Govt, cellular companies urged to improve mobile internet usage in country | Pakistan Today

Govt, cellular companies urged to improve mobile internet usage in country

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said mobile internet penetration is highly unsatisfactory in Pakistan for which government should take initiatives while cellular companies should cut the price.
Pakistan has a cellular subscriber base of around 122 million with mobile penetration reaching to 70 per cent but a very small number of consumers use their phones to access internet, it said.
According to a research, the country has 30 million internet subscriptions of which only 12 per cent access the internet through their mobile phones, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. Pakistan stands 127th on the ICT Development Index out of 155 countries with many African and Saarc countries enjoying a better position, he added.
Dr Murtaza Mughal said that 160 countries have been reaping the benefits of 3G technology which has been delayed a lot in Pakistan.
An auction of 3G mobile spectrum licences can help introduce high-speed mobile internet in Pakistan, enhance internet and social media penetration, attract investment, increase smart phone usage, reduce deficit and boost digital economy as well as GDP, he added. The government can fetch minimum $800 million by 3G auction which will boost smart phone penetration from current 15 per cent and bring prices down to unleash internet revolution. Presently majority of the consumers using mobile internet depend on Wi-Fi because of low quality internet being provided by cellular companies, he noted.
The role of broadband in boosting economic growth and national competitiveness is now widely recognized; therefore, Pakistan can consider providing subsidy as present broadband penetration in country is dismal with 2,437,074 subscribers making it an underserved country. A popular semiconductor manufacturer has predicted that by 2015, 50 per cent of the world will have an internet connection, Pakistan should not miss its international commitments in the regard, said Dr Mughal. It took mobile phones 21 years to achieve one billion subscriptions in 2002, compared to 125 years for fixed lines. Today, there are over six billion mobile cellular subscriptions outnumbering fixed lines by five to one, with half located in low-income countries helping combat poverty.



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