption of wireless broadband solutions. Broadband penetration remained relatively low, however, still sitting below 2%.

Control of internet content remained a big issue in Pakistan. The government has directed that the monitoring of websites for ‘anti-Islam content’ be undertaken by the PTA, the telecom regulator. By 2012, amid growing concern about greater restrictions on internet access in the country, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HCRP), an independent body, said that already about 13,000 sites were inaccessible. The regulator said that the figure was closer to 2,000 sites. By 2013 the censorship of the internet by the government was becoming more intense.

Key highlights

  • Despite an overall slowing in the country’s telecom market, Pakistan continues to grow its mobile sector;
  • Mobile subscriber numbers were growing at close to 10% annually in 2011/2012, modest growth indeed compared with the earlier boom years;
  • By mid-2013 there were around 125 million mobile subscribers for a penetration of 70%;
  • Five mobile operators were competing vigorously for subscribers and revenue, all being able to claim a reasonable share of the market;
  • Fifth-ranked Warid Telecom, however, was struggling and by 2013 was being put up for sale by its owner the Abu Dhabi Group;
  • After many delays, 3G licensing looked as if it was proceeding in earnest with the auction scheduled for late 2013; it was more likely to be early 2014;
  • To allow the spectrum auction to happen as planned the Prime Minister had approved relevant policy directives in October 2013;
  • While Pakistan’s broadband internet penetration remained low in relative terms (less than 2% by mid-2013), there has been a significant surge recently in broadband services;
  • The growth in wireless-based broadband has been especially important, representing around over 50% of subscriptions by 2013;
  • Growth in the country’s fixed-line market remained sluggish, fixed teledensity standing at just over 3% in 2013, the numbers having actually fallen at times;
  • One positive factor in the fixed market has been the success of wireless local loop technology which was supporting just over half of all fixed subscribers and looked to still be growing.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key Statistics
    • 1.1 Country overview
      • 1.1.1 Background
      • 1.1.2 Economy
  • 2. Telecommunications Market
    • 2.1 Overview
    • 2.2 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
  • 3. Regulatory Environment
    • 3.1 Overview
    • 3.2 Background to development
    • 3.3 Regulatory authorities
      • 3.3.1 Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT)
      • 3.3.2 Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)
      • 3.3.3 PTA’s administrative actions
      • 3.3.4 Problems undermining PTA’s regulatory role
    • 3.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 3.5 Regulatory developments
      • 3.5.1 Late Night Phone Tariffs
      • 3.5.2 International Clearing House
      • 3.5.3 Operators accused of tax evasion
      • 3.5.4 PTCL accused of anti-competitive practices
      • 3.5.5 Dispute over origination charges resolved
      • 3.5.6 Management of subscriber base
      • 3.5.7 Special regions of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K)
      • 3.5.8 National numbering scheme
      • 3.5.9 Number portability (NP)
      • 3.5.10 Infrastructure sharing
      • 3.5.11 Security
      • 3.5.12 Censorship
  • 4. Major Fixed Network Operators
    • 4.1 Overview
    • 4.2 Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)
      • 4.2.1 Overview
      • 4.2.2 Background
      • 4.2.3 PTCL and the regulation of tariffs
      • 4.2.4 Financial performance
      • 4.2.5 Privatisation of PTCL
    • 4.3 Other fixed network operators
      • 4.3.1 WorldCall group
      • 4.3.2 TeleCard
      • 4.3.3 Wateen Telecom
      • 4.3.4 Licensing in Azad Jammu and Kashmir
  • 5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
    • 5.1 National telecom network
      • 5.1.1 Overview
      • 5.1.2 Fixed line statistics
      • 5.1.3 Opening up of market
      • 5.1.4 Rural services
      • 5.1.5 Universal Service Fund (USF)
      • 5.1.6 Mobile services
      • 5.1.7 Fibre optic networks
      • 5.1.8 Broadband networks
      • 5.1.9 Payphones and Public Call Offices (PCOs)
      • 5.1.10 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 5.1.11 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
      • 5.1.12 Backhaul
    • 5.2 International infrastructure
      • 5.2.1 International gateways
      • 5.2.2 Pakistan-India link
      • 5.2.3 Submarine cable networks
      • 5.2.4 Satellite networks and systems
    • 5.3 Infrastructure developments
      • 5.3.1 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • 6. Internet Market
    • 6.1 Overview
    • 6.2 Background
    • 6.3 Internet and broadband statistics
    • 6.4 Major government initiatives
    • 6.5 Internet control and censorship
    • 6.6 ISP market
      • 6.6.1 ISPs
  • 7. Broadband Market
    • 7.1 Overview
      • 7.1.1 Infrastructure development
      • 7.1.2 Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)
    • 7.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
    • 7.3 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
    • 7.4 Cable modem
    • 7.5 Wireless broadband
      • 7.5.1 WiMAX
      • 7.5.2 Internet via satellite
    • 7.6 Mobile broadband
    • 7.7 Long Term Evolution (LTE)
  • 8. Digital Media / Digital Economy
    • 8.1 E-services
      • 8.1.1 E-commerce
      • 8.1.2 E-government
    • 8.2 Broadcasting
      • 8.2.1 Market overview
      • 8.2.2 Regulatory issues
      • 8.2.3 Free-to-Air (FTA) broadcasting
      • 8.2.4 Pay TV
      • 8.2.5 Cable TV (CATV)
      • 8.2.6 Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)
  • 9. Mobile Communications
    • 9.1 Overview
    • 9.2 Customer satisfaction
    • 9.3 Background to development
    • 9.4 Mobile statistics
    • 9.5 Additional mobile licences
    • 9.6 Third Generation (3G) licences
    • 9.7 Regulatory issues and developments
      • 9.7.1 Number portability
      • 9.7.2 Control of SIMs
      • 9.7.3 Consumer rights
      • 9.7.4 Licensing in Azad Jammu and Kashmir
      • 9.7.5 Levee on handsets
    • 9.8 Mobile voice services
      • 9.8.1 Prepaid
      • 9.8.2 Satellite mobile
    • 9.9 Mobile data services
      • 9.9.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 9.9.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
      • 9.9.3 Blackberry
      • 9.9.4 Mobile TV
      • 9.9.5 M-commerce / mobile banking
      • 9.9.6 Innovation in mobile financial services
    • 9.10 Major mobile operators
      • 9.10.1 Overview
      • 9.10.2 Mobile operator statistics
      • 9.10.3 Mobilink (PMCL)
      • 9.10.4 Ufone (PTCL)
      • 9.10.5 Telenor Pakistan
      • 9.10.6 Warid Telecom
      • 9.10.7 Zong
      • 9.10.8 Instaphone (Pakcom)
  • 10. Forecasts
    • 10.1 Forecast – fixed line market – 2015; 2020
    • 10.2 Forecast – mobile market – 2015; 2020
    • 10.3 Forecast – Internet market – 2015; 2020
    • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2013
    • Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2011
    • Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2012
    • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2012
    • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – May 2013
    • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
    • Table 7 – Pakistan’s real GDP growth rate – 2005 - 2014
    • Table 8 – Pakistan’s total telecom revenue – 2004 - 2012
    • Table 9 – Pakistan’s telecom investment – total and mobile - 2004 - 2012
    • Table 10 – Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in telecom sector – 2002 - 2011
    • Table 11 – ‘Fixed-line’ licences issued by PTA – 2012
    • Table 12 – Fixed-line (wireline) subscribers by operator – June 2012
    • Table 13 – Fixed-line (wireless) subscribers by operator – September 2012
    • Table 14 – PTCL fixed wireline subscribers – 2000 - 2012
    • Table 15 – PTCL WLL (fixed wireless) subscribers – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 16 – WorldCall’s WLL (fixed wireless) subscribers – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 17 – WorldCall’s fixed wireline subscribers – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 18 – TeleCard’s WLL (fixed) subscribers – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 19 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1991 - 2013
    • Table 20 – Fixed wireline subscribers – 2004 - 2013
    • Table 21 – Fixed wireline v. fixed wireless (WLL) subscribers – 2004 - 2013
    • Table 22 – Fixed wireline subscribers by operator and market share – June 2012
    • Table 23 – Growth in Public Call Offices (PCOs) – 1999 - 2009
    • Table 24 – WLL subscribers – 2005 - 2013
    • Table 25 – Fixed-line (wireless) subscribers by operator – September 2012
    • Table 26 – Internet users – 1995 - 2013
    • Table 27 – Fixed internet subscribers – 1997; 2000 - 2013
    • Table 28 – Broadband subscribers – 2004 - 2013
    • Table 29 – Broadband subscribers by technology – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 30 – Broadband subscribers and households – April 2013
    • Table 31 – Total international internet bandwidth – 2004 - 2013
    • Table 32 – Broadband subscribers by type – 2009: 2011 - 2013
    • Table 33 – PTCL broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2012
    • Table 34 – DSL broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2013
    • Table 35 – FttH subscribers – 2007 - 2013
    • Table 36 – Wireless broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2013
    • Table 37 – WiMAX subscribers – 2008 - 2013
    • Table 38 – Mobile broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2013
    • Table 39 – Key broadcasting statistics – 2012
    • Table 40 – Cable TV subscribers – 2003 - 2012
    • Table 41 – Mobile subscribers – 1995 - 2013
    • Table 42 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – May 2013
    • Table 43 – Mobile operators, subscribers and market share – May 2013
    • Table 44 – Mobile services revenue – 1998 - 2012
    • Table 45 – Mobile services revenue – 2011 - 2012
    • Table 46 – Overall ARPU across all mobile operators – 2002; 2004 - 2009
    • Table 47 – Mobile monthly ARPU by operator – 2009
    • Table 48 – Proportion of prepaid mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 49 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – March 2013
    • Table 50 – Mobile operators, subscribers and market share – March 2013
    • Table 51 – Mobilink (PCML) subscribers – 2000 - 2013
    • Table 52 – Ufone (PTCL) subscribers – 2001 - 2013
    • Table 53 – Telenor Pakistan subscribers – 2005 - 2013
    • Table 54 – Telenor Pakistan - ARPU – 2009 - 2012
    • Table 55 – Warid Telecom subscribers – 2005 - 2013
    • Table 56 – Zong subscribers – 2000 - 2013
    • Table 57 – Instaphone (Pakcom) subscribers – 2000 - 2010
    • Table 58 – Forecast fixed line subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • Table 59 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • Table 60 – Forecast internet subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • Chart 1 - GDP growth rate - 2005-2014
    • Chart 2 - FDI in telecom sector - 2002-2011
    • Chart 3 - PTCL fixed wireline subscribers - 2000-2012
    • Chart 4 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2001-2013(e)
    • Chart 5 - Fixed wireline vs. fixed wireless subscribers - 2004-2013
    • Chart 6 - Growth in Public Call Offices - 1999-2009
    • Chart 7 - WLL subscribers by operator and market share - September 2012
    • Chart 8 - Internet users 2000-2013
    • Chart 9 - Internet and broadband subscribers 2004-2013
    • Chart 10 - Broadband subscribers by type - 2009-2013
    • Chart 11 - Broadband, FttH and WIMAX subscribers - 2008-2013
    • Chart 12 - Mobile subscribers - 2000-2013
    • Chart 13 - Mobile operators, subscribers and market share - May 2013
    • Chart 14 - Mobile services revenue - 1998-2012
    • Chart 15 - Proportion of prepaid mobile subscribers - 2005-2012
    • Chart 16 - Mobile operators and subscribers – March 2013
    • Chart 17 - Mobile operators and market share – March 2013
    • Chart 18 - Mobilink (PCML) subscribers - 2000-2013
    • Chart 19 - Ufone (PTCL) subscribers - 2001-2013
    • Chart 20 - Telenor Pakistan subscribers - 2005-2013
    • Chart 21 - Warid Telecom subscribers - 2005-2013
    • Chart 22 - Zong subscribers - 2005-2013
    • Chart 23 - Instaphone (Pakcom) subscribers - 2000-2009
    • Exhibit 1 – Long Distance International (LDI) licensees – 2011
    • Exhibit 2 – Local Loop (LL) licensees – 2011
    • Exhibit 3 – Wireless Local Loop (WLL) licensees and status- 2013
    • Exhibit 4 – PTCL subsidiary companies
    • Exhibit 5 – Joint ventures and affiliated companies

Annual Publication profile

Single-User PDF Licence: US$895.00EX GST
Member Discounts Apply
Purchase
License Information

Your Cart

Your Cart is empty

Purchase with Confidence

"Paul is by far, the leading telecommunications analyst in Australia. Not only is his company's research first class and timely, it is superbly contextual to the complexities of today's modern media and communications technology. He is always extremely generous in sharing his knowledge with others and has a great ability to connect people together and be a thought leader on topics of National interest such as the NBN, FttH and Smart Grids. "

Bruce Duyshart, Director Strategic Technology, Lend Lease

» More from our customers..

Special Offers

More than 4,000 customers from 140 countries utilise BuddeComm Research

Are you interested in BuddeComm's Consulting Services ?

Quick Search

News & Views

Have the latest telecommunications industry news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to Paul's FREE weekly News & Views.

Contact us

Email     pbc@budde.com.au

Copyright © 2014 Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. All trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective holders. Design by Arcaeda | Hosted by Ipera