Rob Conway, CEO and board member of the GSM Association, presented the award to Awais Leghari, Pakistan 's Minister of Communications & IT and Major-General Shazada Alam Malik, Chairman of the Pakistan Telecoms Authority, at the GSMA's annual Leadership Dinner at 3GSM Barcelona .
Pakistan' s government is acknowledged as having transformed the mobile communications sector in the country in a very short period of time. In the past three years, the Government has privatised the leading Pakistani telecommunications provider, introduced much greater competition into the mobile market, established clear rules distinguishing between mobile and wireless local loop networks, cut import duties on telecommunication equipment and reduced the import duties on mobile handsets to zero.
Government policies have had a considerable impact on increasing the mobile penetration in Pakistan . The proportion of Pakistanis with a mobile has grown from under 1% in 2000 to over 13% in 2005, representing a tenfold increase from less than 2 million customers to over 20 million customers. This achievement demonstrates Pakistan 's success in establishing a progressive policy and regulatory regime and the right market conditions for the industry to develop.
Rob Conway added: "The GSMA is delighted to recognise Pakistan for its work in mobile communications. In a short period of time, the Government has established a strong and clear policy framework and a stable regulatory environment. Its deregulation policy has been successful in stimulating growth in the mobile sector and, most importantly, bringing mobile phones within the reach of ordinary people of Pakistan ...This award aims to recognise governments, such as Pakistan , who have taken the sometimes tough policy decisions that move this industry forward to the benefit of millions of people."
Awais Leghari, Pakistan 's Minister of Communications said: "I am pleased to accept this award on behalf of Pakistan . Mobile telecommunications has been a key part of our communications strategy; the economic and social benefits it offers are having a great impact o n Pakistan . As we welcome outside investment, our economy is thriving, having grown by 8.4% in 2005. We now have a mobile industry that is globally competitive and developing at a rapid pace."