Advertisement

3G/4G users cross 60 mn mark while PTA slashes off-net charges

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

News Desk |

The number of data subscribers crossed the mark of 60 million in Pakistan as the customer’s utility of the mobile broadband internet continued to grow for their personal and commercial use.

According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the telecom operators added more than 3.94 million data subscribers in the first four month of financial year 2018-9, which surged to stand at 60.2 million by end of October 2018 from the subscribers’ base of 56.08 million, which stood at the start of the financial year since July.

Jazz was followed by Zong with an increase of 1.04 million subscribers’ into the base of mobile internet standing at 17.66 million. Telenor added 93,528 mobile broadband users during the period under review.

The penetration of the mobile broadband internet stands at 28.89 percent in the overall teledensity of 73.23 percent, showing an impressive rate of migration of mobile phone users from the basic telephony service of mobile phone network to the high-speed broadband internet.

Among the overall addition of 3.94 million, Ufone has added the highest number of mobile broadband users, which stood at 1.47 million. It subscribers base of 3G users reached 8.1 million—an all-time high mark so far since the introduction of broadband internet service.
It is interesting to mention here that Ufone is the only operator in the country with 3G services whilst the rest of three operators offer 3G and 4G services in separate part of the country.

Read more: Supreme Court of Pakistan suspends mobile card taxes

Industry analysts said the mobile companies with speedy and uninterrupted broadband internet services have succeeded to grab maximum share in the overall addition of subscribers in the telecom sector. They were of the view that the growth of internet users depend upon the expansion of the network and the performance of the network’s technology besides the competitiveness of packages cost offered by different operators.

As per PTA data, Jazz added 1.32 million mobile internet subscribers during the period of July to October. Its total subscribers’ base of 3G and 4G services stood at 20.5 million. Jazz was followed by Zong with an increase of 1.04 million subscribers’ into the base of mobile internet standing at 17.66 million. Telenor added 93,528 mobile broadband users during the period under review.

According to a mobile operator executive, “The regulator, it appears, couldn’t withstand the pressure from the larger operators as a big portion of their revenues came from MTR. (Still) something is better than nothing.”

Its base stood at 13.72m by Oct. The growth in the uptake of data service and their users give impetus to the economic activities of the country. A study by GSMA stated 10 percent increase in broadband usage increases GDP growth by 1.38 percent while 10 percent increase in usage from 2G to 3G services increases GDP by 0.15 percent.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has decided to reduce the off-net call charges. The mobile termination rates (MTR) have been reduced by PTA. Basically, mobile termination rate is the rate that telecom operators charge when a user receives a call from any other service, international & long distance. Earlier the MTR was PKR 0.90 per minute, now PTA has decided to reduce it to PKR 0.80 per minute. The new charges of off-net calls will be implemented in Pakistan from the start of 2019.

The new price rate has been fixed by PTA after taking all the mobile operators in confidence. It was back in 2010 when the interconnect usage price was fixed. “Review of Mobile Termination Rates” is a PTA consultation paper that has named the MTR rates in Pakistan 111-198% more than other countries comparable.

Read more: CJP questions the illegal high taxes on mobile users

This study that was conducted last year suggested that off-net charges be reduced to Rs0.80 per minute from 1st December 2017 to Nov 30, 2018, and then further decreased to Rs0.70 per minute December onwards. But unfortunately, this never got implemented.

The step that has been taken now to reduce the MTR will be beneficial for the users and it increases competition. According to a mobile operator executive, “The regulator, it appears, couldn’t withstand the pressure from the larger operators as a big portion of their revenues came from MTR. (Still) something is better than nothing.”

Latest