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Wednesday, April 17, 2024  
08 Shawwal 1445  

Each Pakistani will have a mobile phone soon: govt

Pakistan's mobile phone subscribers shoots to 195 million from 160 million
In this picture taken on July 12, 2018, a student uses her mobile phone at a campus in Islamabad, Pakistan. AFP
In this picture taken on July 12, 2018, a student uses her mobile phone at a campus in Islamabad, Pakistan. AFP

Pakistan is inches away from achieving its goal of providing mobile phones to each citizen in the country where 195 million people out of the total 220 million population have it.

“When I took responsibility as the IT minister, in 2019, there were 160 million mobile phone subscribers in Pakistan. The PTA chairman is here, he can confirm it. But today in 2022, as of November 13, mobile phone subscribers have increased from 160 million to 195 million,” Federal Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque said at the inaugural ceremony of the Pakistan-ITU Digital Inclusive Week in Islamabad on Monday.

This means more than 88 per cent of people in Pakistan have mobile phones. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority also shows the same statistics.

 Figures are updated as of October 2022. Screengrab via website
Figures are updated as of October 2022. Screengrab via website

The PTA gets the data from mobile sellers and telecom operators, who provide SIMs for communication. The authority quarterly releases its data pertaining to mobile phone subscribers.

Last month, the government launched a programme ‘Smartphone for All’ in collaboration with the GSMA and a local company KistPay to start the sale of mobile phones at easy installments for low-income people.

Under the initiative, mobile phones valued between Rs10,000 to Rs100,000 can be purchased in three to 12-month installments with a 20-30 per cent down payment.

 The cellular market share as of October 2022. Screengrab from PTA website
The cellular market share as of October 2022. Screengrab from PTA website

But before this, the country started mobile phone manufacturing to achieve the self-sufficiency target. According to Amin, the country would have been manufacturing “Audi” and “BMW” today if it had started manufacturing automobiles in 1960s and 70s.

“Around 28 to 29 companies comprising local and international are manufacturing mobile phones in Pakistan,” he said. The IT minister explained that his target was not to provide a phone worth Rs100,000 to Rs200,000 to a person.

“For young people living in Rajanpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Naseerabad, Jhal Magsi, ex-Fata, Surjani Town, and Orangi Town I need a cheap phone in order to connect them to the digital world,” Amin said and shared that he was delighted to see international mobile phone companies at the launching ceremony of ‘Smartphone for All’ initiative.

“We will achieve our target,” he said. The national incubation centre in Pakistan has increased from five to seven.

Key points of speech

  • Rs65 billion ($226 million) invested in IT over the past three years
  • 70 new projects started to connect the second tier of cities with the digital world
  • IT ministry with help of education ministry and HEC plans to start BS and MS classes in modern education like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain, crypto, 3D printing, and gaming and animation

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smartphones

Pakistan

federal government

Aminul Haque

digital

IT sector

Information Technology

mobile phone users

Pakistan ITU

Syed Aminul Haque

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