Published on August 14th, 2009 | by Babar Bhatti0
Target: 100 Million
We are talking about the 100 million subscriber mark for mobile telecom in Pakistan. So far in the first 6 months of 2009, we have seen an overall increase of 4.4 million accounts, taking the total to about 94 million. If the current growth pace is sustained, the number should be close to 99 million by end of December 2009. On this Independence day, let’s think how can we make positive contributions to Pakistan’s industry? For instance, what can be done to push the total to the 100 million milestone before 2009 end?
Back to the 100 million subscriber question, here’s a chart comparing January to June growth in 2008 to 2009 (left column is 2008, right is for 2009 for the same period). The first six months of 2008 were great for the mobile companies. Can telecom show a turn around and lead the economy? Let’s see how.
If you look at the economic outlook for Pakistan, there are many challenges such as inflation (12%), falling investment and high unemployment (with layoffs in telecom industry common). There are a few improvements as well, such as drop in imports, narrow trade deficit, bumper crop and increase in remittances from abroad. There’s only so much price cutting that companies can do. What we really need is the overall economic stability driven by better performance from the industry and service sectors. Regarding telecom, data and broadband is where we have a lot of potential to increase average revenue per user (ARPU) while adding value to end users. We need to look at using the telecom facilities such as broadband to create useful work opportunities and to make the knowledge workers more productive. For example, consider Telecommuting and distance learning.
- As more professionals work from remote locations (including those who telecommute or have home offices) there is still need for better and faster (its already reasonably cheap) Internet – both fixed and mobile. And it should be widespread, not limited as it is today.
- Educated women can work from home to create valuable services and content. Pakistanis are spread across the world and many services can be created using connectivity and creativity.
- Students can view lectures and tutorials from desktops. Access to some of the best teachers and educationists can be provided at a low cost.
In upcoming posts, I will discuss other ways in which mobile app development can contribute to our economic growth.