ISLAMABAD: The telecom sector has invested more than $500 million during the last one year which helped improved infrastructure and other projects to ensure expanded services in every nook and corner of the country. In addition, Universal Service Fund (USF) also invested Rs3.5 billion during the period. Cellular mobile sector contributed in a major way in the investment.
According to data released by the Ministry of Information and Technology, telecom companies have reduced foreign direct investments (FDI) as compared to previous years because they have already laid down the required infrastructure. The breakup for the $500m investment included cellular services sector with $359 million, Long Distance International (LDI) with $109 million, Local Loop (LL) received $19 million and Wireless Local Loop (WLL) with $11million. During the last one year, telecom sector attracted over $79 million in FDI in the country which accounts for 5% of the total FDI in 2011. It said that although companies have invested over $12 billion in building infrastructure and other projects in the last six years, there is no denying the fact that there are untouched lands and grey areas that need new or improved infrastructure.
However, due to the terrain and security situation, companies are reluctant to invest further. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), recognising the fact, has worked out with operators and USF to make investments in areas currently out of reach from telecom services. An analysis of investment and FDI clearly reveals that the telecom sector needs an influx of new investments in near future to boost these figures. The auction of 3G licenses may boost the levels of FDI in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2012.