Ban on SIMs retail sale to cost cellulars Rs.35b/year
STAFF REPORT IBD: Pakistans cellular firms would likely to incur a major revenue loss to the tune of Rs. 35 billion annually chiefly due to the ban slapped on the sale of new SIMs through retailers network. Citing a source in Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the paper reported that new sales fell by 75 percent, which translated into Rs. 4 billion as loss in revenues for five cellular operators in last two months. Additionally, the government earned 29 percent less revenues during the reported duration as compared to the same period last year. According to an official of a cellular company, if this trend continue in future, all the five operators may lose Rs. 35 billion in 2013 while the government will collect Rs. 10.5 billion lesser in taxes. Telecom industry is fearing that revenue loss due to forced network outages may grow big in coming days as cellular services are silenced during all national and religious occasions, which are usually the busiest and best paying days. The government, and especially the Ministry of Interior had kept a keen focus on telecom sector in recent months to resolve the issue of terrorism.