World it is said, has become a worldwide village and this is because of prompt, easy and accessible communication. Everywhere telecom segment has altered the shape of communication and this is a hot issue presently in Pakistan. According to the statistics published through Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), Pakistan imported mobile phones worth $760.582 million during July-January (2019-20) as against to $423.818 million during July-January (2018-19), explaining a growth of 79.46 percent. Import of mobile phones has increased by 79.46 percent during first 7 months of FY2019-20. Statistics also showed that as against to the previous year, on a year-on-year basis, the import of mobile phones recorded a growth of 141.65 percent in January 2019.
The imports during January 2020 were $144.437 million as compared to $59.77 million in January 2019. On a month-on-month basis, the import of mobile phones recorded a rise of 22.73 percent during January 2020, as against to $117.682 million during December 2019. Overall, telecom imports saw a rise of 31.36 percent during July-January 2019-20 as against to the previous year. Total Imports were also registered at $1.029 billion during this period as against to $783.453 million during the corresponding period of last year. Furthermore, telecom imports reached at $184.474 million in January 2020 as against to $161.895 million during December 2019 i.e. recorded 13.95 percent growth. Other telecom apparatus imports registered a fall of over 25.33 percent in July-January 2019-20 as it reached at $268.546 million as compared to $359.635 million during the corresponding period previous year.
When compared to December 2019, other telecom apparatus imports recorded a fall of 9.45 percent and remained at $40.037 million in January 2020 as against to $44.213 million in December 2019. Telecom experts are linking the phenomenal growth in mobile imports to the implementation of Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS). According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) it has blocked a total of 50 million devices since implementation of DIRBS. Furthermore, these include 32 million GSMA valid and 18 million non-standard i.e. non-compliant devices. Such devices were brought into the country by grey channels causing security issues and revenue loss to the government. Since implementation of DIRBS, mobile broadband (BB) penetration has grown from 51.8 million subscribers in January, 2018 to 76.8 million in November, 2019 explaining a rise of 25 million because of increased usage of smart phones. The total cellular mobile subscribers stood 165.4 million by the end of November 2019. In the next few years under the digital policy the government of Pakistan was aiming to grow the size of Pakistani Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry to US $ 20 billion.
The country is having great investment potential in communication sector; the Government of Pakistan was focused on offering ease-of-doing-business with liberal investment policy which had been acknowledged through international financial institutions. The Prime Minister of Pakistan emphasized that a digital ecosystem with infrastructure and institutional frameworks for rapid delivery of innovative digital services, applications and content was being offered to the IT proficient youth. It is also recorded that the major role of this sector in the economic growth of Pakistan being one of the highest tax paying sector and major foreign investment. The present Government of Pakistan is also providing competitive and transparent working environment for the telecom companies.