AJK, GB phone network ‘bigger than rest of Pakistan’

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ISLAMABAD: Nearly entire Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan have telephone content, but the internet services are limited to 40 per cent areas of the region and that too is substantially the 3G network.

According to the Pakistan Tele­com­­munication Authority (PTA) Annual Report 2021, the teledensity in the region increased by8.3 pc over the former time 2019-20 to95.4 pc in AJK and GB which is much advanced than that of landmass Pakistan.

The PTA has said that the subscribers’ growth rate has witnessed a shifting trend over the last five times, the average periodic growth rate floated at 12pc.

At the same time, the consumer trend shows that Telenor and Special Communication Organisation (SCO) were the preferred choices of the population because of their fairly larger footmark in the region, compared to the other three drivers.

Telenor has over2.3 million subscribers in both the regions, while Zong too has entered well with one million just behind SCO with1.5 m subscribers.

During 2020-21, Telenor seized 42pc of the request share, getting a dominant player in the region.

Despite the vacuity of both 3G and 4G internet services, the 3G network was extensively current in the region.

The SCO was the largest fixed broadband service provider in the region, but its fast internet speed was only available in Gilgit, Karim­abad and Skardu in GB and in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur megacity in the AJK.

The SCO is a public sector organisation under the Ministry of IT & Telecom, established in 1976 to develop, operate and maintain all telecom services in AJK & GB.

There are only2.38 m broadband subscribers in the region with1.74 m in the AJK and0.645 m in GB, with maturity shares of1.07 m with the SCO followed by Telenor with0.801 m subscribers.

The periodic report said that while the communication services were shifting to the wireless mode encyclopedically, the significance of fixed lines will continue to dominate in the region due to the delicate terrain.

Due to this fact, there are only mobile phone halls in both GB and the AJK, since 2006 when the mobile companies were granted authorization to operate in the region after the ruinous earthquake.

Among these Telenor has the largest number of 476 cell spots followed by the state- possessed SCO with 422 cell spots and Zong 368.

At the same time, the PTA has expressed confidence over the significant growth of telecom and internet services in the current time and in the near future, substantially due to the fresh diapason launch for the region in September 2021.

Besides, the PTA has stressed that the benefits of Pakistan-China internet string will be reaped by the consumer of GB.

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