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Competition creating turmoil among Pakistani operators

With the mobile market in Pakistan experiencing a period of healthy and sustained development on one hand, and the fixed-line market languishing badly on the other, the operators in the respective market segments are unsurprisingly experiencing contrasting fortunes, according to Research & Markets. In fact the Pakistani mobile market has become highly competitive, with all five of the major operators vigorously battling for market share.

The market newcomers have been particularly strong in asserting their presence. Zong and Telenor have both grabbed significant market share quickly, and market leader Mobilink continues to add subscribers to its network, passing the 35 million milestone in early 2012 (there were 120 million subscribers in the mobile market overall by that stage).

In recent times, the operators have seen a slowing in the growth rate of subscribers, but revenues were continuing to increase with high usage by customers. In the meantime, the struggling fixed-line market in Pakistan continues to be dominated by Pakistan Telecommunications Company Ltd (PTCL). The end of PTCL's monopoly status in 2002, and with it the licensing of competing operators, has done little to change the commercial landscape.

Coming into 2012 PTCL's fixed wireline subscriber base had fallen to just under 3 million, this representing almost 96% of the total fixed wireline market. The private operators are a little better represented in the fixed wireless market with about half the subscribers in that segment (the total fixed line market including fixed wireless services was just 5.7 million for a teledensity of less than 4%).

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