=> ISLAMABAD, Jan 18: The telecom sector has emerged
ISLAMABAD, Jan 18: The telecom sector has emerged as the largest recipient of foreign investment attracting $1.8 billion during 2006-07, which was 35.6 per cent of the total FDI (foreign direct investment) in the country.
“However, considerable gap exists between haves and have-nots particularly in rural areas, where large potential still needs to be exploited.”
This was stated by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman Shahzada Alam Malik at press briefing here on Friday.
It is expected that total share of telecom industry in GDP will rise to 3 per cent in the coming years from 2 per cent in 2006-07. At present, the overall teledensity of the country is 53 per cent – 48.42 per cent mobile phone and 4.33 per cent fixed line teledensity. The country has now 77 million cellphone subscribers, 2.1 million WLL and 4.7 million fixed line consumers. Over 90 per cent population of the country has the coverage of telecom services, he added.
He said the PTA was gearing to introduce state-of-the-art third generation mobile phone services, offering users a wider range of advanced services like high speed internet, video call facility and other value added data services.
Licences will be awarded through competitive bidding in the second half of this year. Hopefully, 3G services would be available in Pakistan before 2010, he said.
He said five mobile companies were awarded licences for AJK and the Northern Areas connecting 1.2 million people to-date.
“PTA has launched the second phase of deregulation of fixed line services in the area and has received over 80 applications for various licences,” he said.
Regarding sale of registered SIMs, Mr Malik said 80 per cent record had been verified. “Some 17 franchises found violating instructions have been shut down. PTA has also instructed mobile companies for strict action against those sending unsolicited messages/fraudulent calls.”
To help consumers and law-enforcement agencies in the cases of mobile phone theft, PTA blocked over 170,000 cellphones reported stolen in one year. As many as 11,500 to 13,000 cellphones were blocked every month. Some 10,000 phones were unblocked after their owners found them.” He said Pakistan was one of the first countries in South-East Asia to implement the mobile number portability within a period of two years. Since the implementation of the system, approximately 55,000 subscribers had been ported out successfully from one cellular mobile operator to the one of the choice of the subscribers.