- PTA says data usage in country increased 77% in FY20 due to lockdown of coronavirus
- PTA says the country’s total broadband subscription has grown by 175% over the last five years
- PTA says Pakistan has the lowest affordability of telecom services in region
ISLAMABAD: An increase in the use of telecom services during the closure of the coronavirus led to a 129% increase in the sector’s tax contribution, with the sector paying Rs278 billion in the fiscal year 2019-2020, The News has reportedly cited in PTA report.
“A growth in demand for telecom services due to lockdown resulted in significant growth not only in subscriber base but also in the use of telecom services. Today, data usage stands at 4,498 Peta Bytes (FY2020) compared to 2,545 Peta Bytes (FY 2019) with a growth of more than 77%, ”said the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) in its annual report for the year 2020.
The report said that the “substantial growth” would not be recorded if the telecoms sector was not upgraded on time. The country currently has international bandwidth connectivity of 3.1 Tera Bytes and about 47,000 cell pages, 90% of which are 4G enabled sites.
The report stated that the total broadband subscription of the country, in the last five years, also grew by 175%.
Broadband subscribers in the country have exceeded 90 million, with the user base growing by almost 8% in FY2020. Pakistan has a total broadband penetration of 42.2% per FY2020.
“The telecommunications networks are currently available to 87% of the population and PTA is working with operators to increase their network coverage for the remaining 13% of the country’s unrestricted people,” the report added, “Total telecommunications density now stands at 82%. more than 172 million mobile and 2.2 million fixed subscriptions ”.
The report said that although foreign direct investment (FDI) across the economy was affected by global lockdowns in 2020, the telecom sector accounted for 25% or $ 623 million of the country’s total FDI last year.
The report said that the total investment in the country by local operators grew by 14.25% and a total of $ 734 million was invested locally, while the total revenue from the telecom sector climbed to Rs537 billion in FY 2020 with the most money generated by the mobile sector.
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It said the affordability of telecommunications services in the country has improved over the years and at present per GB broadband prices were as low as $ 0.20, adding that they were the lowest in the region.
The report stated that the government’s tax collection has also increased due to the Device Identification & Registration System (DIRBS) for tax collection on handset import. The local manufacturing of handsets had revived the telecom ecosystem, with growth in local 4G device industry crossing 34%.
5G trials conducted in Pakistan: PTA
The regulatory authority said the country was also witnessing 5G services, making it one of the few countries to test the technology in South Asia.
“PTA aims for spectrum auction of LTE, VoLTE services in 2021 as a precursor to 5G. The regulator is also preparing for the auction of spectrum for high-speed broadband services in AJK & GB, ”said the report.
PTA has issued 110 licenses for various telecom services this year and has issued 91 Initialization of Service Certificates to the operators, the report added.
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PTA has also conducted QoS surveys in Pakistan for data, voice and SMS services and the operators were targeted to take corrective action where they underperformed, the report added that PTA also conducted a number of successful raids this year against illegal VoIP institutions to restrict gray telephony,