Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/28/2014 -- Pakistan's telecommunications market is one of the most underdeveloped in Asia Pacific. The regulator has yet to auction 3G licences, leaving mobile operators dependent on basic 2G voice and SMS, as well as organic subscriber growth for revenue generation. This leaves Pakistan with significant room for growth, although the potential could materialise only in the medium- to long term.
- Pakistan's mobile sector continues to fluctuate due to events such as restrictions on SIM sales through retail channels. There were 125.0mn mobile subscribers in the country at the end of September 2013, up from 121.9mn in December 2012. Mobile broadband solutions, particularly EV-DO, continued to outperform and have overtaken DSL.
- ARPUs are expected to continue trending downwards due to the reliance on 2G services and rural expansion, as well as government-enforced network outages in light of security concerns.
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Pakistan is in 13th position in BMI's Asia Pacific Telecoms Risk/Reward Ratings, with a score of 43.9 out of 100. According to most indications, the economy is on track to record its highest annual real GDP growth rate since FY2006/07 (July-June), in line with our estimate for full-year growth to come in at 4.0% in FY2012/13. Among other factors, a critical driving force behind Pakistan's slowly improving economic environment in recent years has been the aggressive easing of monetary policy by the State Bank of Pakistan
Key Trends And Developments
The Pakistani government was yet to announce a concrete date for the auction of 3G licences. However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave the go-ahead for the much awaited 3G mobile spectrum licensing in October 2013. The government has issued 3G policy directives for the next generation spectrum auction, which includes keeping the auction technology neutral, and directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to hire a consultant for the purpose. The authority estimated that a target of around US $1bn to US$1.5bn could be raised from the spectrum licensing.
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