RAWALPINDI: Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman on Tuesday said Pakistan would be the first country in South Asia to test 5th generation cellular services for fast connectivity.

Speaking at the In­for­ma­tion Communication Tech­no­­logy (ICT) awards ceremony, organised by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), Ms Rehman said: “Pakistan recently won the GSMA award and ranked third in the list of mobile telecom operator groups.”

The government was working on a project to provide at least one mobile tower per 100 users in every village by 2030, she added.

Pakistan Telecom­muni­ca­­tion Authority Chairman Ismail Shah, RCCI Presi­dent Raja Amer Iqbal, officials of the Pakistan Software Export Board and officials of other leading IT and telecom companies were present on the occasion.

Ms Rehman said information technology was booming in the country and broadband penetration increased from three per cent to 27pc in the last two years. “We are working towards making a digital Pakistan. Digital economy through IT, freelance, start-ups, e-commerce and mobile apps are the future,” she said.

RCCI President Amer said the ICT award initiative was taken to promote a healthy competition among organisations in the IT sector. “The awards aim at giving merit-based recognition to those who have displayed outstanding performance throughout the year.”

He said the ICT sector had a market share of approximately $3 billion in Pakistan but no step was being taken by the government to promote the industry.

Mr Amer said Rawalpindi and Islamabad had a 40pc share of the total ICT business in the country as many multinational companies had established their offices in the twin cities.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2017