One of the largest telecom operator having 40 million annual subscribers seeks Government subsidy for 4G enabled smartphones. Telenor argued that telecom industry contributed Rs 100 billion. This high amount should be subsidized to enable operators provide advanced internet to their users. Telenor Urges Government to Subsidize 4G Enabled Smartphones.
Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO Telenor told that the main hurdle for providing fast internet in Pakistan is high cost of 4G smartphones.
Telenor Urges Government to Subsidize 4G Enabled Smartphones
While speaking at the 17th ITCN Asia Conference 2017 Irfan said:
The government can provide subsidized handsets like Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad did to digitalise Malaysia and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to do
Some years back government established the Universal Service Fund in which mobile operators contributed 1.5% of their revenues. He further enlightened that USF should be utilized for spreading and expanding telecom services. It should also focus on broadband for gradual economic development specially in rural areas.
The amount of collected funds has now reached around Rs 100 billion since it has remained under utilized for quite some time now
In Pakistan only 20-22 percent of population is using mobile internet if we exclude multiple SIM users. This figure will likely fall with the rising taxes on 4G enabled smartphones. According to him, a digital emergency should be declared in Pakistan aiming to connect 20% of household to fast internet speed by 2020.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Syed Ismail Shah told that many people cannot access high internet due to high tax rates on mobile services. He revealed that they have raised this issue to Federal Board of Revenue however got no response.
Internet penetration will reach 50% of the population in next few years if subsidized handsets are provided. High internet speed is not a luxury but necessity in today’s era. Subsidizing 4G enabled smartphones will improve livelihood, lifestyle and ecosystem in the long term.