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Mobile broadband poised to push growth in Pakistan – R&M

After stalling following deregulation, Pakistan’s telecom market now shows major growth opportunities, according to Research & Markets.

Pakistan's telecom market had been struggling for a long time with the transition from a regulated state-owned monopoly to a deregulated competitive structure. Internet penetration remained low across the country.

Broadband growth had almost been negligible for some years, but there were some positive signs in recent years. The big change has been the arrival of mobile broadband in 2014. This has boosted overall broadband growth, helped also by the intense competition in the market place. The granting of 3G and 4G licences has certainly changed the broadband landscape.

The fixed line market in Pakistan remains underdeveloped due to the dominance of the mobile segment. Further, the number of fixed telephone lines is slowly declining as the mobile segment continues to expand. Overall penetration dropped from 2.6% in 2014 to 1.6% in 2015 and 1.3% in 2016.

Growth opportunities in Pakistan are very substantial due to a young population here and rising penetration of mobile services. The country's five active mobile operators - Mobilink, Ufone, Telenor Pakistan, Warid and Zong - were all fighting for a larger share of the market, forcing down prices and subsequently Average Revenue Per Unit (ARPU). The operators were shifting their focus to Value Added Services (VAS) in order to improve revenues.

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