Pakistan - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Pakistan - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Code: BC2015-43 | Published: Dec-2015 | Pages: 111 | Budde Communication Pty Ltd
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Pakistans SIM re-verification sees subscribers numbers fallWith mobile operators in Pakistan starting to shift their focus to value-added services, there was much anticipation in the market place when the PTA finally issued 3G licences through an auction process in 2014. Coming into 2015 the anticipation was well-founded as the roll-out of 3G services gave the sector a real boost. In fact 3G subscribers comprised 15percent of the total mobile subscriber base by September 2015. The overall mobile market claimed 140 million subscribers by mid-2014. However, coming into 2015, the sector then encountered a major problem when the government ordered re-verification of SIMs for security reasons. This saw a dramatic drop in total subscribers. Mobile penetration fell from 77percent in June 2014 to 61percent twelve months later. All signs in the second half of 2015 were pointing to a quick recovery.

Internet penetration remained low across the country. Broadband growth had almost been negligible for some years, but there were some positive signs in recent years. The big change has been the arrival of mobile broadband on a large scale in 2014. This has boosted overall broadband growth, helped also by intense competition in the market place. Of course, the granting of 3G - and 4G - licences in 2014 had certainly changed the broadband landscape.

As for the regulatory environment, the government had in fact started to assign the 3G licences way back in 2007. But delay after delay had occurred, much of which had not been properly explained by the authorities. Whilst the regulatory authorities had badly fumbled the task of auctioning the 3G licences, there was much of a positive nature in the Pakistan governments opening up of the telecom market. The progressive implementation of the reform plans over a number of years had triggered a period of strong growth in the local telecom market. Up until recently the energy and growth was predominantly in mobile services; as the mobile market moderates, the focus has shifted to broadband access in its various forms.

In the meantime, there has been no significant activity in fixed-line services as originally intended and in fact subscriptions in this sector are in decline. The government had initially focused on fixed lines setting out ambitious plans to increase fixed-line teledensity. After peaking at around 4percent in 2008, fixed penetration had fallen to around 3percent coming into 2015. And, at the same time, the majority of these fixed lines were in urban areas. A more balanced distribution would certainly be desirable in the longer term as 70percent of Pakistans population live in rural areas.

Control of internet content remained a big issue in Pakistan. The government has directed that the monitoring of websites for anti-Islam content be undertaken by the PTA, the telecom regulator. Amid growing concern about greater restrictions on internet access in the country, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HCRP), an independent body, has said that about 13,000 sites were inaccessible. The regulator said that the figure was closer to 2,000 sites.

Key developments:

total investment in the countrys telecom sector was steadily picking up after hitting a low point;
the government issued an urgent directive in early 2015 requiring re-verification of SIMs;
SIMs not verified were blocked, resulting in a dramatic fall in mobile subscriber numbers;
mobile subscriber numbers had fallen 18percent in the year to June 2015;
Mobilink remained the largest mobile player by subscribers with 29percent market share;
mobile operators Mobilink and Warid Telecom had reportedly agreed to merge;
3G subscribers comprised 15percent of the total mobile subscriber base by September 2015;
PTCL claimed 96percent of the declining fixed wireline subscriber market as of mid-2015;
government efforts to exercise control over the internet continue to draw criticism;
the E-Government Strategy for 2012-2015 is ongoing, as Pakistan tries to lift its lowly ranking;
mobile broadband services have totally overwhelmed the fixed broadband sector of the market;
fixed broadband penetration was around 1percent into 2015;
mobile broadband penetration was 10percent by mid-2015, with annual growth of around 100percent;
the MoITT sent the draft Telecommunications Policy 2015 to Cabinet for approval;
Public Call Offices (PCOs) numbers fell dramatically from 289,000 in 2013 to 53,900 in 2015.

Companies mentioned in this report
Pakistan Telecommunication Co Ltd (PTCL), Mobilink (PMCL), Ufone (PTML, PTCLs subsidiary), Telenor Pakistan, Warid Telecom, Zong (CMPak), WorldCall, TeleCard, Dancom Pakistan, FLAG Telecom Group, Special Communication Organization (SCO), National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC), Instaphone (Pakcom), Wateen Telecom.

Table of Contents


1. Key statistics
1.1 Country overview
1.1.1 Background
1.1.2 Economy
2. Telecommunications market
2.1 Overview
2.2 Revenue and investment levels
2.3 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
3. Regulatory environment
3.1 Overview
3.2 Regulatory authorities
3.2.1 Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT)
3.2.2 Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)
3.2.3 Problems undermining PTAs regulatory role
3.2.4 North Waziristan Agency (NWA)
3.2.5 Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)
3.2.6 Shut down of mobile networks - 2012 - 2015
3.3 Telecom sector liberalisation - background
3.4 Telecom Policy - 2015
3.5 Regulatory developments
3.5.1 Internet tax
3.5.2 Proposed new spectrum auction
3.5.3 International Clearing House (ICH) - background
3.5.4 International Clearing House (ICH) - developments and demise
3.5.5 Special regions of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K)
3.5.6 Infrastructure sharing
3.5.7 Zongs complaint to PTA
3.5.8 Censorship
4. Fixed network operators
4.1 Overview and statistics
4.2 Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)
4.2.1 Overview
4.2.2 Background
4.2.3 Financial performance
4.2.4 Privatisation of PTCL
4.3 Other fixed network operators
4.3.1 WorldCall group
4.3.2 TeleCard
4.3.3 Wateen Telecom
4.3.4 Licensing in Azad Jammu and Kashmir
5. Telecommunications infrastructure
5.1 National telecom network
5.1.1 Overview
5.1.2 Fixed line statistics
5.1.3 Forecasts - fixed line subscribers - 2015; 2017; 2020
5.1.4 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
5.1.5 Worldcall Telecom in dispute with PTA
5.1.6 Universal Service Fund (USF)
5.1.7 Fibre optic networks
5.1.8 Broadband networks
5.1.9 Payphones and Public Call Offices (PCOs)
5.1.10 Backhaul
5.2 International infrastructure
5.2.1 International gateways
5.2.2 Pakistan-India link
5.2.3 Submarine cable networks
5.2.4 Satellite networks and systems
5.3 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
6. Internet market
6.1 Overview
6.2 Internet and broadband statistics
6.3 Forecasts - Internet market - 2015; 2017; 2020
6.3.1 Scenario forecasts
6.4 Internet control and censorship
6.4.1 Developments
6.4.2 Background
6.5 ISP market
6.5.1 ISPs
7. Broadband market
7.1 Overview
7.2 Background
7.3 National Telecommunications Corp (NTC)
7.3.1 Developments
7.3.2 Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)
7.4 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
7.5 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
7.6 Cable modem
7.7 Wireless broadband
7.7.1 WiMAX
7.7.2 Internet via satellite
8. Digital media
8.1 Market overview
8.2 Regulatory issues
8.2.1 Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2002
8.2.2 Digital terrestrial broadcasting
8.3 Free-to-Air (FTA) broadcasting
8.3.1 Pakistan Television Corporation
8.3.2 Shalimar Television Network
8.4 Pay TV
8.5 Cable TV (CATV)
8.6 Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)
8.7 Direct to Home (DTH)
9. Digital economy
9.1 E-commerce
9.1.1 Overview
9.1.2 E-commerce action plan
9.1.3 Developments
9.2 E-government
9.2.1 Overview
9.2.2 Developments
9.3 E-education
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Overview
10.2 Background to development
10.3 Mobile statistics
10.4 Forecasts - mobile subscribers - 2015; 2017; 2020
10.4.1 Scenario forecasts
10.5 Third Generation (3G) licences
10.5.1 Background
10.5.2 Auction - April 2014
10.5.3 Licensing
10.5.4 Launch
10.6 Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
10.6.1 Licensing
10.6.2 Launches
10.6.3 Proposed second 3G/4G auction
10.7 Regulatory issues and developments
10.7.1 Mobile phone tax
10.7.2 Number portability (NP)
10.7.3 Control of SIMs - background
10.7.4 Control of SIMs - re-verification programme - 2015
10.7.5 Control of SIMs - Afghan services
10.8 Mobile voice services
10.8.1 Prepaid
10.9 Mobile data services
10.9.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
10.9.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
10.9.3 Blackberry
10.9.4 Mobile TV
10.9.5 M-commerce / m-banking
10.9.6 Innovation in mobile financial services
10.10 Mobile Operators
10.10.1 Mobile operator statistics
10.10.2 Mobilink (PMCL)
10.10.3 Ufone (PTCL)
10.10.4 Telenor Pakistan
10.10.5 Warid Telecom
10.10.6 Zong
10.10.7 Instaphone (Pakcom)
10.10.8 Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)
Table 1 - Country statistics - 2015
Table 2 - Telecom revenue and investment statistics - 2015
Table 3 - Telephone network statistics - June 2015
Table 4 - Internet user statistics - September 2015
Table 5 - Mobile statistics - September 2015
Table 6 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 - Pakistans real GDP growth rate - 2005 - 2016
Table 8 - Pakistans total telecom revenue - 2004 - 2015; 2020
Table 9 - Pakistans telecom investment - total and mobile - 2004 - 2015
Table 10 - Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in telecom sector - 2002 - 2015
Table 11 - Fixed-line licences issued by PTA - 2014
Table 12 - Fixed-line (wireline) subscribers by operator - June 2015
Table 13 - Fixed-line (wireless) subscribers by operator - 2013
Table 14 - Fixed-line (wireless) subscribers by operator - June 2015
Table 15 - PTCL fixed wireline subscribers - 2000 - 2015
Table 16 - PTCL WLL (fixed wireless) subscribers - 2005 - 2015
Table 17 - WorldCalls WLL (fixed wireless) subscribers - 2005 - 2015
Table 18 - WorldCalls fixed wireline subscribers - 2005 - 2015
Table 19 - TeleCards WLL (fixed) subscribers - 2005 - 2015
Table 20 - Wateen Telecoms WLL (fixed) subscribers - 2008 - 2015
Table 21 - Historical - fixed-line subscribers and penetration - 1991 - 2005
Table 22 - Fixed-line subscribers and penetration - 2006 - 2015
Table 23 - Fixed wireline subscribers - 2004 - 2015
Table 24 - Fixed wireline v. fixed wireless (WLL) subscribers - 2004 - 2015
Table 25 - Fixed wireline subscribers by operator and market share - June 2015
Table 26 - WLL subscribers - 2005 - 2015
Table 27 - Fixed-line (wireless) subscribers by operator - June 2015
Table 28 - Forecast fixed line subscribers - 2015; 2017; 2020
Table 29 - Public Call Offices (PCOs) - 1999 - 2015
Table 30 - Historical - internet users - 1995 - 2005
Table 31 - Internet users and user penetration - 2006 - 2015
Table 32 - Fixed internet subscribers - 1997; 2000 - 2015
Table 33 - Historical - dial-up internet subscribers - 2005 - 2011
Table 34 - Total broadband subscribers - 2004 - 2014
Table 35 - Total broadband subscribers - 2015
Table 36 - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2004 - 2015
Table 37 - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2004 - 2015
Table 38 - Broadband subscribers and market share by technology - September 2015
Table 39 - Fixed broadband subscribers and households - June 2015
Table 40 - Mobile broadband subscribers - 2015
Table 41 - Total international internet bandwidth - 2004 - 2015
Table 42 - Forecast fixed broadband internet subscribers - 2015; 2017; 2020
Table 43 - Broadband subscribers by type - 2009; 2012 - 2015
Table 44 - Mobile broadband subscribers - 2009 - 2015
Table 45 - PTCL broadband subscribers - 2007 - 2014
Table 46 - DSL broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2015
Table 47 - FttH subscribers - 2007 - 2015
Table 48 - Cable modem subscribers - 2008 - 2014
Table 49 - Wireless broadband subscribers - 2008 - 2015
Table 50 - WiMAX subscribers - 2008 - 2015
Table 51 - Key broadcasting statistics - 2014
Table 52 - Cable TV subscribers - 2003 - 2013
Table 53 - Historical - mobile subscribers - 1995 - 2005
Table 54 - Mobile subscribers - 2006 - 2015
Table 55 - 3G mobile subscribers - 2015
Table 56 - 3G, 4G and LTE mobile subscribers by operator - September 2015
Table 57 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - June 2015
Table 58 - Mobile operators, subscribers and market share - June 2015
Table 59 - Mobile services revenue - 1998 - 2015
Table 60 - Mobile services revenue - 2011 - 2015
Table 61 - Historical - overall ARPU across all mobile operators - 2002; 2004 - 2009
Table 62 - Forecast mobile subscribers - 2015; 2017; 2020
Table 63 - Proportion of prepaid mobile subscribers - 2005 - 2015
Table 64 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - June 2015
Table 65 - Mobile operators, subscribers and market share - May 2014
Table 66 - Mobile operators, subscribers and market share - June 2015
Table 67 - Mobilink (PCML) mobile subscribers - 2000 - 2015
Table 68 - Mobilink - 3G subscribers - 2015
Table 69 - Ufone (PTCL) subscribers - 2001 - 2015
Table 70 - Ufone - 3G subscribers - 2015
Table 71 - Telenor Pakistan subscribers - 2005 - 2015
Table 72 - Telenor - 3G subscribers - 2015
Table 73 - Telenor Pakistan - ARPU - 2009 - 2014
Table 74 - Warid Telecom subscribers - 2005 - 2015
Table 75 - Warid - 4G/LTE subscribers - 2015
Table 76 - Zong mobile subscribers - 2000 - 2015
Table 77 - Zong - 3G subscribers - 2014 - 2015
Table 78 - Zong - 4G subscribers - 2015
Table 79 - Historical - Instaphone (Pakcom) subscribers - 2000 - 2010
Chart 1 - GDP growth rate - 2005-2016
Chart 2 - FDI in telecom sector - 2005-2015
Chart 3 - PTCL fixed wireline subscribers - 2000-2015
Chart 4 - Fixed lines in service annual change and teledensity - 2006-2015
Chart 5 - Fixed wireline vs. fixed wireless subscribers - 2009-2015
Chart 6 - WLL subscribers by operator and market share - 2015
Chart 7 - Public Call Offices - 2005-2015
Chart 8 - Internet users 2006 - 2015
Chart 9 - Broadband Technology market share - September 2015
Chart 10 - Broadband subscribers by type - 2009-2015
Chart 11 - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration - 2006-2015
Chart 12 - Mobile operators and market share - June 2015
Chart 13 - Mobile operators and subscribers - June 2015
Chart 14 - Mobile operators and market share - June 2015
Chart 15 - Mobilink (PCML) subscribers - 2000-2015
Chart 16 - Ufone (PTCL) subscribers - 2001-2015
Chart 17 - Telenor Pakistan subscribers - 2005-2015
Chart 18 - Warid Telecom subscribers - 2005-2015
Chart 19 - Zong subscribers - 2005-2015

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