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Pakistan - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Published By :

BuddeComm

Published Date : Nov 2013

Category :

Broadband

No. of Pages : 112 Pages

With a rudderless regulator, Pakistan’s telecom industry continues to wait for the 3G auction

Mobile operators in Pakistan have started to shift their focus to value-added services as slowing subscriber growth starts to impact. The operators have therefore been especially keen to see the issuing of 3G licences. The government had started a process to assign these licences back in 2007. By late 2013 however there had been no licences issued. Delay after delay had occurred, much of which had not been properly explained by the authorities.

In the meantime, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) was without a chairman and key board members. A local court had found that the initial appointment of the chairman did not follow established procedures for an openly advertised role and the incumbent was removed from the position. The situation that evolved where the regulatory authority was unable to act on a range of issues was nothing short of chaotic.

The 3G fiasco combined with the PTA leadership problem presented an ominous cloud over an otherwise energetic telecom sector in Pakistan.

The progressive implementation of the Pakistan government’s reform plans over a number of years has 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 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 3.5% coming into 2012. And, at the same time, the majority of these fixed lines were in urban areas. A more balanced distribution is certainly desirable in the longer term as 70% of Pakistan’s population lives in rural areas. Some good news in the fixed-line market came with the arrival of Wireless Local Loop (WLL) services and the licensing of a multitude of WLL operators. This technology has helped sustain what there is of a fixed-line segment. WLL services constituted around half of the total fixed-line subscriber base by 2012.

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 and this coverage was continuing to be expanded.

While mobile penetration was strong and continuing on its positive growth path, internet penetration remained at relatively low levels coming into 2012. 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. Broadband penetration remained relatively low, however, still sitting below 2%.

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.

Key highlights

  • Despite an overall slowing in the country’s telecom market, Pakistan continues to grow its mobile sector;
  • Mobile subscriber numbers were growing at close to 10% annually in 2011/2012, modest growth indeed compared with the earlier boom years;
  • By mid-2013 there were around 125 million mobile subscribers for a penetration of 70%;
  • Five mobile operators were competing vigorously for subscribers and revenue, all being able to claim a reasonable share of the market;
  • Fifth-ranked Warid Telecom, however, was struggling and by 2013 was being put up for sale by its owner the Abu Dhabi Group;
  • After many delays, 3G licensing looked as if it was proceeding in earnest with the auction scheduled for late 2013; it was more likely to be early 2014;
  • To allow the spectrum auction to happen as planned the Prime Minister had approved relevant policy directives in October 2013;
  • While Pakistan’s broadband internet penetration remained low in relative terms (less than 2% by mid-2013), there has been a significant surge recently in broadband services;
  • The growth in wireless-based broadband has been especially important, representing around over 50% of subscriptions by 2013;
  • Growth in the country’s fixed-line market remained sluggish, fixed teledensity standing at just over 3% in 2013, the numbers having actually fallen at times;
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 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
3.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
3.5 Regulatory developments
3.5.1 Late Night Phone Tariffs
3.5.2 International Clearing House
3.5.3 Operators accused of tax evasion
3.5.4 PTCL accused of anti-competitive practices
3.5.5 Dispute over origination charges resolved
3.5.6 Management of subscriber base
3.5.7 Special regions of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K)
3.5.8 National numbering scheme
3.5.9 Number portability (NP)
3.5.10 Infrastructure sharing
3.5.11 Security
3.5.12 Censorship

4. Major Fixed Network 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 Opening up of market
5.1.4 Rural services
5.1.5 Universal Service Fund (USF)
5.1.6 Mobile services
5.1.7 Fibre optic networks
5.1.8 Broadband networks
5.1.9 Payphones and Public Call Offices (PCOs)
5.1.10 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
5.1.11 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
5.1.12 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
6.6 ISP market
6.6.1 ISPs

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
7.7 Long Term Evolution (LTE)

8. Digital Media / Digital Economy
8.1 E-services
8.1.1 E-commerce
8.1.2 E-government
8.2 Broadcasting
8.2.1 Market overview
8.2.2 Regulatory issues
8.2.3 Free-to-Air (FTA) broadcasting
8.2.4 Pay TV
8.2.5 Cable TV (CATV)
8.2.6 Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)

9. Mobile Communications
9.1 Overview
9.2 Customer satisfaction
9.3 Background to development
9.4 Mobile statistics
9.5 Additional mobile licences
9.6 Third Generation (3G) licences
9.7 Regulatory issues and developments
9.7.1 Number portability
9.7.2 Control of SIMs
9.7.3 Consumer rights
9.7.4 Licensing in Azad Jammu and Kashmir
9.7.5 Levee on handsets
9.8 Mobile voice services
9.8.1 Prepaid
9.8.2 Satellite mobile
9.9 Mobile data services
9.9.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
9.9.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
9.9.3 Blackberry
9.9.4 Mobile TV
9.9.5 M-commerce / mobile banking
9.9.6 Innovation in mobile financial services
9.10 Major mobile operators
9.10.1 Overview
9.10.2 Mobile operator statistics
9.10.3 Mobilink (PMCL)
9.10.4 Ufone (PTCL)
9.10.5 Telenor Pakistan
9.10.6 Warid Telecom
9.10.7 Zong
9.10.8 Instaphone (Pakcom)

10. Forecasts
10.1 Forecast – fixed line market – 2015; 2020
10.2 Forecast – mobile market – 2015; 2020
10.3 Forecast – Internet market – 2015; 2020

List of Table

Table 1 – Country statistics – 2013
Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2011
Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2012
Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2012
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – May 2013
Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 – Pakistan’s real GDP growth rate – 2005 - 2014
Table 8 – Pakistan’s total telecom revenue – 2004 - 2012
Table 9 – Pakistan’s telecom investment – total and mobile - 2004 - 2012
Table 10 – Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in telecom sector – 2002 - 2011
Table 11 – ‘Fixed-line’ licences issued by PTA – 2012
Table 12 – Fixed-line (wireline) subscribers by operator – June 2012
Table 13 – Fixed-line (wireless) subscribers by operator – September 2012
Table 14 – PTCL fixed wireline subscribers – 2000 - 2012
Table 15 – PTCL WLL (fixed wireless) subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 16 – WorldCall’s WLL (fixed wireless) subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 17 – WorldCall’s fixed wireline subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 18 – TeleCard’s WLL (fixed) subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 19 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1991 - 2013
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 – June 2012
Table 23 – Growth in Public Call Offices (PCOs) – 1999 - 2009
Table 24 – WLL subscribers – 2005 - 2013
Table 25 – Fixed-line (wireless) subscribers by operator – September 2012
Table 26 – Internet users – 1995 - 2013
Table 27 – Fixed internet subscribers – 1997; 2000 - 2013
Table 28 – Broadband subscribers – 2004 - 2013
Table 29 – Broadband subscribers by technology – 2012 - 2013
Table 30 – Broadband subscribers and households – April 2013
Table 31 – Total international internet bandwidth – 2004 - 2013
Table 32 – Broadband subscribers by type – 2009: 2011 - 2013
Table 33 – PTCL broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2012
Table 34 – DSL broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2013
Table 35 – FttH subscribers – 2007 - 2013
Table 36 – Wireless broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2013
Table 37 – WiMAX subscribers – 2008 - 2013
Table 38 – Mobile broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2013
Table 39 – Key broadcasting statistics – 2012
Table 40 – Cable TV subscribers – 2003 - 2012
Table 41 – Mobile subscribers – 1995 - 2013
Table 42 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – May 2013
Table 43 – Mobile operators, subscribers and market share – May 2013
Table 44 – Mobile services revenue – 1998 - 2012
Table 45 – Mobile services revenue – 2011 - 2012
Table 46 – Overall ARPU across all mobile operators – 2002; 2004 - 2009
Table 47 – Mobile monthly ARPU by operator – 2009
Table 48 – Proportion of prepaid mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 49 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – March 2013
Table 50 – Mobile operators, subscribers and market share – March 2013
Table 51 – Mobilink (PCML) subscribers – 2000 - 2013
Table 52 – Ufone (PTCL) subscribers – 2001 - 2013
Table 53 – Telenor Pakistan subscribers – 2005 - 2013
Table 54 – Telenor Pakistan - ARPU – 2009 - 2012
Table 55 – Warid Telecom subscribers – 2005 - 2013
Table 56 – Zong subscribers – 2000 - 2013
Table 57 – Instaphone (Pakcom) subscribers – 2000 - 2010
Table 58 – Forecast fixed line subscribers – 2015; 2020
Table 59 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2015; 2020
Table 60 – Forecast internet subscribers – 2015; 2020

List of Chart

Chart 1 - GDP growth rate - 2005-2014
Chart 2 - FDI in telecom sector - 2002-2011
Chart 3 - PTCL fixed wireline subscribers - 2000-2012
Chart 4 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2001-2013(e)
Chart 5 - Fixed wireline vs. fixed wireless subscribers - 2004-2013
Chart 6 - Growth in Public Call Offices - 1999-2009
Chart 7 - WLL subscribers by operator and market share - September 2012
Chart 8 - Internet users 2000-2013
Chart 9 - Internet and broadband subscribers 2004-2013
Chart 10 - Broadband subscribers by type - 2009-2013
Chart 11 - Broadband, FttH and WIMAX subscribers - 2008-2013
Chart 12 - Mobile subscribers - 2000-2013
Chart 13 - Mobile operators, subscribers and market share - May 2013
Chart 14 - Mobile services revenue - 1998-2012
Chart 15 - Proportion of prepaid mobile subscribers - 2005-2012
Chart 16 - Mobile operators and subscribers – March 2013
Chart 17 - Mobile operators and market share – March 2013
Chart 18 - Mobilink (PCML) subscribers - 2000-2013
Chart 19 - Ufone (PTCL) subscribers - 2001-2013
Chart 20 - Telenor Pakistan subscribers - 2005-2013
Chart 21 - Warid Telecom subscribers - 2005-2013
Chart 22 - Zong subscribers - 2005-2013
Chart 23 - Instaphone (Pakcom) subscribers - 2000-2009
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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