Landline, wireless phone sectors losing markets rapidly -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Landline, wireless phone sectors losing markets rapidly

By Muhammad Yasir

KARACHI: The landline and wireless sectors are losing their markets amid contraction in their subscribers’ base and increasing penetration of cellular phone sector.

The tele-density of sectors witnessed dismal situation of their respective markets despite telecom operatorsÂ’ aggressive tariff-cut strategies to retain and attract the maximum subscribers to their networks. The tele-density of the fixed line sector continued to drop to reach 2.16 percent in 2010, which was recorded 2.20 percent in 2009. The tele-density of wireless sector remained flat at 1.6 percent in 2010, which was the same in the last year.

The wired landline connections are losing its market throughout the country, showing downward trend in the users’ base in the last couple of years.

The number of landline subscribers have continued to decline in the country and witnessed 3.2 percent contraction in the base by the end of financial year 2009-10. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) statistics reported the drop of 0.115 million connections on the network of different fixed line operators.

The total landline connections have declined to 3.41 million in Pakistan by the end of the 2009-10. Out of six, three operators’ subscribers bases declined, whereas two operators witnessed slight growth in number of users and one stood with stagnant growth in user base.

The cutthroat competition among the wireless phone sector has almost ceased its growth in just six years of its inception as the number of users continued to decline in the country despite constant falling rates, free minutes offers and multiple calls packages by operators.

The subscribersÂ’ growth in wireless local loop (WLL) sector witnessed squeezing growth of 1.6 percent in the fiscal year 2009-10 as compared with the 17 percent growth witnessed in last financial year 2008-09, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) figures showed. The total number of wireless connections is 2.658 million in the country. The over-competitive sector has become a double-edged swords for the sector in which the competition is observed stiff, not only with its market players but also with cellular operators in many region.

In 2005-06, WLL witnessed a growth of 287 percent; in 2006-07 it posted 62 percent; in 2007-08 it recorded 32 percent growth in overall users’ base; in 2007-08 it hardly achieved a growth of 17 percent; and in the closing fiscal year 2008-09, it barely managed 1.6 percent growth.

Presently, only seven operators are working. Two of them have sold out their spectrum to broadband operators and couple of operators also is mulling to switch services from telephony to broadband in near future.

Telecom officials said the floods have also destroyed the network infrastructure of landline and wireless connection in many cities, which will likely to cause more drop in number of subscribers using fixed line and wireless connections. On the other hand, the cellular phone sector continued to grow its subscribers’ base amid intensifying competition.
Source: Daily Times