Smart telecommunications have played a significant role in the digitization wave and have drastically changed our lives. In addition to that, the Internet has incontestably made the world a ‘Global Village.’ Like all the emerging countries, Pakistan is also at the cusp of digitization. The Telecom Sector of Pakistan is playing an important role in Pakistan’s Digitization drive. Moreover, Pakistan’s government, education system, health care, businesses, transportation, and socialization all rely immensely on the telecommunication sector for their smooth functioning nowadays.
Telecom Sector Of Pakistan Is Playing An Important Role In Pakistan’s Digitization
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) was a major player providing all core telecom infrastructure services including international data and voice services. After that, some of the foreign titans entered Pakistan’s Market making it possible for the consumers to no longer wait for months to get a telephone line. Mobilink came in 1994, Telenor in 2004, Warid in 2005 and Zong in 2007. In order to promote telecom industry, 3G licenses were awarded to Jazz, Telenor, Ufone, and Zong in 2014. On the other hand, Zong was also given the license of the 4G service. Later on, in 2016, Telenor received the 4G license and after that Jazz was also awarded the same license in 2017.
As a result of this, the number of subscriptions increased dramatically, playing a significant role in digitization drive. We all know that the Internet helps in business creation and improvements in the ways we work, live, entertain ourselves and connect to people all over the world. So, all the telecom companies that are providing internet facilities are directly and indirectly helping Pakistan in its digitization drive.
In 2018, Pakistan had 153 million cellular subscriptions, up from 250,000 in 2004, and 61 million 3G/4G data subscriptions as well. Telecom industry has seen a radical increase during the last four years. All the Telecom companies in Pakistan are now at the forefront of pushing the country into the digital century.
The latest reports by the GSMA and the World Bank have estimated that a 1% increase in mobile phone subscriptions boosts GDP growth by 0.28 percentage points. The good part is that the digital economy is offering Pakistan a model for inclusive and sustainable growth by creating jobs for women, unskilled, home-based workers and those in far-flung areas.
There are many insights by Jazz that have been helping in the digital transformation. Jazz Cash Mobile account allows you to pay all your utility bills from your sofa. In addition to that, it also allows you to purchase railway tickets as well. Jazz has also partnered with Careem to manage employee transportation and make the workforce more agile.
Furthermore, they launched the National Incubation Center in Islamabad in collaboration with the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom (MoIT) to bring entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators together so great ideas can be developed. Jazz has also done some commendable work in m-health as well. Its Healthpass application helps to improve health expenditure management.
It also allows all its consumers to find quality healthcare services nearby paying JazzCash. It is also available at all branches of the renowned Islamabad Diagnostic Center and will soon be expanded to multiple cities through hundreds of health providers such as hospitals, labs, and pharmacies with even more discounts.
Furthermore, Telenor is the first operator to pioneer branchless banking for the 85 percent unbanked and under-banked population of the country with Easypaisa. Easypaisa online payment has accelerated the country’s e-commerce sector by eliminating barriers in its progress. Likewise, Zong has also been quite active in introducing various mobile services to facilitate its users. Currently, Zong provides the largest 4G coverage in the country offering a wide array of services with superfast broadband connectivity.
In addition to that, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoIT) formulated Digital Pakistan Policy to rapidly transform the IT and related sectors of Pakistan’s economy. The basic objective of this policy was to take into account the increasingly transformed role of Information Technology (IT) across all sectors of socio-economic development, and a holistic knowledge-based economy. The policy also provided opportunities for local entrepreneurs and firms to acquire core competencies, experience, and credibility to compete at international level. Furthermore, the Ministry of IT and PTA prompted the digital ecosystem in Pakistan with the active involvement of all stakeholders.
The frequent sustainable development, accelerated digital projects, research and innovations, Software Technology Parks, subsidized bandwidth, international marketing, international certifications, internships, and training have played an important role in Pakistan’s digitization drive. In addition to that, there are a lot of incentives that are playing a significant role in Pakistan’s digitization. Those incentives include 100% equity ownership, 100% repatriation of profit, tax exemption on IT and IT Enabled Services (ITeS) export revenues, tax exemptions to startups. These are some of the areas that have been focused on accelerating digital drive in Pakistan.
A comparison of our lifestyles over the past 50 years is a testament to the rapid pace of technology. We’ve entered the digital era in Pakistan with a lot of developments happening right before our eyes and many more yet to come. Telecom companies of Pakistan have played an important role in bringing us to this point. Telecoms all over the world are getting ready to realize the revolutionary vision digital transformation has projected. With the world becoming smaller with billions of smart devices and connectivity becoming a way of life, telecoms of the future will have to consistently keep innovating and rebuilding their strategies.
Now, the new government is also working to bring some improvements and changes in the digital policy so that Pakistan can be transformed into a knowledge economy. Their aim is to make IT the top contributor to Pakistan’s exports and job creation. So, let’s see what will be the new strategies of the government to help the Telecom Sector of Pakistan in this digitization drive.