The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom wants to roll out 5G in Pakistan by 2023, as the telecom industry’s market size has risen to $16.9 billion after receiving $1.2 billion in foreign direct investments in the past three years.
The goal has also been welcomed by international investors, according to the government.
The ministry highlighted in a recent presentation on the sector’s performance to Prime Minister Imran Khan that projects have been launched for “deep fiberisation” by the Universal Service Fund (USF) to expand telecom services and internet even in remote and backward areas in order to meet future digitization requirements across the country and the launch of future technological needs such as 5G.
Over 10,000 kilometers of optical fiber cable will be installed throughout the country between 2018 and 22 to provide high-speed internet to 1,175 municipalities and union councils. According to the government, USF projects have covered approximately 1,800 kilometers of unimproved road networks in Balochistan, including roads and motorways.
Minister for IT and Telecom Syed Amin ul Haq said the government was betting heavily on growing IT service exports to $5 billion by the end of 2022-23 while remarking on the project’s significance.
“We will ensure affordable and high-speed internet to people in small towns and I am sure even girls from KP and GB region will excel as freelancers while working from their local areas,” the minister said.
In 2020-21, IT services exports increased by 47% to $2.1 billion.
According to the study, the USF has played a significant role in the building of telecom infrastructure for future digital growth by contracting out 43 projects worth Rs29 billion in unserved and underserved regions. Over 65 districts in Southern Balochistan, the erstwhile FATA, and interior Sindh served a population of more than 25 million people.
According to the government, the forthcoming spectrum auction for next-generation mobile services in AJ&K and GB will assist enhance telecom and internet services in these regions.
The Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) has started initiatives in these cities and towns to create IT development hubs as connectivity is extended to secondary and tertiary towns and rural regions, according to the study.
While eight software technology parks have already been established, the PSEB plans to establish 32 more in secondary and tertiary cities through a public-private partnership, which will aid in the development of the software development industry as well as the creation of white-collar jobs for inclusive growth.
It has been reported that the Pakistan Stock Exchange has listed 40 IT firms.
According to the ministry, various policy measures have been made to address the difficulties and needs associated with the development of IT and telecom, including the adoption of Pakistan’s first ever Cyber Security Policy.
Aside from that, the draughts of the Data Protection Bill, the NITB Act, the Social Media Rules, the PECI Rules, the APT Rules, the Personal Data Protection Bill, the Digital Pakistan Policy 2021, the Pakistan Cloud-First Policy 2021, the Freelance Facilitation Policy, the Startup Policy, the Artificial Intelligence Policy, and the BlockChain & Digital Ledger Policies have all been finalized.
The National Telecom Corporation (NTC) has also been converted into a successful business, with a profit of Rs504 million in the next year and Rs423 million in 2020-21, according to the study.
The NTC was also protecting over 450 government websites from cyber assaults and hacking via its services.
The Ignite National Technology Fund, which is a torchbearer for technology innovation and entrepreneurship in Pakistan, and the National IT Board, which is responsible for executing e-governance programs for the federal government to achieve the target of paperless working in government offices, are two other key entities under the IT ministry.