Pakistan’s local mobile industry witnessed remarkable growth as the companies have manufactured around 19,7 million mobile phones and smart devices during the last calendar year, especially after the government introduced a Mobile Manufacturing Policy to encourage local production.
Local mobile manufacturing plants produced or assembled 19.7 million phone handsets from January to November 2022, compared to 1.37 million commercially imported phone handsets, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
In November 2022, local manufacturing plants produced or assembled 1.56 million mobile phone handsets.“Due to increased local manufacturing, the import of mobile and smartphone devices has decreased from 10.26 million to a record level of 1.37 million,” a senior official of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication said.
Local manufacturing plants produced or assembled 24.66 million mobile phones in the calendar year 2021, up from 13.05 million in 2020, representing an 88 percent increase. According to PTA data, commercial mobile phone imports stood at 10.26 million in 2021, up from 24.51 million in 2020.
The locally manufactured and assembled 19.7 million mobile phones including 11.5 million 2G and 8.2 million smartphones. Furthermore, according to PTA data, smartphones account for 55% of mobile devices on the Pakistan network, while 2G devices account for 45%.
Under the Mobile Device Manufacturing Policy, he said around 30 mobile manufacturers have been issued licenses to start local production of mobile devices. “A mobile device manufacturing policy had been made to encourage local production and counter the security threat.”
Despite the increase in the number of locally manufactured mobile phones, Pakistan imported mobile phones worth $290.570 million during the first five months (July-November) of the current fiscal year 2022-23, representing a 66.08 percent decrease from the same period last year.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), mobile phone imports fell 1.92 percent month on month (MoM) and stood at $64.520 million in November 2022, compared to $65.780 million in October 2022.
Mobile phone imports fell 69.57 percent year on year (YoY) to $ 212.058 million in November 2022, compared to the same month the previous year. Overall telecom imports into the country totaled $ 455.731 million in the first five months of the fiscal year 2022-23, a 59.67 percent decrease from the same period the previous fiscal year.
The official said, the mobile devices produced by these manufacturers would not only be sold in the country but could also be exported to other competitive markets of the region and beyond. “The device manufacturing plants shall be instrumental in providing new job opportunities and low-priced handsets for Pakistani users.”
The successful implementation of the Device Identification, Registration, and Blocking System (DIRBS), as well as supportive government policies, such as the mobile manufacturing policy, has created a favorable environment for mobile device manufacturing in Pakistan. The PTA is responsible for issuing licenses to telecommunications companies, setting technical standards, and enforcing rules and regulations related to telecommunications in Pakistan.
He said the number of 3G and 4G service users in Pakistan had significantly increased and reached 121 million by end of November 2022, while the number of active mobile SIMs reached 194 million during the same period. The official informed that the number of broadband subscribers reached 124 million; whereas the broadband penetration was recorded at 56.00 percent.