IT sector attracts $2.253bn in 2yrs -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

IT sector attracts $2.253bn in 2yrs

ISLAMABAD: The telecom sector performed well in all its spheres during the past two years as the overall teledensity increased from 58.7 percent to 63.5 percent and total foreign direct investment (FDI) was recorded at $2.253 billion.

As per the statistics available with this news agency, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom and its attached departments performed well and overall growth was witnessed in the ministry.

Despite inching towards a saturation stage, the telecom sector received $1.438 billion in year 2008 and $815 million in the following year – 2009 as FDI in different projects in the ministry and its attached departments.

The total Internet users of the country rose to 19 million with total broadband users rising to 413,809 million. Total direct and indirect jobs in the telecom sector are 1.36 million.

During the past two years, the total phone lines increased from 94.695 million to 103.801 million with mobile lines increasing from 88.019 million to 97.58 million, almost 59.6 percent upward slide, while the fixed lines declined from 4.416 million to 3.526 million, almost 2.2 percent downward slide. The democratic government, after taking over in February 2008, came forward with policy reforms and policy directives for the telecom sector for year 2010.

Under policy directives, class regime for value-added is going to be introduced besides the introduction of policy framework for launching Mobile Banking solutions. It was also decided to redefine framework for deployment of Cellular Jammers. Checking of anti-competitive behaviour of the incumbent with respect to availability of network resources and co-location service for the new Land Line (LL) operators.

It was also decided to introduce Equipment Identity Register (EIR) regime to combat the threat of mobile handsets theft in larger public interest. Moreover, the closure of telecom services due to national security concerns also was agreed.

Pakistan Telecommuni-cation Authority (PTA) Chairman Dr Mohammad Yasin opined that PakistanÂ’s telecommunication sector was growing faster, even more rapidly than that of India with over 63 percent teledensity, encouraging the FDI.

“Look, India is lagging far behind Pakistan with 37 percent teledensity as compared to 63.5 percent in Pakistan. Pakistan’s FDI policy is much more liberal than that of India to attract more investment in Pakistan’s telecom sector,” he added.

The PTA chief was of the view that the ever-growing teledensity of Pakistan is unleashing new vistas of opportunities to the foreign and local investors for better returns, especially in the field of data services.

“Services like mobile Internet, mobile banking and Internet Protocol Television hold fortunes for any wise investor,” he added.

The Telecom analysts around the world still believe in Pakistan to be a lucrative market and business monitor forecasts that mobile subscribers in Pakistan would hit 100-million mark by next year.

The sector has been growing at a rapid pace where growth rates have become the hallmark. Although a bit slower growth, of only 7 percent, was observed in mobile sector last year, this trend cannot be attributed only to saturation as there are factors like international financial crisis, devaluation of rupee, security situation and re-registration of SIM programme.

National Telecommunic-ation Corporation (NTC), Special Communications Organisation, Universal Service Fund Company, National ICT R&D Fund Company, Telephone Industries of Pakistan, Pakistan Telecom Employees Trust and Telecom Foundation are the attached departments of the MoIT&T.
Source: Daily Times
Date:3/16/2010