Telecom indicators in the first half of 2017

Cellular subscribers for the first half of fiscal year 2017 clocked in at 136 million, indicating a growth of 2.4% since July 2016, revealed a report by AKD Securities on Friday.

The subscriber number remains 3 million short of its peak level of 139 million in 2014, predominantly due to the re-verification drive last year.

“The telecom indicators in the first half of the fiscal year 2017 have failed to excite broadly,” said the report.

3G, however, has emerged as the bright spot with penetration now reaching 19% as compared to 7% in fiscal year 2014. The pace of growth in 3g/4g is also encouraging, up 18.2% since July 2016.

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Warid has taken lead in the 4G segment, which according to many is very surprising with 73% growth in the last six months, followed by Zong and Mobilink with 31% and 21% growth, respectively.

One must mention that with numbers this strong, 3G has become the fastest growing technology in the country. Adoption is on the rise and with 19% penetration in the country; the room for further growth is tremendous. However, 3G revenues are yet to pick pace as cellular operators continue competing on prices to gain market share.

Graph 1

Telecome story (1)

Among cellular operators, Mobilink continues to head the list with the highest number of additions whereas Ufone lagged behind, losing 912,000 subscribers since July 2016. Broadband statistics also remained dismal with growth trends remaining stagnant in DSL and EVDO.

Graph 2

Telecome story

Meanwhile, a clear shift in technology and preference is evident with mobile broadband growing by a staggering 16.6% in the last six months.

With an increase in the usage of internet enabled devices, decrease in the prices of handsets and cheap data tariff providing an open environment for growth, analysts are upbeat on the outlook of 3G, expecting a double-digit growth across the medium-term.

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