Internet Data Usage Soars in Pakistan

Soaring broadband subscriptions in Pakistan have helped drive a whopping 35X increase in Internet data usage since January 2014.

Rapid Rise in Broadband Subscription in Pakistan

As the number of broadband subscriptions in Pakistan crossed 38 million in October 2016,  the internet data usage jumped from 1,243 terabytes in January 2014 to 45,672 terabytes in September, 2016, according to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

A lot of new data traffic is being driven by 3G/4G equipped smartphones running a variety of applications ranging from social media to consumer and business apps.


Mobile Broadband:

Mobile broadband (3G/4G) subscriptions have jumped from almost zero in 2014 to 34 million as of September, 2016.  It has been accompanied by corresponding increase in the number of smartphones which is expected to cross 40 million mark this year.

Applications:

Growth of 3G/4G networks and smartphones has spawned a variety of applications from social media apps to business, education and entertainment apps. Use of Facebook, Twitter and Youtube has soared.  E-commerce is growing. Taxi-hailing service Uber has arrived in the country. Netflix has entered the Pakistani market. Government is making use of the Internet applications to deliver services.

Digital Cable, DTH:

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) is pushing all cable service providers to support digital television. PEMRA is also auctioning Direct-to-Home (DTH) service which is digital. Both of these mediums will help increase internet broadband penetration in the country and bring more and more people on line.

Internet Infrastructure:

Rapid growth of data is driving infrastructure improvements in Pakistan. Tens of thousands of kilometers of fiber is being laid to cope with rising Internet traffic.  Universal Service Fund (USF) alone has installed 5,500 kilometers of fiber in underserved areas of the country to increase digital inclusion.

Pakistan currently has 16 data centers: 8 in Karachi, 5 in Lahore and 3 in Islamabad. The numbers are expected to grow significantly with growing demand.

Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has set up the first Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Islamabad and more are planned for other major cities. IXPs connect Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) like Amazon and Akamai to facilitate faster delivery of web pages and other content to users.

Digital Inclusion:

Beginning in October 2016,  Pakistani government is giving away five million smartphones to farmers in the country in an effort to improve knowledge of modern farming techniques, according to the BBC. Large numbers of farmers in countries such as India and Kenya have also recently experimented with smartphone technology.

In addition, the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) has announced plans to give away 30,000 smartphones with 3G subscriptions funded by Universal Service Fund (USF) to low income Pakistanis on BISP.  Each smartphone will have Rs. 250 balance per month. It is intended to enhance digital and financial inclusion, according to a report in Pakistan Observer.

The objective of giving away smartphones is to help increase farmers' productivity.  Digital access is is expected to reduce poverty in rural and semi-urban areas of Pakistan by supporting micro and small enterprises. Market access to the products of marginalized segments will improve their welfare and at the same time boost the national economy.

Lack of financial inclusion and the growing digital divide are known impediments to progress of the low-income and poor segments of the population. Any effort by the government to remove such impediments will help Pakistan's economy by making more people more productive.

 Summary:

Internet data usage is soaring with rapidly rising broadband penetration and smartphone ownership in Pakistan. Infrastructure is being improved to cater to the digital data explosion taking place in the country. Universal Service Fund (USF) is playing its part to support this effort in underserved areas.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Bridging Digital Divide in Pakistan

Fiber Connectivity in Pakistan

Pakistan Government Apps

Data Boom in Pakistan

Pakistan 2.0: Technology Driving Productivity

Uber in Pakistan

E-Commerce in Pakistan

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Xiaomi #smartphone is officially coming to #Pakistan as #PTA grants approval http://bit.ly/2g1qGNy via @techjuicepk

Xiaomi is now officially permitted to sell its smartphones in Pakistan after gaining approval from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Xiaomi Pakistan made the announcement on their Facebook page,

“Finally, Day has come. We have got approval from PTA now we will soon launch our product line in Pakistan. Cheers Fans.”

Prior to the availability of Xiaomi smartphones through CheezMall, they were being sold illegally in Pakistan. At one point, PTA even banned the brand in Pakistan because it didn’t fulfill the legal requirements.

A PTA spokesperson told ProPakistani that the company has obtained non-objection certificate (NOC) from PTA to start its operations in Pakistan as per government requirements. Xiaomi also cleared National Telecommunication and Information Technology Security Board (NTISB) test.

Initially, PTA has granted the approval for the launch of Xiaomi Mi Max and Xiaomi Mi 5 in Pakistan. Also, it’s confirmed that Xiaomi will not make the distribution through CheezMall this time.

Xiaomi smartphones along with other accessories like power banks, chargers, MI VR etc., will be available for purchase in Pakistan.

Xiaomi is Chinese electronics company and world’s 4th largest smartphones manufacturer. It started its service in Pakistan earlier this year through CheezMall, an online shopping website of Pakistan which offers electronic, mobile and sports accessories.

An official announcement about the launch and selling price is expected in a few days.
Riaz Haq said…
#Netflix to launch streaming of popular #Pakistan TV plays

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1266895/netflix-launches-first-ever-pakistani-dramas/

Streaming pioneer Netflix has finally launched Pakistani drama serials.

Netflix members will now be able to watch Humsafar, Zindagi Gulzaar Hay and Sadqay Tumhare on the global streaming service.

Pakistani cinema owners all set to lift self-imposed ban on Indian films

“Netflix California portal picks and launches its first ever Pakistani drama serials Humsafar, Zindagi Gulzaar hay and Sadqay Tumharay. Big milestone for Pakistan digital industry. Congratulations Team Humsafar, Team Zindagi gulzar hay and Team Sadqay Tumharay,” director Momina Durraid wrote on Facebook.

The television giant launched in Pakistan in January this year.

California-based Netflix, which began as a mail-order DVD service but is now producing award-winning original content alongside its offering of older shows and movies, launched in 2007. Now, 70 million subscribers pay a monthly fee for unlimited service.

Television giant Netflix comes to Pakistan

The company has been shifting from recycling old shows and movies to producing more original content, with its shows such as the award-winning “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” However, availability of original content could differ from country to country due to local licensing deals.
Riaz Haq said…
#Netflix Streaming Service Competitor Iflix Launches in #Pakistan http://variety.com/2017/digital/asia/iflix-launches-in-pakistan-1201963285/ … via @variety

Asia-based video streaming firm Iflix has begun operations in Pakistan. The launch lifts its operating footprint to eight countries.

“We are hyper-focused on localization,” said Farees Shah, iflix Pakistan GM. “With the largest library of Pakistan’s favourite TV shows and movies available from all over the world, iflix is primed to revolutionize the way Pakistanis consume entertainment.”

Operated from Malaysia, Iflix last year landed a $45 million injection from Sky, the 21st Century Fox-backed U.K. pay-TV giant. And it has been reported that Iflix is seeking $150 million of further capital that it would use for further expansion in Asia, and possibly further afield. For the Pakistan launch, the company claims 160 studio and distributor partnerships.

Its content at launch includes local TV drama series “Mann Mayal,” “Bin Roye,” “Udaari, Zara Yaad Kar,” “Pakeeza,” “Gul e Rana,” “Maan,” “Kaisay Tum Se Kahoon,” “Vasl,” “Mol and others through a deal with leading entertainment drama channel, Hum TV.

International shows available include every episode of “Friends,” “The O.C.” and “Gossip Girl,” and nine seasons of “Big Bang Theory.” Other shows include “The Flash,” “Arrow,” “Gotham,” “2 Broke Girls,” “The 100,” “The Last Ship,” “Person of Interest,” “The Originals,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Mr. Robot” and “The Magicians.”

The service will be available for a monthly $2.89 (PKR 300) with annual subscriptions priced at $27.80 (PKR 2880.)

Prior to Pakistan, iflix had launched in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Brunei, the Maldives.

In a separate move, a specialized new streaming service Ozflix is set to launch in Australia on Jan. 26. Called Ozflix, it aims to make available all of the estimated 2,000 Australian feature films ever made. It will start operation with a library of 250. Significantly, it promises that 50% of revenues will be passed on to distributors or rights holders.

Riaz Haq said…
The (World Bank) report ( The State of Social Safety Nets 2015) – which identifies India as a “lower middle income group” country – finds that all other BRICS countries, except China, spend a higher proportion of funds on social safety net. Thus, Brazil spends 2.42 per cent, Russia 3.30 per cent, China 0.70 per cent, South Africa 3.51 per cent, and South Africa 3.51 per cent of GDP.
Interestingly, even the two of India’s neighbours – Pakistan and Bangladesh – spend a higher proportion on social safety net, 1.89 per cent and 1.09 per cent.
The report says, “Despite having fewer resources for social safety nets, some lower-income countries allocate considerably more funds than the 1.6 percent average for developing countries”.

http://www.counterview.net/2016/02/india-poor-spender-of-social-safety-net.html

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/415491467994645020/pdf/97882-PUB-REVISED-Box393232B-PUBLIC-DOCDATE-6-29-2015-DOI-10-1596978-1-4648-0543-1-EPI-1464805431.pdf
Riaz Haq said…
90% of popultion in #Pakistan to have #3G, while 80% to have #4G access by 2020: GSMA #Broadband https://propakistani.pk/?p=117786 via @ProPakistaniPK

The Global System Mobile Association (GSMA) has estimated that 90% of Pakistani population will have access to 3G networks while 80% population will have access to 4G services by 2020.

Following heavy investments, 3G coverage in Pakistan — from all operators combined — reached 65% of population by the end of 2015, while it stretched to just under 75% of the Pakistani population by mid-2016, said the report that’s available with ProPakistani.

Key findings of report are:

3G coverage reached 75% of Pakistani population by mid-2016
4G coverage reached 18% of Pakistani population by mid-2016
There were 90 million unique subscribers in Pakistan by mid-2016, accounting for 47% of the population.
29% of Pakistani population use mobile internet (2G, 3G or 4G)
Mobile broadband uptake has been slow, mainly due to the fact that many citizens either cannot afford or do not know how to use the devices and services that deliver mobile broadband.
Pakistan still ranks low (as compared to neighbors) on enablers of mobile internet connectivity: infrastructure, affordability, consumer readiness and content
With time, Mobile broadband (3G and 4G) users in Pakistan are estimated to grow to 60 million by 2020
With continued investment – it is estimated that investments for 3G network expansion will reach $2.8 billion over the next four years (not including any additional spectrum costs) – and it will enable around 90% of the population with 3G access by 2020, said the report.

With only two operators, 4G rollout has expanded rather slowly and reached just 18% of the population by mid-2016. However, with Mobilink acquiring Warid and Telenor beginning 4G rollout in August 2016, 4G coverage will rapidly increase to 80% of the population by 2020.

Pakistan has an emerging digital industry, with mobile penetration and internet usage lower than many of its regional and economic peers. By mid-2016, there were 90 million unique subscribers in Pakistan, accounting for 47% of the population.

This is among the lowest penetration levels in South Asia, ahead of only India and Afghanistan. Further, less than 30% are users of the mobile internet (2G, 3G or 4G), ahead of only Afghanistan.

The report states that Pakistan has an emerging mobile industry: there are approximately 90 million unique subscribers in the country, accounting for 47% of the population. However, the enablers of mobile internet connectivity: infrastructure, affordability, consumer readiness and content, all rank low in Pakistan relative to its neighbors.

These enablers are critical to creating the right conditions of supply and demand for mobile internet connectivity to flourish. Pakistan therefore has one of the lowest penetration rates in South Asia, maintained in the report.


Riaz Haq said…
#China's #Smartphone Giant #Xiaomi is Officially Launching in #Pakistan on Feb 20 https://www.phoneworld.com.pk/xiaomi-is-officially-launching-in-pakistan-on-feb-20/ via @phoneworldpk

The launch event is going to happen in Islamabad. Smart Link has also announced that Xiaomi’s other eco products will also launch in Pakistan like bluetooth speakers, power banks etc . So, now customers can get all products of Xiaomi in Pakistan.

Earlier, PTA has restricted the sale/ purchase of Xiaomi smartphones in Pakistan. According to PTA Xiaomi is not obeying the country’s law and rules. Moreover, An IT expert, Rafay Baloch, also pointed out on Facebook that Xiaomi phones were allegedly stealing user data and sending it to Chinese servers.

Then soon Xiaomi officials announced in a Public Notice that PTA has withdrawn the ban from its product. In that Public Notice, Xiaomi said:

We would like to clarify that Xiaomi has not officially launched the sale of its smartphones in Pakistan. The ban proposed to be enforced by PTA is specifically targeting the unauthorized resellers who had been unofficially selling Xiaomi products in Pakistan, without complying with the necessary legal formalities.
Later on, PTA has confirmed that any company with official approval can sale smartphones in Pakistan and same is the case with Xiaomi.

We all know that, Xiaomi is famous for launching high-end smartphones at low rate. Not only Xiaomi, many other Chinese smartphone manufacturer has launched smartphones at low rate. This is a big reason why people are hyped up about Xiaomi’s official entry in Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan saw 13 million smartphone shipments in 2016, according to IDC, as the overall mobile market gradually tilts towards smartphones. The ratio of flip phone to smartphone shipments is now at 60:40.

https://www.techinasia.com/xiaomi-launch-pakistan

Chinese gadget manufacturer Xiaomi announced today it’s launching in Pakistan – the world’s sixth-most populous country – after months of speculation and official denials.

Xiaomi has expanded slowly since its 2011 debut in China, focusing mainly on Southeast Asia, India, parts of the Middle East, and Brazil. Its Pakistan entry is the largest since it ventured into Brazil mid-2015.

Xiaomi’s coming to Pakistan through a distribution partnership – as it did in Brazil – with Rocket Internet’s ecommerce marketplace, Daraz, which is present in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.

Jack Yung, Xiaomi’s sales director for South Asia, said three models will be available initially – the Mi Max, plus the budget Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4A. There are also plans to sell the Mi Band 2, but the company is tight-lipped whether the full range of Xiaomi’s products will eventually reach the country.

-------------------------

As the world's sixth most populous nation Pakistan is a big market for smartphone makers. The country was projected to have about 40 million smartphones last year. Qmobile is the current smartphone vendor in the country.


http://mashable.com/2017/02/20/xiaomi-launch-pakistan/#nIuXQ5yonqql

India is Xiaomi's biggest market outside China, company CEO Lei Jun said earlier this year. In 2016, Xiaomi had hit one billion dollar in revenue in the country. Even as if the company does well in India, it is losing its charm in the home country. Once the hottest phone brand in its home market, Xiaomi had slipped to fifth spot in the fourth quarter last year, according to IDC.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan adds around 700,000 #3G #4G subscribers in February 2017 to bring total to 39 million #mobile #Broadband https://www.telecompaper.com/news/pakistan-adds-around-700000-3g4g-subscribers-in-february--1190254#.WN0lRRWgLG4.twitter …

Pakistan added 692,741 3G/4G subscribers in February this year, ending the month with over 38.96 million 3G/4 G subscribers, up from 38.26 million in January, according to a report from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). Mobilink (Jazz) led the 3G/4G market with over 12.7 million subs¬cribers, followed by Telenor (10.6 million 3G and 4G subscribers), CMPak (10.7 million 3G and 4G subscribers), and Ufone (4.8 million 3G subscribers). Warid had 637,363 LTE network subscribers at end-February.

http://www.pta.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=269&Itemid=658
Riaz Haq said…
#Dutch #broadband firm to invest $10m in #Pakistan to expand Corporate #LTE

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1417700/dutch-broadband-firm-invest-10m-pakistan/

Augere Pakistan, a Dutch wireless broadband company, has announced that it will invest $10 million in Pakistan in a bid to upgrade infrastructure and expand advanced internet services for the corporate sector.

The company has been in Pakistan since 2010. It would “become the first company to deploy Corporate LTE [equivalent to 4G] in 11 cities of Pakistan,” Chief Executive Officer Jamal Nasir Khan said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Initially, they are investing $3 million in upgrading the existing internet infrastructure in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi by the end of 2017.

The company has already been providing 4G services in these cities. Later on, they would deploy the LTE (long-term evolution) infrastructure in another 11 cities, he said.

Currently, the LTE service is available to mobile phone users only. Soon, businesses will get the uninterrupted high-speed bandwidth and connectivity essential to run their operations.

“Augere will be capable of delivering speeds of up to 100Mbps per customer,” he said. Khan added the company had developed an understanding with mobile phone companies for sharing their antenna-towers in order to provide the new services.

Responding to a question, he said mobile phone companies still lacked the capacity and the capability to cater to the needs of corporate clients as they did not only need high speed, but also demanded consistency and consumed large data.

The LTE service is designed to meet high-speed connectivity and data transfer requirements of the corporate and SME clients, especially in tier-2 cities “where the corporate clients demand high capacity, low latency, unlimited volume, high spectral efficiency and flexible asymmetric service profile for large and small-scale businesses,” he said.

The company has a vast experience of serving some of the biggest names in the world of telecom, internet service providers, banks, fast-moving consumer goods, media houses and small and medium enterprises.
Riaz Haq said…
Data from Pakistan Telecom Authority as of April 2017


Total broadband subscriptions in Pakistan: 43 million including 3G/4G mobile broadband subscriptions

Telecom service companies 2015-16 annual revenue: Rs. 456 billion ($4.5 billion)


http://www.pta.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=269&Itemid=658
Riaz Haq said…
Tuesday, 20 June 2017 | MYT 11:10 PM
Axiata's unit expands tower business in Pakistan with RM386mil purchase

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/06/20/axiata-expands-tower-business-in-pakistan-with-rm386mil-purchase/#ULAxolertt2IJrkk.99

KUALA LUMPUR: Axiata Group Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary edotco Group Sdn Bhd is boosting its telecommunication tower infrastructure operations in Pakistan by buying another industry player for US$90mil (RM385.6mil).

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Axiata said edotco signed an agreement on Tuesday to acquire 100% of Tanzanite Tower Pte Ltd from Tower Share (Pte) Ltd.

The purchase is an important strategic development to edotco’s existing operations in Pakistan and allows edotco to expand its presence in Pakistan with a sizeable portfolio of about 700 towers providing tenancies to all major mobile operators in Pakistan.

Ninety-seven percent of the towers are in the urban areas.

“This opportunity is in line with edotco’s plans to scale up its Pakistan operations and makes it the largest independent tower company in the country,” it said.

The transaction is scheduled to be completed only on receipt of relevant regulatory approvals.

Axiata said the proposed acquisition was expected to complete in the third quarter of 2017.

Edotco has a regional portfolio that includes over 25,000 towers across Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan and Myanmar.
Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/06/20/axiata-expands-tower-business-in-pakistan-with-rm386mil-purchase/#ULAxolertt2IJrkk.99
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan adds over 1 million #3G/#4G subscribers in May 2017 to reach 41.72 million. #broadband #Internet #mobile https://www.telecompaper.com/news/pakistan-adds-more-than-1-mln-3g4g-subscribers-in-may--1200630#.WU6hhWSeeTE.twitter …

Pakistan added 1.15 million 3G/4G subscribers in May, ending the month with over 41.72 million 3G/4G subscribers, up from 40.56 million in April, according to a report from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). Mobilink (Jazz) led the 3G/4G market with over 13.40 million subscribers, followed by Telenor (10.98 million 3G and 4G subscribers), CMPak (12.49 million 3G and 4G subscribers), and Ufone (4.83 million 3G subscribers).
Riaz Haq said…
#India's #4G download speed is 5.14 Mbps, about half of those in #Pakistan, #SriLanka http://indiatoday.intoday.in/technology/story/4g-download-speed-in-india-is-5-14mbps-almost-two-times-lesser-than-pakistan-srilanka-opensignal/1/973946.html … via @IndiaTodayTech

n Wednesday, a New York-based wireless coverage mapping company -- OpenSignal reported that India ranks 15 in terms of 4G network availability out of some 75 odd countries. And that's with no doubt is because of the buzz that Reliance Jio created with unlimited data and free calls, some reports claimed. But, even after that, India still stands at the 74th position out of 75 countries in 4G download speed. The report comes from OpenSignal again.

OpenSignal releases a report of 75 countries with the most to least 4G download speed. And, to our surprise India stands at 74. Which shouldn't be the case after all the buzz that Jio created. Where is the Jio effect now? However, taking a closer look at the report, it highlighted that our neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Sri Lanka has almost two times more 4G download speed when compared to India. Singapore tops the list with 45.62 Mbps 4G download speed, while it ends with Costa Rica which could manage a 4G download speed of only 5.14 Mbps, similar is the case for India as well.

This is pretty much apparent, as even today, when a minister was seen climbing a tree to get better mobile signal. What else can we even expect? With such a situation, Modi's dream to make India go digital seems a distant dream at the moment.

After Jio was introduced back in September 2016, India witnessed a major telecom war, with other competitive telecom operators coming up with value for money tariff plans, offering free calls, unlimited data and so much more. This was all because of the Jio effect. The new OpenSignal report shows India with 5.14 Mbps 4G download speed, while Singapore that tops the list has a download speed of 45.62 Mbps, almost 9 times more than India. While on the other hand, the neighbouring countries like Pakistan is said to have a 4G download speed of 11.71 Mbps and Sri Lanka also managed to have a download speed of 10.42Mbps.

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