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Pakistan - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

  • November 2014
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 124 pages

Auction of 3G licences in Pakistan provides a much-needed boost to the country's telecom sector
With 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 April 2014.

The government had in fact started to assign these licences way back in 2007. But delay after delay had occurred, much of which had not been properly explained by the authorities. When the licences were finally issued there were rapid network rollouts by the four operators that had secured licences at auction. In the meantime, overall mobile subscriber growth was continuing at a healthy rate of around 10% as the total number of subscribers passed 140 million in mid-2014.

Whilst the regulatory authorities had badly fumbled the task of auctioning the 3G licences, there was much of a positive nature in the Pakistan government's 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.

Earlier on Pakistan's telecom market had struggled with the transition from a regulated state-owned monopoly to a deregulated and competitive environment. The government initially focused on fixed lines setting out ambitious plans to increase fixed-line teledensity. After peaking at around 4% in 2008, fixed penetration had fallen to around 3% coming into 2014. 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 70% of Pakistan's population live in rural areas. Some good news in the fixed-line market seemed to come with the arrival of Wireless Local Loop (WLL) services and the licensing of a multitude of WLL operators. This technology helped sustain what the limited fixed-line segment. WLL services constituted around half of the total fixed-line subscriber base by 2012, but this market segment had also started a decline by 2014.

Meanwhile, the focus of the market changed; the whole telecom landscape in Pakistan having shifted to mobile services with a phenomenal expansion occurring in this sector from 2005/2006 onwards. The number of mobile subscribers jumped from less than two million to 100 million in just eight years. Interestingly, despite the significant tightening of the national economy during 2009 the mobile market continued to expand at an annual rate of between 5% and 10%. The mobile networks were already covering well in excess of 90% of the population by then and this coverage continued on its expansion path.

While mobile penetration was strong and continuing its positive growth, internet penetration remained at relatively low levels coming into 2014. Broadband growth had been of particular concern with almost negligible growth for many years; finally, 2008/09 saw a promising upsurge in broadband subscriptions and this fresh growth pattern growth looked to be continuing, boosted by the spread of competition throughout the market and the increased adoption of wireless broadband solutions. Total broadband penetration remained relatively low, however, sitting at around 2% by mid-2014.

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. By 2012, amid growing concern about greater restrictions on internet access in the country, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HCRP), an independent body, said that already about 13,000 sites were inaccessible.

The regulator said that the figure was closer to 2,000 sites. By 2013 the censorship of the internet by the government was becoming more intense. In a move in the opposite direction, in May 2014 Pakistan's parliament voted unanimously to lift a ban on YouTube which had been blocked in the country since 2012.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year

Table Of Contents

Pakistan - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts
1. Key Statistics
1.1 Country overview
1.1.1 Background
1.1.2 Economy
2. Telecommunications Market
2.1 Overview
2.2 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 Overview
3.2 Background to development
3.3 Regulatory authorities
3.3.1 Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT)
3.3.2 Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)
3.3.3 PTA's administrative actions
3.3.4 Problems undermining PTA's regulatory role
3.3.5 North Waziristan Agency (NWA)
3.3.6 Shut down of mobile networks
3.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
3.5 Telecom Policy - 2014
3.6 Regulatory developments
3.6.1 Late night phone tariffs
3.6.2 International Clearing House (ICH) - background
3.6.3 International Clearing House (ICH) developments - 2014
3.6.4 Operators accused of tax evasion
3.6.5 PTCL accused of anti-competitive practices
3.6.6 Dispute over origination charges resolved
3.6.7 Special regions of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJandK)
3.6.8 National numbering scheme
3.6.9 Number portability (NP)
3.6.10 Infrastructure sharing
3.6.11 Security
4. Fixed Line Operators
4.1 Overview
4.2 Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)
4.2.1 Overview
4.2.2 Background
4.2.3 PTCL and the regulation of tariffs
4.2.4 Financial performance
4.2.5 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 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
5.1.4 Worldcall Telecom in dispute with PTA
5.1.5 Background to opening up of market
5.1.6 Rural services
5.1.7 Universal Service Fund (USF)
5.1.8 Mobile services
5.1.9 Fibre optic networks
5.1.10 Broadband networks
5.1.11 Payphones and Public Call Offices (PCOs)
5.1.12 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
5.1.13 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 Infrastructure developments
5.3.1 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
6. Internet Market
6.1 Overview
6.2 Background
6.3 Internet and broadband statistics
6.4 Major government initiatives
6.5 Internet control and censorship
6.5.1 Background
6.5.2 Developments 2012 / 2013
6.6 ISP market
6.6.1 ISPs
6.7 E-services
6.7.1 E-commerce
6.7.2 E-government
6.7.3 E-education
7. Broadband Market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Infrastructure development
7.1.2 Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)
7.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
7.3 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
7.4 Cable modem
7.5 Wireless broadband
7.5.1 WiMAX
7.5.2 Internet via satellite
7.6 Mobile broadband
7.6.1 Long Term Evolution (LTE)
8. Digital Media / Digital Economy
8.1 Broadcasting
8.1.1 Market overview
8.1.2 Regulatory issues
8.1.3 Free-to-Air (FTA) broadcasting
8.1.4 Pay TV
8.1.5 Cable TV (CATV)
8.1.6 Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)
9. Mobile Communications
9.1 Overview
9.1.1 Background to development
9.2 Mobile statistics
9.3 Third Generation (3G) licences
9.3.1 Background
9.3.2 Auction 2013 / 2014
9.3.3 Licensing
9.3.4 Launch
9.4 Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
9.5 Regulatory issues and developments
9.5.1 Number portability
9.5.2 Control of SIMs
9.5.3 Licensing in Azad Jammu and Kashmir
9.5.4 Levee on handsets
9.6 Mobile voice services
9.6.1 Prepaid
9.6.2 Satellite mobile
9.7 Mobile data services
9.7.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
9.7.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
9.7.3 Blackberry
9.7.4 Mobile TV
9.7.5 M-commerce / m-banking
9.7.6 Innovation in mobile financial services
9.8 Major mobile operators
9.8.1 Overview
9.8.2 Mobile operator statistics
9.8.3 Mobilink (PMCL)
9.8.4 Ufone (PTCL)
9.8.5 Telenor Pakistan
9.8.6 Warid Telecom
9.8.7 Zong
9.8.8 Instaphone (Pakcom)
9.8.9 Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)
10. Forecasts
10.1 Forecasts Fixed Line Market 2015; 2020
10.2 Forecasts Internet Market 2015; 2020
10.3 Forecasts Mobile Market 2015; 2020
Table 1 Country statistics 2014
Table 2 Telecom revenue and investment statistics 2012
Table 3 Telephone network statistics 2013
Table 4 Internet user statistics 2013
Table 5 Mobile statistics May 2014
Table 6 National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 Pakistan's real GDP growth rate 2005 - 2015
Table 8 Pakistan's total telecom revenue 2004 2013; 2020
Table 9 Pakistan's telecom investment total and mobile - 2004 - 2013
Table 10 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in telecom sector 2002 - 2013
Table 11 Fixed-line' licences issued by PTA 2014
Table 12 Fixed-line (wireline) subscribers by operator September 2013
Table 13 Fixed-line (wireless) subscribers by operator 2013
Table 14 PTCL fixed wireline subscribers 2000 - 2013
Table 15 PTCL WLL (fixed wireless) subscribers 2005 - 2013
Table 16 WorldCall's WLL (fixed wireless) subscribers 2005 - 2013
Table 17 WorldCall's fixed wireline subscribers 2005 - 2013
Table 18 TeleCard's WLL (fixed) subscribers 2005 - 2013
Table 19 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1991 - 2014
Table 20 Fixed wireline subscribers 2004 - 2013
Table 21 Fixed wireline v. fixed wireless (WLL) subscribers 2004 - 2013
Table 22 Fixed wireline subscribers by operator and market share September 2013
Table 23 WLL subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 24 Fixed-line (wireless) subscribers by operator 2013
Table 25 Public Call Offices (PCOs) 1999 - 2013
Table 26 Internet users 1995 - 2014
Table 27 Fixed internet subscribers 1997; 2000 - 2014
Table 28 Historical - dial-up internet subscribers 2005 - 2011
Table 29 Total broadband subscribers 2004 - 2014
Table 30 Fixed broadband subscribers 2004 - 2014
Table 31 Broadband subscribers and market share by technology April 2014
Table 32 Fixed broadband subscribers and households April 2014
Table 33 Total international internet bandwidth 2004 - 2014
Table 34 Broadband subscribers by type 2009: 2011 - 2013
Table 35 PTCL broadband subscribers 2007 - 2013
Table 36 DSL broadband subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 37 FttH subscribers 2007 - 2014
Table 38 Cable modem subscribers 2008 - 2012
Table 39 Wireless broadband subscribers 2008 - 2013
Table 40 WiMAX subscribers 2008 - 2014
Table 41 Mobile broadband subscribers 2009 - 2014
Table 42 Key broadcasting statistics 2013
Table 43 Cable TV subscribers 2003 - 2013
Table 44 Mobile subscribers 1995 - 2014
Table 45 Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change May 2014
Table 46 Mobile operators, subscribers and market share May 2014
Table 47 Mobile services revenue 1998 - 2013
Table 48 Mobile services revenue 2011 - 2012
Table 49 Historical - overall ARPU across all mobile operators 2002; 2004 - 2009
Table 50 Mobile monthly ARPU by operator 2009
Table 51 Proportion of prepaid mobile subscribers 2005 - 2013
Table 52 Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change May 2014
Table 53 Mobile operators, subscribers and market share May 2014
Table 54 Mobilink (PCML) subscribers 2000 - 2014
Table 55 Ufone (PTCL) subscribers 2001 - 2014
Table 56 Telenor Pakistan subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 57 Telenor Pakistan - ARPU 2009 - 2012
Table 58 Warid Telecom subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 59 Zong subscribers 2000 - 2014
Table 60 Historical - Instaphone (Pakcom) subscribers 2000 - 2010
Table 61 Forecast fixed line subscribers 2015; 2020
Table 62 Forecast internet subscribers 2015; 2020
Table 63 Forecast mobile subscribers 2015; 2020
Chart 1 - GDP growth rate - 2005-2015
Chart 2 - FDI in telecom sector - 2004-2013
Chart 3 - PTCL fixed wireline subscribers - 2000-2013
Chart 4 - Fixed lines in service annual change and teledensity - 2005-2014
Chart 5 - Fixed wireline vs. fixed wireless subscribers - 2005-2013
Chart 6 - WLL subscribers by operator and market share - 2013
Chart 7 Public Call Offices - 1999-2013
Chart 8 - Internet users 2005 - 2014
Chart 9 - Internet and broadband subscribers 2004-2014
Chart 10 - Broadband Technology market share - April 2014
Chart 11 - Broadband subscribers by type - 2009-2013
Chart 12 - Broadband, FttH and WIMAX subscribers - 2008-2014
Chart 13 - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration - 2000-2014
Chart 14 - Mobile operators and market share - May 2014
Chart 15 - Mobile operators and subscribers May 2014
Chart 16 - Mobile operators and market share May 2014
Chart 17 - Mobilink (PCML) subscribers - 2000-2014
Chart 18 - Ufone (PTCL) subscribers - 2001-2014
Chart 19 - Telenor Pakistan subscribers - 2005-2014
Chart 20 - Warid Telecom subscribers - 2005-2014
Chart 21 - Zong subscribers - 2005-2014
Exhibit 1 Long Distance International (LDI) licensees 2011
Exhibit 2 Local Loop (LL) licensees 2011
Exhibit 3 Wireless Local Loop (WLL) licensees and status- 2013
Exhibit 4 PTCL subsidiary companies
Exhibit 5 Joint ventures and affiliated companies

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