This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Pakistan’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the Telecoms Infrastructure, mobile, fixed broadband, Digital Media and Digital Economy sectors.
- Market and industry analyses, trends and developments
- Regional market comparisons
- Telecoms Maturity Index
- Data centres and smart Infrastructure
- Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU
- Broadband (FTTH, DSL)
- Internet of Things, 5G developments
- Mobile, broadband and mobile broadband forecasts to 2023-4
Pakistan’s telecom market had been struggling for a long time with the transition from a regulated state-owned monopoly to a deregulated competitive structure. Foreign investment has been an important factor in Pakistan’s telecom sector.
Despite the government’s promotion of internet and expansion of universal internet access throughout the nation over the past decade, internet penetration has remained relatively low in global terms.
The fixed-line market in Pakistan remains underdeveloped due to the dominance of the mobile segment. Further, the number of fixed telephone lines is slowly declining as the mobile segment continues to expand. The market is predicted to decline further over the next five years to 2024 as the mobile segment continues to grow for both voice and data/broadband usage.
Like in many countries in Asia, both businesses and government agencies in Pakistan are opening up to the benefits of third-party data centres for both public, private and hybrid cloud deployments. Data centres are established in Pakistan’s three largest cities of Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. Telcos with data centres include Telenor, Zong, Ufone. Major data centre clients include web hosting service providers, banks and other financial institutions. The major global social media platforms such as Facebook have some presence in Pakistan’s data centres.
The struggling fixed-line market in Pakistan is dominated by Pakistan Telecommunications Company Ltd (PTCL). The only other provider with a significant customer base is NTC.
Examples of IoT applications in Pakistan are solar-powered home services enabling rural households outside of the grid to power TV sets, mobile phone chargers and other electronic devices. Mobile operator Zong launched the ‘Zong 4G Smart Car’ solution in Islamabad.
Despite the efforts of the government to stimulate growth in the internet segment of the telecommunications market, for a long period it has remained a fairly sluggish component of Pakistan’s overall telecoms sector. The data and internet service sector has been opened up for private operators to invest and operate services in the country.
Fixed broadband penetration in Pakistan remains very low mainly due to the dominance of the mobile platform. Also, the limited and declining number of fixed lines in Pakistan is restricting more widespread development of fixed broadband. Penetration increased from 0.4% in 2010 to 1.9% in 2014, but then dropped 1.0% in 2019. Over the next five years to 2024 low growth is expected from this small base.
DSL dominates the fixed broadband market. It's market share has been falling over the past five years. HFC and FTTH have seen rising numbers, however, each still constitutes for a very low market share of the overall fixed broadband market.
The Universal Service Fund (USF) and Ufone signed a contract for a project of seamless broadband coverage on the Makran Coastal Highway. It is the first scheme under the Next Generation Broadband for Sustainable Development program with a focus on broadband coverage in order to allow seamless operations.
Pakistan’s mobile market has experienced moderate growth over the last six years. Mobile growth opportunities in Pakistan have been very substantial due to a young population and rising penetration of mobile services. Slow to moderate growth is predicted over the next five years to 2024. The market will be constrained from higher growth due to very strong local competition.
The country’s mobile operators are all fighting for a larger share of the market, forcing down prices and subsequently Average Revenue Per Unit (ARPU). The operators have been shifting their focus to Value Added Services (VAS) in order to improve revenues.
Mobilink and Warid merged their operations into a single brand, Jazz, which saw the number of mobile operators reduce from six to five. Further market consolidation is predicted over the next five years as the operating margins of the major operators come under further pressure.
Pakistan has seen a dramatic increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years. However, the mobile broadband market is still at an early stage of development with penetration well below most other Asian countries. Strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2024, driven by further adoption of 4G and eventually 5G services.
In 2019 the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) published guidelines for issuing temporary 5G authorisations to service providers, vendors and research organisations. Zong announced that it was the first MNO to successfully test 5G in Pakistan. It staged the trial at its headquarters in Islamabad, and generated download speeds in excess of 1Gbps.
- Both businesses and government agencies in Pakistan are opening up to the benefits of third-party data centres
- The fixed-line market is predicted to decline further over the next five years to 2024
- Fixed broadband penetration in Pakistan remains very low mainly due to the dominance of the mobile platform
- The Universal Service Fund (USF) and Ufone signed a contract for a project of seamless broadband coverage on the Makran Coastal Highway
- Pakistan has seen a very strong increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years
- Pakistan’s MoIT is aiming to introduce commercial 5G services before 2020
1 Key statistics
1.1 Country overview
2 Telecommunications market
2.1 Market overview and analysis
2.2 Regional Asian Market Comparison
2.3 Revenue and investment levels
2.4 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
3 Regulatory environment
3.2 Regulatory authorities
4 Fixed network operators
4.1 Fixed network subscribers by operator
4.2 Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)
4.3 WorldCall group
4.5 Wateen Telecom
5 Telecommunications infrastructure
5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
5.2 Fixed line statistics
5.3 Fibre networks
5.4 International infrastructure
5.5 Data centres
5.6 Smart infrastructure
6 Broadband market
6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
6.2 Fixed broadband service providers
6.3 Fixed broadband technologies
7 Digital economy
8 Digital media
9 Mobile communications
9.1 Market overview and analysis
9.2 Mobile statistics
9.3 Regulatory issues
9.4 Mobile infrastructure
9.5 Major mobile operators
9.6 Mobile content and applications
10 Appendix Historic data
List of Tables
Table 1 Country Statistics, Major Operators and Telco Authorities 2019 (e)
Table 2 Top Level Country Statistics 2019 (e)
Table 3 Pakistan's telecom revenues (PKR million) by category - 2004 2018
Table 4 Pakistan's telecom investment total and mobile - 2004 2018
Table 5 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in telecom sector 2008 2018
Table 6 Fixed local line subscribers by operator 2018
Table 7 Fixed-line (WLL) subscribers by operator 2018
Table 8 Historic - PTCL fixed-line subscribers 2008 2017
Table 9 Historic fixed-line subscribers and penetration 1991 - 2006
Table 10 Fixed Line Subscriptions and Penetration 2009 2024
Table 11 Fixed Broadband Subscribers (with Forecast) 2009 2024
Table 12 Fixed Broadband subscribers by access type 2009 2019
Table 13 Fixed Broadband subscribers by access type 2009 2019
Table 14 Fixed Broadband subscribers market share by access type 2009 2019
Table 15 Fixed Broadband subscribers annual change by access type 2010 2019
Table 16 Total international internet bandwidth 2004 2018
Table 17 Lit/Equipped International Bandwidth Capacity 2013 2018
Table 18 Internet Users and Penetration 2007 2018
Table 19 Historic - PTCL broadband subscribers 2007 2016
Table 20 Cable modem subscribers 2008 2019
Table 21 DSL broadband subscribers 2005 2019
Table 22 FTTH subscribers 2007 2019
Table 23 WiMAX subscribers 2008 2019
Table 24 Percentage of Population Covered by Type of Mobile Network
Table 25 Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) 2009 2024
Table 26 Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) 2009 2024
Table 27 Mobile subscribers (millions) by operator 2013 2019
Table 28 Mobile subscriber market share by operator 2013 - 2019
Table 29 Mobile subscribers by operator, annual change 2014 2019
Table 30 Mobile subscribers (millions) by operator and 3G, 4G - 2018
Table 31 PCML (Jazz) mobile subscribers 2008 - 2019
Table 32 Historic - Warid Telecom subscribers 2005 2016
Table 33 Ufone (PTCL) subscribers 2008 2019
Table 34 Telenor Pakistan subscribers 2008 2019
Table 35 CMPak (Zong) mobile subscribers 2008 2019
Table 36 Historic - Instaphone (Pakcom) subscribers 2000 2010
Table 37 Historic - mobile subscribers 1995 2005
List of Charts
Chart 1 Mobile, Mobile Broadband & Fixed Broadband Penetration 2019; 2024
Chart 2 Asian Telecoms Maturity Index by Market Category
Chart 3 Asian Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita
Chart 4 Telecoms Maturity Index Central Asia
Chart 5 - Fixed Line Subscriptions and Penetration 2009 2024
Chart 6 Fixed Broadband Subscribers (with Forecast) - 2009 2024
Chart 7 - Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) 2009 2024
Chart 8 Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) 2009 2024
List of Exhibits
Exhibit 1 Key Market Characteristics by Market Segment
Exhibit 2 Central Asia -Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
- National Telecommunications Corp (NTC)
- Pakistan Telecommunication Co Ltd (PTCL)
- Telenor Pakistan
- Ufone (PTML, PTCL’s subsidiary)
- Warid Telecom
- Wateen Telecom (subsidiary of Warid Telecom)