KARACHI: Pakistan’s telecommunication sector sold five million high-speed mobile Internet connections within five months of acquiring third-generation (3G) mobile spectrum licenses with China Mobile Pakistan (Zong) dominating the market, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority revealed on Monday in its first ever public report on 3G and 4G subscriptions.
The four cellular mobile operators – that each purchased a license for 3G mobile services in April’s spectrum auction earlier this year – sold a combined total of 4.96 million 3G connections from July, 2014 to November, 2014, the PTA showed in a report released on Monday.
China Mobile Pakistan added 1.68 million 3G subscribers to the total, the highest by any operator for the period under review, followed by Mobilink and Telenor Pakistan that sold 1.44 million and 1.18 million 3G connections respectively – Ufone added 6,46,949 subscribers to its 3G network.
Zong, the only operator that won a 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE) license in the April 23 spectrum auction, also added 1,452 subscriptions to its advanced LTE network as of November, 2014 – the company started rolling out its 4G services two months ago.
There was no data for Warid Telecom that started its 4G services only last week.
While the industry got off to a decent start in 3G market, the overall subscriber base – which is almost entirely on 2G or GSM network – was down by 2% to 137 million at the end of November compared to 140 million as of June, 2014.
Of the five operators, Ufone suffered the most –losing 1.8 million subscribers from July, 2014 to November, 2014 and finished with 22 million subscribers. It was followed by Mobilink that lost 319,134 subscriptions during the period under review – though it retained its position as market leader with 38 million subscriptions.
Telenor Pakistan and Zong remained the second and third operators in terms of subscriber base with net additions of 114,840 and 58,051 respectively during the five-month period – Telenor had 36.6 million subscriptions while Zong had 27 million subscriptions at the end of November, 2014. Warid Telecom finished at number five with 12 million subscribers, losing 623,037 connections during the period.