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News Analysis |

A few months ago, Anousha Rehman, Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication stated that the introduction of 5G in Pakistan would accelerate the speed of technological development in the country. PTA has eventually asked the Telecommunication sector for 5G trials.

The decision was taken in a meeting, chaired by Premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at the Prime Minister office in Islamabad.

Telecommunication sector is already brimming with taxes while the adoption of expensive licenses will force the network providers to raise the cost of technology for the users

Directives were issued under Section 8 of the PTA, 1996 Act to enable the testing of 5G Technology in Pakistan. Since it is only on trial phase, the operators will not be commercially charging the users, PTA is yet to compose a comprehensive framework for its auction and allocation of the spectrum to various network providers for the testing purpose.

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Pakistan telecom operators envision the adoption of 5G by 2021. It is expected to arrive in India by 2020. India has already embarked on getting the essential structure in place that will be needed for adopting this advance technology mandatory.

The government of India has recently set a high-level forum to discuss and formulate a roadmap for directing the successful embracing of the 5G Technology.

Along with comprehending a realizable plan for the technological advancement, the increased Internet penetration must run in parallel, if the government wants to harness benefits to tenfold

However, nothing can be said pertaining to the status of the 5G trials in India, but, in Pakistan, Minister Anousha Rehman proclaimed that with the initial introduction of 5G this year, Pakistan would be the first country to test 5G in the entire South Asian region.

Indeed the introduction of technological evolution in a country is an important step in its developmental course. The 5G spectrum will not be officially auctioned for a while yet, and if the experience of 3G and 4G introduction is anything to go by it may be many years away. It isn’t clear yet how the PTA will allocate the bands of the 5G spectrum to various telecom companies. Zong has already expressed an interest to bid.

Initial tests done show that 5G will be at least a 100 times faster than the current speed of 4G technology. Ideally, the introduction of 5G will harness greater connectivity and will give Pakistan an upward surge in its journey of achieving SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) by 2030. Anousha Rehman also announced earlier this year, that the government was working on a project which would provide at least one mobile tower per 100 users in every village by 2030.

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Statistics of Internet

Currently, Pakistan has around 40 million combined users of 3G/4G technology, which makes up around 20% of the entire population. According to the World Bank statistics, Pakistan stands fourth in the list of the offline population, alongside African countries. But still better than India, and Indonesia, where former top the list.

It was due to the introduction of 3G/4G that increased the internet penetration to 12,% which was merely standing at 2% before that. 3% of the population is thought will avail the 5G when introduced.

Potentials of Growth

The internet aids in looping the remote areas into the development circle, how can Pakistan dream of achieving sustainable development when the majority of the population is not embedded in this loop of development?

Despite carrying improbable potentials of expansion, the lower internet penetration in the population beset the progressive upsurge and expansion of the Telecommunication industry

Myriad issues are responsible for the stagnation in the Telecommunication industry for Pakistan. Despite carrying the potential for expansion, the low internet penetration in the population has beset the progressive expansion of the Telecommunication industry.

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If the application of 5G Technology is confined to that 3% population, it will mean that the remaining 97% population is void of extracting any opportunities of individual advancement from this evolution.

Along with realizing a comprehensive plan for the technological advancement, the increased Internet penetration must run in parallel, if the government wants to harness benefits to tenfold.

Despite carrying improbable potentials of expansion, the lower internet penetration in the population beset the progressive upsurge and expansion of the Telecommunication industry

With an inept wireless broadband landscape in Pakistan and still costly mobile-broadband services, there is a heavy reliance of those scanty users of the internet on 3G/4G for their connectivity needs.

Telecommunication sector is already highly taxed, while the adoption of expensive licenses will force the network providers to raise the cost of technology for the users.

The government needs to channel its resources towards expanding the mobile network coverage all over Pakistan that will give the economies of scale to the providers and the users that will trigger the fast adoption and dissemination of the technology.

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