Mobile subscriber base narrows -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Mobile subscriber base narrows

By Jawwad Rizvi

LAHORE: Mobile subscribers have decreased by about 0.5 million in December 2008 after remaining stagnant in November.

According to official figures released by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), mobile subscribers dropped to 89.907 million from an all-time high of 90.407 million. Shrinking subscriber base of mobile has worried the telecom industry which has already complained about a decline in their revenue and are seeking an increase in call rates.

According to PTA data, Mobilink’s costumer base stood at 28.479 million compared to November’s figure of 30.055 million, registering a decline of 1.57 million.

Zong showed an impressive growth and added new subscribers to its network. The figures showed that the subscriber base of Zong at the year-end was 5.503 million from November’s 5.398 million.

The performance of Telenor was strong and it added over 0.5 million customers to its network in December 2008, expanding its subscriber base to 19.387 million from 18.875 million.

Warid maintained its subscriber base with a slight increase of over 0.2 million customers at 16.914 million from 16.656 million. Ufone also showed consistency and kept its subscriber base at 19.301 million compared to 19.100 million.

Cellular mobile density fell by 0.4 per cent in December. A PTA official said blocking of unverified SIM cards was the major reason behind the negative growth of the telecom industry in December last year.

During the last six months, the sector had recorded negative growth due to multiple reasons including imposition of new taxes and economic downturn which slowed down sales, he added.

However, there was encouraging signs that the usage of cellular phone had not decreased despite an overall economic slowdown but sales of new connections had fallen, he remarked.

A Mobilink spokesman, when contacted, told The News “we have continued to sign up new customers, we have changed internal business rules for customer lifecycle and definition. This is purely a reporting matter and does not affect our results or operations in any other way. We continue to enjoy growth as more people join the Mobilink family every day and continue to be Pakistan’s favourite cellular company with the largest customer base.” The individual operator subscriber base figures in the PTA report were provided by the respective operators independently and “we cannot comment on their numbers,” he added.

Source: The news