Communication needs of Pakistan’s youth and cellphone
LAHORE: Returning to school, college or university after the summer holidays is always a bittersweet experience. After the long, relaxed summer break – often spent travelling – it takes some adjusting into the routine of academics.
At the same time, however, coming back to school means reconnecting with friends and one’s social circle. As summer ends and students find themselves back on campus, communications needs skyrocket – whether to discuss what courses to take, complete work assignments together, make plans for the weekend, or even just to catch up after a couple of months away.
And increasingly, mobile phones have become the connectivity medium of choice for today’s tech-savvy youth.
According to a recent research by the Mobile Youth Report, close to 80% of teens own a mobile phone and almost half of them are smartphones.
Moreover, more than half of the teens who own a mobile phone view the device as the key to their social and academic lives. Pakistan is one of the few nations in the world with roughly 66% of the population under the age of 30 years and this presents limitless opportunities for telcos, FMCGs and other industries to develop products and services which are tailor-made for this age segment.
With limited disposable income for youth and increasing financial pressures on parents due to the present state of the economy, affordability is the key factor when it comes to choosing a connectivity partner. Telecom operators are increasingly aiming to consolidate the mobile subscriber market by offering users, especially the youth of the country, with affordable packages that suit their communication needs.
A Lahore based telecom operator has recently launched its ‘Back to Fun’ offer which allows their youth subscribers to get up to 10,000 free minutes, SMSs, and MBs of mobile Internet. Globally, social media has now become a key communication platform amongst college-going students.
This trend is also evident in Pakistan; which is reflected through the fact that there are now over 10 million active Facebook users. Seeing this demand, mobile operators have started offering affordable mobile Internet packages allowing Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp users continued connectivity with the popular social media website on the user’s smartphone. To cater to the ever-increasing technological needs of Pakistan’s youth, mobile manufacturers have also responded by introducing highly affordable full-featured smartphones.
This has allowed Pakistani users access to the most up-to-date technologies of the mobile industry. Availability of affordable smartphones has not only benefited the end user but has also helped telecom operators increase their mobile Internet revenues. Pakistan’s mobile subscriber base has reached 125 million connections and the youth makes up a significant chunk of these subscribers.
Many believe that the telecom subscriber base has reached a saturation point; keeping that in mind telecom operators are now concentrating on getting inactive subscribers back on their network through direct and indirect offers.
As the communication needs of Pakistan’s youth change over time, telecom operators will have to adapt and provide increasingly innovative and economical packages.