According to a report prepared by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the total telecom investments in Pakistan will reach $2.4 billion by 2020. Telecom sector revenues will cross Rs620 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, owing to the continued trend towards mobile services, fixed line subscribers would more or less maintain the 5 million average till 2020 while broadband subscribers are expected to be 19.5 million.
PTA Vision 2020 says that during the next 10 years, the improved quality of telecom systems and services will become a critical determinant of competition 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 countries.
Realizing the importance of the upcoming convergence era where both information and communication technologies will be offered through the 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 a fair and competitive market for stakeholders, as well as to ensure high Quality ICT services.
The next 10 years will bring in an 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 long term for network operators. 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 10 years. The notion aims to employ the substantial telecommunication infrastructure both in terms of fixed and wireless for resolving 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 on 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, way beyond the basic voice and data services.
The document also 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 the State Bank of Pakistan is the result of this approach towards smoothening regulatory framework for mobile payments. Agriculture as a primary sector of the economy also has potential to offer mobile agriculture services to farmers and food production companies.
The Vision 2020 report further said that the most business models of the 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 providers) or revenue-sharing with the providers of content and application services. This new revenue streams are expected to come into play especially for the 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 witness Pakistan as a country with 100% NGN infrastructure. The divisions between voice and data, circuit switch or packet or cellular and fixed- line, telecom or broadcasting will be a thing of the past, and operators will providing a host of services on a converged infrastructure platform.
A version of this post appeared on ProPakistani.pk
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