ISLAMABAD: Mobile broadband subscribers in the country are expected to total 47 million by 2020 and 79m by 2025, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

The current number of mobile broadband subscribers is around five million.

The mobile and related market in the country is estimated to be worth $17 billion per year by 2025, up from the current $4 billion per year.

The PTA in its Vision 2025 has said that key service providers will be encouraged to offer extended Over The Top (OTT) services such as Viber, Skype and work with third party digital distributors and vice versa to offer consumers value through product-centric services in a collaborative framework.

Also read: $1.1 billion raised from 3G, 4G auction

The collaborative framework will be built around regulatory and technical support systems, including availability of additional spectrum, spectrum harmonisation, spectrum and infrastructure sharing and other regulatory interventions and facilitations wherever applicable and required.

The authority envisions affordable and broad-based communications access to the consumers irrespective of their location in the country.

The regulator has successfully awarded the spectrum in 2100MHz and 1800MHz bands in April last year for 3G and 4G cellular mobile services and is gearing itself to stay on top of the developments in the 5th Generation Mobile Services Technology so that it may be launched in Pakistan in a timely manner.

Broadband subscriptions in the country depicted a growth of over 40 per cent last year, reaching 3.79m subscribers as compared to 2.72m during 2013.

This means that 1.07m new subscribers joined broadband networks during the year.

The latest data showed that Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has remained a major player in providing broadband services and has been successful in getting major share of broadband market by providing multitude of services and technologies under its umbrella.

Ranging from ownership of international optic-fibre links to availability of both fixed (DSL) and wireless (EvDO) broadband services, PTCL has maintained a hold on almost every facet of the broadband market.

Currently, PTCL has 80 per cent share of the subscriber base, consisting of 3.03 million subscribers, including fixed and wireless broadband services.

The Vision2025 also said the concept of smart cities and towns with extensive use of ICT will improve quality of life of citizens through connected transport, smart energy, contactless payments, mobile government and more.

In the next decade, access to affordable broadband is becoming as crucial to socio-economic development as networks like transport, water and power.

Mobile technology spearheaded by vibrancy and innovation has just begun to unfold its value for the society.

Published in Dawn February 9th , 2015

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