=> LAHORE – The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority
LAHORE – The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority fears reaching at saturation point in cellphone industry as it fell short of adding 0.3 million new subscribers in December last following the previous trend, the data revealed.
The data indicates that December last yearÂ’s net additions of 2 million subscribers are below the industry average of 2.3 million per month. December 07 witnessed a slowdown in cellular subscriber addition as overall subscribers grew by 2.7 per cent to 76.6 million as compared to 4.3 percent in November the same year, annalists said.
Talking to The Nation they said that the PTA estimates suggested that cellular penetration stood at 48.4 per cent at the end of December, however, the addition rate dipped during the month. They said that discounting blended and inactive SIMS, total active subscribers should number 74.6 million, representing a teledensity of 44.8 per cent despite the PTA estimate of 48.42 per cent in December 2007.
The PTA estimates that broadband subscribers should number 55,000 by the end of 2008, however, the broadband penetration is low. Analysis indicates that with an estimated 15-35mn middle class individuals and an average of five persons per household, the target market for broadband is a minimum of 3-7 million subscribers.
The industry sources believe that tracking registered cellular users is a more effective and standardised measure for calculating blended rate and accounting for multiple SIMS, which would assist the PTA in gathering an accurate data in terms of actual subscribers and teledensity.
Talking to The Nation Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Maj Gen (r) Shahzada Alam Malik said that fearing the reduction in cellular teledensity, the consultation process was being kicked off for proposals and suggestions to revise existing Telecom Policy, making it suitable for future development of telecom sector in the backdrop of emerging technologies. He said that there was least possibility further as almost all the companies had been working in a cutthroat competition in a reduced-rate environment.
Talking about the authenticity of the subscriber based data, he said that the authority had already confirmed data for 80 per cent of the users through the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA).
The PTA chairman said the cellular subscribers had been increased to 76 million in Pakistan. He was optimistic that the number of subscribers will increase to 100 million in next couple of years. He said that the current policy remained very successful which registered tremendous growth that helped telecom sector receive billons of dollars investment.
He said the revenue to the national exchequer crossed the level of Rs 100 billion on account of activation charges, general sales tax, license fees etc. Revision of the policy will further increase the potential of investment and deployment of more advanced communication systems by providing better services.
Talking about the launching of commercial WiMax services, he said that the start of WiMax has made leading one in the region to initiate wireless broadband services that would be available to its consumers nation wide. Other regional countries including India are yet to offer such services; analysts believe that these countries may take a considerable time to reach the position that Pakistan has attained.
He said that the users would also enjoy wireless broadband services and would be able to use Internet at much faster speed as compared to normal dialup internet services or fixed line broadband services. These operators are also aiming at providing broadband data solution for corporate users.
Source: The Nation