Pakistan needs to manufacture mobile phones: minister | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Pakistan needs to manufacture mobile phones: minister

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif on Monday said Pakistan was the seventh largest market of cellular users in the world with 191 million cellular connections, but most of the mobile phones were imported in the country.

“We need to manufacture them locally and develop an industry to export made-in-Pakistan phones,” the minister said at the ‘Pakistan mobile summit.’

Dr Saif said the number of broadband users in Pakistan was more than the entire population of Canada and the number of social media users in Pakistan was more than the entire population of many countries in Europe.

He expressed optimism about the industry’s potential for growth and the positive impact on the country’s economy.

He said the country had assembled around nine million mobile phones worth around $1.5 billion during the last two years, and out of it nearly 250,000 mobile phones were exported, earning $200 million.

There were 35 brands involved in local mobile phone manufacturing industry. The minister spoke about efforts being made to manufacture components at the local level.

“The government has decided to grant three per cent research and development (R&D) allowance to mobile manufacturers from the next fiscal year,” the caretaker minister added.

This decision is expected to encourage and support local mobile manufacturers in their research and development endeavours.

“The move aligns with the government’s broader strategy to boost the technology sector and promote self-sufficiency in the production of electronic devices within Pakistan,” he added.

He expressed confidence that 5G services in the country would be launched by July-August in the current year, and a 300MHz spectrum would be offered for auction.

However, the minister added that before the launch of 5G services, the optic fibre network had to be enhanced.

Currently, only 6,000 mobile towers are related to optic fibre cables (OFC) out of around 56,000 towers across the country.

Meanwhile, Ali Naseer, Chief Data and Strategy Officer, and Kazim Mujtaba, Chief Commercial Officer Jazz, said the summit had provided industry stakeholders with a robust platform to address longstanding issues and enable a truly digital Pakistan.

However, they called for consistency and collaboration among all stakeholders to bridge the existing digital divide and match the pace with the rest of the world.

They highlighted the need for a conducive regulatory environment, investment in research and development and realigning efforts to not just keep up but to lead. They said out of 68 million handsets assembled locally since 2020, only 23 million were smartphones, adding there was a need to promote 4G in Pakistan.

Source: Dawn

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