IN a landmark achievement, mobile broadband subscribers have crossed the mark of 100 million in the country.
According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), this has become possible due to the growing usage of data services in every segment of the national economy, popularity among users, and introduction of new and innovative services by operators.
This is yet another indication of Pakistan moving fast on the road to technological advancement.
Pakistan telecom sector has achieved many milestones previously also such as reaching 100 million mobile subscriptions in 2010, introduction of first ever biometrically verified SIMs across the country in 2009 and implementation of the world’s first open-source Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) in 2019.
Broadband subscription has increased exponentially ever since adoption of 3G/4G technologies by PTCL, service providers and cellular telephone operators, which deserve credit for their hard work.
It is also satisfying that the IT Ministry and PTA are also focused on launching 5G in the country along with a number of countries of the world, which would surely give a boost to broadband subscription.
However, the overall picture is not as encouraging as it should have been as Pakistan has been ranked 76th out of 100 countries on the inclusive internet index 2020 released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), falling into the last quartile of the global index overall.
Among the four dimensions considered for the ranking — availability, affordability, relevance and readiness — Pakistan showed poor performance in all areas, the worst being in the availability category.
As mobile data is considered as a game changer, we hope that the government, the PTA and other stakeholders would pay greater attention to all the four aspects to put Pakistan on the firm path of digital revolution.