Rs3.6bn set aside for telecom sector
ISLAMABAD, June 11: The Government on Wednesday earmarked Rs3.6 billion for development of telecommunication industry.
According to the Annual Plan 2008-09, National Telecommuni-cation Corporation (NTC) and Special Communication Organization (SCO) and Suparco would undertake 35 projects worth Rs30 billion.
NTC and SCO are the two telecommunication organizations working under the government umbrella.
According to the plan, NTC would provide secure data and broadband services worth Rs200 million and replace existing exchanges with new Lawful Interception compliant IP version exchanges at a cost of Rs78 million. SCO would also set up microwave link between the twin cities and Northern Areas including Gilgit at the project cost of Rs490 million and would be completed by June 2010. SCO would also provide new digital system and network in AJK at a cost of Rs1.5 billion.
Suparco envisaged designing, developing and launching a Rs17.5 billion geo-stationary communication satellite (PAKSAR-1R) to replace the leased communication satellite (PAKSAT-1).
Suparco would also provide COSPAS-SARSAT Station upgradation that provides assistance in search and rescue operations of ships, aircrafts, and land mobiles in distress. The project would cost Rs98.9 million.
The Rs439.8 million worth Satellite Bus Development Facility and Rs323.6 million worth SAINT Facility (integration and test facility for small-to-medium satellites) were some of the other projects Suparco would undertake to enhance telecom sector in Pakistan.
As of April 2008, the tele-density in Pakistan stands at 57.4 per cent (fixed and mobile), whereas last year in June
2007, this tele-density was 44.1 per cent (fixed and mobile).
Of the six private cellular companies operating in Pakistan, Mobilink sold maximum connections – 31.9 million by April 2008 compared with 26.5 million as of June 2007. U-Fone followed at 17.5 million connections sold as of April 2008 compared with 14 million as of June 2007. Telenor has sold 17.3 million connections by April 2008 compared with 10.7 million as of June 2007, Warid 14.8 million as of April 2008 compared with 10.6 million as of June 2007, China Mobile sold 3.2 million connections against one million as of June 2007 and Instaphone stood at 0.3 million as of April 2008 compared with 0.3 million as of June 2007.
PTCL stood at 4.69 million as of April 2008 compared with 4.67 million fixed line connections as of June 2007. Other fixed lines grew by 0.26 million connections as of April 2008 against 0.25 in June 2007, PTCL WLL sold 1.39 million connections against 1.13 million as of June 2007 and other WLL grew up to 1.04 million as of April 2008 against 0.75 million as of June 2007.