KARACHI: Getting rid of inaccurate data, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has issued fresh directives to the cellular mobile operators (CMOs) to only report biometrically verified monthly subscribers. As a result, the overall user base has shrunk by 20 million.
According to a notification dated July 3, the telecom sector’s regulatory body has made it obligatory for the CMOs to provide the former with only biometrically verified telecom data.
Read: Biometric verification: PTA lays out guidelines for overseas Pakistanis
The implementation of PTA’s directive brought the overall user base down by 15% to 115.4 million at the end of June compared to 135.8 million as of December 31, 2014, which was before the start of the biometric re-verification drive.
Following the terrorist attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School in December 2014, the government had directed the industry to re-verify its entire user base through biometric technology by April 12.
The CMOs blocked millions of SIMs that were disowned or remained unverified during the biometric re-verification of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards but continued to report subscribers who were active even for a day during the last three months, including even those blocked during the campaign.
The numbers on PTA’s website, 132 million at the end of April, therefore, misrepresent the actual market situation.
According to the latest data, which is available with The Express Tribune, market leader Mobilink lost 4.5 million or 12% subscribers to biometric re-verification and finished at the top with 34 million users at the end of June.
Read: PTA blocks 27.5m SIM cards as biometric verification process ends
Telenor was able to sustain the second position with 31.4 million connections after losing five million or 14% subscriptions. It was followed by Zong that lost 3.6 million or 14% of its users to end up at number three with 22.7 million SIMs active on its network.
Unlike the top three operators who were able to retain most of their users, Ufone and Warid lost 20% and 21% of their subscribers respectively. Ufone finished at number four with 17.6 million users while Warid was the smallest operator with 9.8 million subscriptions.
The market shares of the five operators, as per latest data, were Mobilink (29.4%), Telenor (27.2%), Zong (19.7%), Ufone (15.3%) and Warid (8.5%).
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2015.
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