Mobile internet users reach record high

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The number of mobile internet subscribers reached a record 40.56 million by the end of April 2017 according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) experts Parvez Iftikhar and Noman Said said, “Anecdotal evidence suggests the majority of the people are using of internet to share video clips on WhatsApp and visit YouTube. The second highest use of internet is watching drama serials, mostly by women”.

He urged the federal and provincial governments and said. “They should speed up e-government services and financial inclusion via branchless banking to do away with long queues at government offices and banks”.

He asked for declaring smart phone and other internet-related things tax-free in a bid to step up the pace of digitalization and documentation of the economy. He saw a palatial room for further growth in internet penetration. “The saturation point is still far away, ” he said.

He was of the view that services like online shopping and low-rate internet packages were fast enabling people to increase the use of internet in the country. Said added that earlier people could not live without television, but now an internet had replaced the TV.

According to the PTA data, over 29% of mobile phone users are now internet users and they were standing at 22% by the end of the earlier fiscal year.

On an average, the number of mobile internet subscriptions stood at 976,600 per month compared to mobile subscriptions at 703,617 per month in the past 10 months, according to PTA.

Officials at mobile phone companies say they will soon launch large data video services and a big part of their income is now coming from sales of internet data and services. Data analysts suggested that the growth in mobile broadband subscription had outpaced the growth in mobile phone subscription.

The total number of mobile phone subscribers stood at 139.61 million at the end of April 2017 compared to 139.10 million in the earlier month.


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