Telecom operators invest $ 287.6 mln in six months

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ISLAMABAD, July 14 (APP): The telecom operators in the country,
witnessing a positive growth in the sector, have invested a
significant amount of US $ 287.6 million during first six months of
previous fiscal year 2016-17.
The main driver behind this investment was cellular mobile
sector which has invested US $ 262 million during the period.
Official sources on Friday said through enabling policies of
Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications,
the sector has not only witnessed steady growth but also contributed
to national exchequer in term of revenues.
The total tele-density reached 72.36 per cent at end of
March-2017 as compared to 70.81 per cent at end of last fiscal year.
The prime driver of increase of tele-density was growth in cellular
mobile subscribers.
The sources said in terms of overall investment in telecom
sector, the momentum that was started in 2014 for upgradation of
telecom networks for 3G and 4G services has continued.
The reported Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow in ICT
sector (IT & Telecom) for the period July 2016 to March 2017 was US$
55 million.
Meanwhile, as per statistics, mobile phone imports in the
country have witnessed increase during 2016 as compared to same
period of previous year.
Total imports of mobile phone stood at US $ 573.282 million
while they were US $ 539.581 million in the same period last year.
The import bill for mobile phones is likely to grow as smart
phone adoption in Pakistan is flourishing due to expanding 3G and 4G
networks. More affordable smartphones are now available in the
market.
According to the Ministry of Information Technology and
Telecommunication, Pakistan spends around US $ 600 million each year
on import of mobile phones.
As a policy priority, Ministry of IT is engaged with
international telephone manufacturing companies to establish local
manufacturing/ assembling units through Public Private Partnership
or otherwise.
Chinese mobile manufacturers and their Pakistani importers
have shown their interest in establishment of
manufacturing/assembling units in Pakistan.