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The fixed line market struggles as Pakistan moves towards 5G

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The fixed line market struggles as Pakistan moves towards 5G

October 24
20:45 2018
This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Pakistan’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the Telecoms Infrastructure, mobile, fixed broadband, Digital Media and Digital Economy sectors

Pakistan’s telecom market has been struggling for a long time with the transition from a regulated state-owned monopoly to a deregulated competitive structure. Foreign investment has been an important factor in Pakistan’s telecom sector.

The fixed line market in Pakistan remains underdeveloped due to the dominance of the mobile segment. Further, the number of fixed telephone lines is slowly declining as the mobile segment continues to expand. The market is predicted to decline further over the next five years to 2023 as the mobile segment continues to grow for both voice and data/broadband usage.

The struggling fixed-line market in Pakistan is dominated by Pakistan Telecommunications Company Ltd (PTCL). The only other provider with a significant customer base is NTC.

Examples of IoT applications in Pakistan are solar-powered home services enabling rural households outside of the grid to power TV sets, mobile phone chargers and other electronic devices. Mobile operator Zong launched the ‘Zong 4G Smart Car’ solution in Islamabad.

Fixed broadband penetration in Pakistan remains very low mainly due to the dominance of the mobile platform. Also, the limited and declining number of fixed lines in Pakistan is restricting more widespread development of fixed broadband. Over the next five years to 2023 low growth is expected from this small base.

DSL dominates the fixed broadband market. Its market share has been rising over the past five years. HFC and FTTH have also seen rising numbers, however each still constitute for a very low market share of the overall fixed broadband market.

The size of Pakistan’s e-commerce sector is expected to cross the $1-billion mark by the end of 2018. Higher smartphone and broadband penetration coupled with increased number of online payment merchants expand both the total serviceable market of customers and the availability of online purchases. However there still are a number of factors that are inhibiting adoption including lack of awareness in both consumers and merchants and issues with customer fulfillment.

Pakistan’s mobile market has experienced moderate growth over the last six years. Mobile growth opportunities in Pakistan have been very substantial due to a young population and rising penetration of mobile services. Slow to moderate growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023. The market will be constrained from higher growth due to very strong local competition.

The country’s mobile operators are all fighting for a larger share of the market, forcing down prices and subsequently Average Revenue Per Unit (ARPU). The operators have been shifting their focus to Value Added Services (VAS) in order to improve revenues.

Mobilink and Warid merged their operations into a single brand, Jazz, which saw the number of mobile operators reduce from six to five. Further market consolidation is predicted over the next five years as the operating margins of the major operators come under further pressure.

Pakistan has seen a dramatic increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years. However, the mobile broadband market is still at an early stage of development with penetration well below most other Asian countries. Strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023, driven by further adoption of 4G and eventually 5G services.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had been instructed by the federal government to begin the process of conducting 5G tests and trials. Pakistan’s MoIT is aiming to introduce commercial 5G services before 2020.

Key Developments

  • Rapid roll out of 4G networks has seen strong uptake of mobile broadband.
  • The fixed line market remains underdeveloped due to the dominance of the mobile segment.
  • The fixed line market is predicted to decline further over the next five years to 2023.
  • Fixed broadband penetration in Pakistan remains very low mainly due to the dominance of the mobile platform.
  • E-commerce in Pakistan will be a US$1 billion market by 2020.
  • Pakistan’s MoIT is aiming to introduce commercial 5G services before 2020.

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