Buoyancy in Broadband Internet market
DESPITE the ongoing economic challenges, the country has witnessed a phenomenal growth of Broadband Internet. High-speed Internet streaming is revolutionising the way people learn, communicate, work and do business.
Broadband Internet is now the backbone of corporate services and even small business.
According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) data, the number of Broadband Internet subscribers increased from less than 27,000 in 2005-06 to more than 1.9 million in 2012, which is no small feat. Internetworldstats.com puts country’s total Internet users at more than 29 million with a population penetration of 15.5 per cent. The total number of fixed phones and mobile phone subscribers stand at 3.10 million and 118.32 million, respectively.
The PTA data further reveals that Broadband Internet put up an impressive growth rate of 28 per cent from June 2011 to March 2012, surpassing mobile growth rate at nine per cent recorded for the same period.
Broadband services were first introduced in Pakistan in 2001 by installing equipment on existing copper lines used for provision of telephony services. Initially, DSL Broadband services were only provided to a small consumer base of high-end users in the big cities. But progress was slow and penetration negligible.
In response, the government introduced the Broadband Policy of 2004, revising backhaul bandwidth charges downwards to propel broader penetration.
While the PTCL’s entry in the Broadband market had a major impact and the retail tariff was rationalised significantly.
For the first time, the PTCL celebrated this year the 1st million broadband customers mark.
The Broadband growth has been achieved during recession years when average GDP growth rate has remained less than four per cent per year. It is even more phenomenal considering the fact that it is now a household product i.e. one connection serves the whole family. A typical household has 6.2 members on average, which accumulates into 29 million households; so the real impact is far greater.
Pakistan is ranked among the top few countries to have registered high growth in Broadband Internet penetration in recent years. According to global Broadband tracker, Point Topic’s 2011 report, Pakistan stood at fourth place in Asia with 46.2 per cent growth in subscriber base, whereas, Sri Lanka and India were placed at 11 and 14, respectively.
PTA’s data shows that Broadband Internet penetration was less than one per cent per household in 2008. In 2012, it has reached seven per cent.
The business success depends on an operator’s network, infrastructure capabilities, investment size, business model and growth strategy.
Technology takes time to grow, but once the wheel is set in motion the effect is viral. If there are inconsistencies, revisit your business model and rationalise tariff along with greater excitement for the customers.
Banking on its previous success and believing in the strength of the national economy and growing awareness of the people, the PTCL Group has made a commitment to invest Rs100 billion in the Broadband sector in the next five years.