ISLAMABAD: Pakistan hit the hundred-million mark for mobile broadband subscriptions, the highest number of people connected to the internet the country has yet seen.  

On Friday, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced the digital expansion in a press release. The PTA said that the growing number of mobile broadband users was a result of supportive government policies, effective competition among telecom operators and its commitment to introduce and utilise innovative technologies in the country.

According to the data provided by PTA, there were less than 2 million subscriptions in 2012, however, the figure increased to 16 million after the introduction of 3G services in 2014. 

Currently, 87 percent of Pakistan’s have access to internet/broadband services at rates that average lower than the rest of the region. Furthermore, 3G/4G networks allow users an average download speed of 17.7 Mbps and upload speed of 11.3 Mbps (mobile), standing above the speed levels in other regional countries.

According to the PTA, mobile data prices declined to only 0.70 percent of the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita which is well below the UN Broadband Commission’s recommendation of less than 2 percent. All four national cellular mobile operators (CMOs), SCO and fixed-line broadband operators including PTCL, collectively have broadband subscriptions of over 100 million now. It has become possible due to growing usage of data services in every segment of the national economy, popularity among users and introduction of new and innovative services by operators, said the PTA.

Previously, Pakistan’s telecom industry reached 100 million mobile subscriptions in 2010, while it introduced the first-ever biometrically verified SIMs system across the country in 2009. It also implemented world’s first open-source Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) in 2019.

“We will be formally celebrating the occasion soon with all the stakeholders and national/international telecommunity,” said the PTA in the press release.


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