129% increase in telecom revenue amid lockdown

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) on Friday said that the share of telecom sector in the national exchequer has increased by 129 per cent in the financial year ending in 1920.

Sharing its annual report 2020, the PTA highlighted that the increase in demand for telecom services due to lockdowns has resulted in a significant increase not only in customer bases but also in the use of telecom services.

As of the end of December 2020, data usage was 4,498 petabytes (PB), compared to 2,545 PB in December 2019 – an increase of more than 77%, the report said. One PB is equal to 1000 terabytes (TB).

Data usage increased by 77pc to 4,498 petabytes

“If this network had not been upgraded, this significant development would not have been possible,” the PTA said, adding that the country currently has an internationally standardized 3.1TB and 47, 000 cell sites, including 90pc 4G-enabled sites.

By the end of 2020, broadband subscribers had crossed 90 million in the country, showing a growth rate of 8pc compared to 2019.

Total broadband penetration across the country reached 42.2pc. Telecom networks are currently available to a population of 87pc.

The report says PTA is working with operators to increase its network coverage for the remaining 13% of the country’s insecure people. The report further states that the total number of televisions in the country is 82pc.

Due to the increase in business volume, the telecommunications sector has emerged as a significant contributor to the Pakistani economy as compared to FY19, while the economy is under pressure due to the epidemic of Covid 19. In the current financial year, the sector had disbursed Rs. 1278 billion out of Rs. 202 billion.

The PTA’s annual report highlights that in the last five years, the country’s total broadband purchases have increased by 175%.

Despite the negative impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) on the economy due to the global lockdown, the telecom sector accounted for the total FDI inflows into the country during the fiscal year ending June 2020. 25pc or 3 623 million. Local operators were up. 734 million in FY20, up 14.25pc from the previous fiscal year.

In FY20, the total revenue of this sector reached Rs. 5537 billion, which is mainly derived from the mobile sector.

The report claims that telecom customers have been equally benefited financially. He added, “The affordable capacity of telecom services in Pakistan has improved over the years and currently GB broadband prices are as low as 0.20 which is the lowest in the region.”

The regulator said that due to the device identification and registration system, the collection of tax on the import of handsets has multiplied the government revenue.

Updated: January 16, 2021 — 5:36 am

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