ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced on Friday that broadband subscriptions in the country had reached 100 million.

The PTA said there were fewer than 2m subscriptions in 2012, but after the introduction of 3G service the figure jumped to 16m in 2014 and now stood at 100m.

The telecom sector regulator claimed that currently around 87 per cent of the country’s population had access to internet/broadband services at one of the lowest rates in the region.

Moreover, broadband is provided over 3G/4G networks with an average download speed of 17.7Mbps and upload speed of 11.3Mbps (mobile) which is above the speed levels in other regional countries, it claimed.

PTA says 87pc of country’s population has access to internet services at one of lowest rates in region

Mobile data prices declined to only 0.70pc of the gross national income (GNI) per capita which is well below the UN Broadband Commission’s recommendation of less than 2pc.

All four national cellular mobile operators (CMOs), SCO and fixed line broadband operators, including PTCL, collectively have broadband subscriptions of over 100m now. It has become possible due to the growing usage of data services in every segment of national economy, popularity among users and introduction of new and innovative services by the operators.

Pakistan’s telecom sector has achieved many milestones previously also such as reaching 100m mobile subscriptions in 2010, introduction of the first-ever biometrically verified SIMs across the country in 2009 and implementation of the world’s first open-source Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) in 2019.

The PTA lauded the users and service providers for achieving this landmark and announced that crossing the 100m benchmark would be formally celebrated soon with all the stakeholders and national/international telecom community.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2021

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