According to the data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistic (PBS) on Tuesday, Pakistan’s cellphone imports went up by 51.5 per cent to $1.311 billion in 8MFY21 as compared to $865m in the same period last year.
Earlier PBS had reported that Pakistan had imported mobile phones worth $1.135 billion during July-January (2020-21) compared to $760.58 million in July-January (2019-20).
According to an official of a mobile company, the mobile phone market is now unbeatable with burgeoning demand in the price range of Rs10,000-40,000 in which many companies are competing with one another. The increase in the demand for reasonably priced smartphones can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the people to opt for online mediums for education, banking and shopping.
However, with a significant drop in cellphone smuggling, Pakistan’s mobile phone assembly segment also showed massive progress as it produced 1.21 million mobile phones in just two months (January and February) of 2021. The output was significantly higher compared to just 119,639 mobile phones assembled in the entire 2019.
According to a statement issued by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Wednesday, the implementation of Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) in 2019 has resulted in a noteworthy increase in legal imports of mobile devices. “These plants have produced over 25 million mobile devices including 4G smartphones after the introduction of DIRBS,” revealed PTA.
Observing the tremendous results of DIRBS, the government has announced a comprehensive mobile manufacturing policy to compel international manufacturers to establish their plants in the country.
Recently, Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque said that the government is promoting local mobile manufacturing in the country to bring down the high prices of cell phones.
‘’We want our people to be able to buy a good quality mobile phone from Rs8,000 to Rs12, 000 instead of paying Rs50, 000 to Rs100, 000”, said the Minister. He criticized the previous governments for their irresponsible behavior, saying that had this move been planned earlier, the prices of the mobile phones would have been low today and more employment opportunities could have been generated.
Currently, the telecom sector has come out as a prominent contributor to the country’s economy as despite the pressure from Covid19, its share in the national exchequer rose to 129% in 2020 compared to 2019.