Cellular operators' SIMs sales nosedive -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Cellular operators’ SIMs sales nosedive

By Muhammad Yasir

KARACHI: The SIMs sales of all five cellular phone operators have reduced significantly to 3-5 percent compared with average routine sales due to its suspension on nearly 0.1 million outlets throughout the country as per directives of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

The background interviews of cellular phone companies suggested SIMs sales decreased to 4,500 to 7,500 per day in overall cellular sector, which stood nearly at 150,000 SIMs sales previously before implementation of new laws in line with the instructions of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Asharf. There were 0.1 million retail outlets where the SIMs being sold a week ago, now it has been reduced to 1,950 point of sales that are franchises and customer care centres of the cellular phone companies.

The SIMs sales through our franchise have decreased to less than 1,000 cards from 30,000 due to restriction of its sales on retail outlets, an official of a cellular phone operator said.

The sale of SIMs seems lowering as customers face difficulties in reaching customers centers and franchises that are limited in numbers throughout the country even few in small cities, he said.

The sales will likely to pick up slightly in coming days as the demand of SIMs will emerge in the coming weeks at the customers end as companies will start campaigns through SMS and banners and location based marketing informing people about franchise of their cities.

In overall cellular sector, companies having comparatively higher number of franchise could secure sales of SIMs, on the other hand, companies with limited number of franchise hit all time worst sales despite of their lower SIMs prices and packages.

The cellular phone companies have been given time to equip all its franchises and point of sales with biometric solution by February 2013 though companies have to make big investment on installation of advanced tools at sale centres.

The sale of SIM cards will record all-time low owing to implementation of new mechanism however operators are likely to witness negative growth. The customers of the mobile companies are allowed five SIMs on one CNIC, while blockade over a million of SIMs are on the cards.

The restriction of SIMs ownership up to 5 cards will definitely hit operators as families with large number of members will be deprived of having phone connection particularly those having no CNIC or under 18 years old, an official of the cellular phone companies said.

The SIMs ownership limitation will hurt customers mainly youngsters and women with no CNIC in rural areas, he said.

There are more than 92 million CNIC holders in the country out of roughly 180 million population. In the first quarter of 2012-13 the cellular industry posted growth of 362,195 numbers in which three operators witnessed growth in connection whereas the rest of two recorded negative growth on their network.

The total number of cellular subscribers has reached at 120.5 million by the end of September 2012 with teledensity was standing at 68.3 percent.

Daily Times