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In 2021, the worldwide statistics report showed that the number of mobile users worldwide reached at 7.1 billion, with forecasts suggesting this is likely to increase to 7.26 billion by 2022. In 2025, the number of mobile users worldwide is projected to reach 7.49 billion. In Pakistan, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the number of cellular subscribers declined from 190.44 million by end-August 2023 to 189.740 million by end-September 2023. The Cellular teledensity fell from 79.87 per cent by end-August 2023 to 79.44 per cent by end-September. Total teledensity declined from 80.95 per cent by end-August to 80.52 per cent by end-September. The number of 3G and 4G users in the country grew by 0.320 million from 126.610 million by end-August 2023 to 126.930 million by end-September. The Monthly Next Generation Mobile Service (NGMS) penetration grew from 53.1 per cent by end-August to 53.14 per cent by end-September.

It is recorded that PTA received 13,596 complaints from telecom consumers against dissimilar telecom operators and cellular operators in September 2023, out of which, 13,459 were resolved. It is also said that the complaints were received against various telecom operators, counting cellular mobile operators (CMOs), PTCL, LDI operators, WLL operators, and ISPs, during September. Cellular mobile subscribers constitute a main part of the overall telecom subscriber base and the maximum number of complaints belongs to this segment. The total number of complaints against CMOs by September reached at 13,077, out of which, 12,971 were addressed. The PTA also received 125 complaints against basic telephony, out of which, 114 were addressed during September with a resolution rate of 91.2 per cent. Furthermore, 388 complaints were received against ISPs, of which, 368 were addressed.

Asian giants

Sources recorded that in a world increasingly interconnected through technology, the latest data on cell phone usage reveals that India and China have emerged as the undisputed champions of mobile communication, with a combined user base of over 2.8 billion people. As per present statistics, these two Asian giants are setting the pace for global mobile connectivity, solidifying their positions as the top two countries with the highest number of cell phone users. With an impressive 165 million mobile phone users, Pakistan now stands shoulder to shoulder-with worldwide giants like India and China, showcasing its rapid strides in mobile connectivity. Statistics showed that China leads the pack with a staggering 1.6 billion cell phone users. With its rapid technological advancements and widespread access to affordable mobile devices, China’s mobile market has seen continuous growth over the years, further cementing its position as a worldwide tech powerhouse. India following closely behind China is India, with an impressive 1.28 billion cell phone users. India’s remarkable mobile penetration is a testament to the nation’s digital revolution, driven by factors like affordable smartphones and widespread internet access, mainly in rural regions.

In third place is Indonesia, boasting 386 million cell phone users. As the largest archipelago in the world, Indonesia’s mobile connectivity plays a vital role in connecting its diverse population spread across thousands of islands. The United States takes fourth place with 327 million cell phone users. While it ranks lower in terms of sheer numbers, the country remains a leader in mobile technology innovation and application development.

Joining the ranks of the top 10 states in cell phone usage is Pakistan, with a significant user base of 165 million people. Pakistan’s mobile market has experienced rapid growth in present years, driven through increased access to affordable smartphones and enhanced telecommunications infrastructure. The proliferation of mobile phones in our country has not only transformed the way people communicate but has also opened doors to essential services like healthcare, education, and e-commerce. Mobile connectivity has bridged geographical gaps, connecting remote areas to the digital world and empowering communities across the nation.

Sources also recorded that according to the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, our country is gearing up to launch 5G mobile phone connectivity in August 2024. The Ministry has unveiled a comprehensive business plan for the launch of 5G services in Pakistan. The plan includes hiring an international consultant to offer guidance for the project, forming an Inter-Ministerial Advisory Committee to shape the future of 5G in the country, and developing an auction policy and business plan. It is hope that the Government of Pakistan will also take inspiration from successful models in countries like Bangladesh for the spectrum auction process. Importantly, the plan emphasises that spectrum allocation will not be granted to any single operator without a competitive process to ensure fairness and promote a competitive environment. To further encourage the expansion of 5G services, the business plan includes provisions for facilitating the opening of LC and laying fiber optic cables.

The launch of 5G services in Pakistan is a pivotal moment in technological advancement. It is expected to revolutionise the way people communicate and consume content. 5G will also enable new and innovative applications in areas like healthcare, education, and transportation.

The development of telecommunication sector is considered essential to improve and develop transaction processes, and to decline transaction and business costs. The advantage of the development of telecommunication services is to lower the cost structure of the value chain of business operations. As a consequence, the delivery of goods and services to the end consumers will be more efficient with a minimum cost. It can be concluded that telecommunication service is indispensable for economic growth.