Lead­ing the global mo­bile mar­ket

Enterprise - - Contents -

In a world pop­u­la­tion of al­most 7 bil­lion, global mo­bile pen­e­tra­tion has reached 86 per­cent. Sur­pass­ing the 6 bil­lion mark by the end of 2011, global mo­bile con­nec­tions will pro­duce rev­enues of up to $314.7 bil­lion which in­di­cates a sharp in­crease of 22.5 per­cent over the 2010 fig­ures.

Pak­istan’s po­si­tion in the top ten of the world’s largest mo­bile mar­kets in­di­cates the steady growth of the coun­try’s telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion sec­tor. At 9th po­si­tion, Pak­istan is emerg­ing as a ma­jor driver of global telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion growth along with the strong economies of Asia like China, In­dia, In­done­sia, Ja­pan and Viet­nam. Con­se­quently Asia holds nearly 50 per­cent of the world’s mo­bile subscriptions. The num­ber of mo­bile con­nec­tions in Asia has ex­ploded from 226 mil­lion in 2000, to 2.4 bil­lion in 2010 and rac­ing on to a fore­cast 3.6 bil­lion by 2014.

With nearly 180 mil­lion mo­bile sub­scribers in 2011, Pak­istan is see­ing tremen­dous year-toyear growth. About 90 per­cent of Pak­istan’s pop­u­la­tion lives in ar­eas fa­cil­i­tated by mo­bile cov­er­age while more than half of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion pos­sesses mo­bile phones. With fig­ures ris­ing ev­ery year, Pak­istan has the high­est mo­bile pen­e­tra­tion rate in the South Asian re­gion. Im­por­tantly, this growth rate ap­pears to be in line with the Mo­bile Cel­lu­lar Pol­icy enun­ci­ated by the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion and Tech­nol­ogy. The Pol­icy states: 1. Pro­mote ef­fi­cient use of ra­dio

spec­trum. 2. In­crease choice for cus­tomers of cel­lu­lar mo­bile ser­vices at com­pet­i­tive and af­ford­able prices. 3. En­cour­age pri­vate in­vest­ment in

the cel­lu­lar mo­bile sec­tor. 4. Rec­og­nize the rights and obli­ga­tions of mo­bile cel­lu­lar op­er­a­tors. 5. Pro­vide for fair com­pe­ti­tion among mo­bile and fixed line op­er­a­tors. 6. Pro­vide an ef­fec­tive and wellde­fined reg­u­la­tory regime that is con­sis­tent with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices. Ac­cord­ing to the Pak­istan Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Au­thor­ity (PTA), Mo­bilink con­tin­ues to lead the mar­ket with 32.9 mil­lion sub­scribers, fol­lowed by Te­lenor with 26.1 mil­lion, Ufone with 20.4 mil­lion, Warid Tele­com with 18.1 mil­lion, and Zong with 10.3 mil­lion. All tele­com com­pa­nies are en­gaged in broad­en­ing the outreach of mo­bile cov­er­age through­out Pak­istan and have pen­e­trated Azad Jammu and Kash­mir and North­ern ar­eas. More­over, five of the seven agen­cies in the tribal ar­eas have mo­bile cov­er­age.

For fu­ture sub­scriber growth, the ru­ral sec­tor of Pak­istan holds high sig­nif­i­cance. Ef­forts are be­ing made to cap­ture con­sid­er­able mo­bile pen­e­tra­tion in this sec­tor in con­form­ity to the high per­cent­age achieved in the ur­ban sec­tor. De­spite the is­sues of in­fra­struc­ture, the ru­ral sec­tor can be­come an im­por­tant source of rev­enue. In par­tic­u­lar rel­e­vance, a large num­ber of In­dian op­er­a­tors have de­ployed base sta­tions pow­ered by re­new­able en­ergy, mainly so­lar en­ergy. This trans­for­ma­tion is al­low­ing ex­pan­sion of mo­bile net­works into ru­ral, off-grid re­gions, where pre­vi­ously it was not pos­si­ble for high-cost en­ergy sta­tions to be built.

China Mo­bile has the largest re­new­able en­ergy de­ploy­ment of any op­er­a­tor with 2,135 sites in 2008, and ex­pand­ing to 6,372 in 2009. In the moun­tain­ous, iso­lated re­gion of the Qing­hai-xizang Plateau, 80 per­cent of base sta­tions are pow­ered by so­lar en­ergy, which al­lows China Mo­bile to oper­ate a net­work in a re­gion out of reach of grid elec­tric­ity, diesel trucks and main­te­nance en­gi­neers.

In ad­di­tion to the in­fra­struc­ture, re­search on Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Ser­vice Providers (CSPS) sug­gests that fur­ther mo­bile sec­tor growth can be achieved if mo­bile op­er­a­tors start of­fer­ing more flex­i­ble and more per­son­al­ized data plans, which should help cap­ture a larger mo­bile data user base. The mo­bile car­rier ser­vices need to adopt more in­no­va­tive ways to in­crease data rev­enue while find­ing smart so­lu­tions to man­age a grow­ing de­mand in data. Faster data down­load and up­load speeds and di­ver­sity in avail­able data on mo­bile ser­vices can po­ten­tially im­prove the mo­bile sub­scrip­tion rate fur­ther.

In the present in­for­ma­tion rev­o­lu­tion, if mo­bile car­ri­ers do not take ad­van­tage of data rev­enue, high mo­bile subscriptions would re­main fu­tile for the econ­omy

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