Total telecom investments in Pakistan will reach US$ 2.4 billion by 2020, telecom sector revenues would cross Rs. 620 billion by the same year and mobile subscribers are expected to be around 161 Million, approximately 89% of the total population. According to the “Vision 2020” document prepared by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), owing to the continued trend towards mobile services, the fixed line subscribers would more or less maintain the 5 million average till 2020 while the broadband subscribers are expected to be 19.5 million.
The PTA “Vision 2020” document released today, says that, during the next ten years, improved quality of telecom systems and services would become a critical determinant of competitiveness in ICT. The growth and development of ICTs today has led to their wide diffusion and application, thus escalating their economic and social impact across the countries. Realizing the importance of upcoming convergence era where both information and communication technologies would be offered through a same platform, it is also fostering its efforts to promote the ICT sector by its proactive initiatives. PTA sticks to its mission of envisaging new and emerging technologies and their implications in a comprehensive regulatory framework to continue to provide fair and competitive market for the stakeholders, as well as to ensure high Quality ICT services.
The next ten years would bring in a ubiquitous personalized communication lifestyle where any service can run on any device, on any network and in any location over a Broadband connection. Only 0.47% of our population has attained subscription to broadband. Broadband 2.0 networks will eventually replace the current broadband networks. Moving to these new networks offers the chance to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs in the longer term for network operators and Broadband is a key tool to achieve these remedial actions, the document added.
e-Pakistan is a unique concept that has been envisioned for the next ten years. The notion aims to employ the substantial telecommunication infrastructure both in terms of fixed and wireless for resolving the nation’s social issues like literacy and health. These well built communication highways could be utilized to outreach a large segment of masses unable to encompass basic health and education services. The concept also focuses for knowledge sharing in different domains of ICT for development and facilitates multi stakeholder partnerships and networking among governments, industry, academia and civil society organizations of Pakistan. A huge wave of local content and applications is to be provided through this infrastructure enabling it to bring apposite values to people of Pakistan way beyond than the basic voice and data services.
Document says that, Mobile cellular technology has been primarily focused on the consumer market, acting as a substitute for often unavailable wired telephony. Now visions of 4G and beyond, including established technologies such as WiMAX are heralding the age of convergence. The most prominent example of convergence is TV over telecom networks. Mobile phones are now capable of running sophisticated applications and have become an important platform through 3G platforms. Mobile payments would stand as the most demanding service; the present effort by PTA to shape up mobile banking regulations in collaboration with State Bank of Pakistan is result of this foresee approach towards smoothening regulatory framework for mobile payments. Agriculture as a primary sector of the economy also encompasses huge potential to offer mobile agriculture services to farmers and food production companies.
The “Vision 2020” Document further said that the most business models of telecom sector currently still rely upon subscriber line rentals and usage charges. Increasingly, new revenue streams are appearing in the form of either access (usually to a Web-based service) or carriage charges (usually paid by content provider) or revenue-sharing with the providers of content and application services. This new revenue streams are expected to come into play especially for fixed line telecommunication market. Moreover, with the emergence of all-IP Next Generation Networks (NGNs), Internet Protocol Virtual Private Networks (IPVPN) will integrate voice and non-voice communications for enterprises. It may be kept in mind that most profitable business for fixed line operators is the enterprise data market yet voice traffic remains a cash cow, a continuing source of liquidity that makes the efficacy aspect of the larger telecom companies, the document added. The year 2020 will witnessed Pakistan as a country 100% NGN infrastructure-the country’s Internet backbone and unwavering local and international content utilization. The divisions between voice & data, circuit switch or packet or cellular and fixed- line, telecom or broadcasting would be a thing of the past, and operators will providing a host of services on a converged infrastructure platform.