Pakistan telecom sector Revenue: Big Apple in Government Basket
The report said it was the time when government launched an anti- terrorism campaign to cancel millions of suspected SIM cards. Due to loss of millions of these cellular subscribers after BVS Re-verification process, intense competition and low tariffs and a declining trends in revenues of the telecom sector were observed since last year.
The Ministry of Finance and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) reported that during the last five years - FY-11 to FY-15 - the telecom sector has contributed Rs744.6 billion to the national exchequer in the form of various taxes and duties.
In the first three quarters - July-March of FY-16 - alone, the sector contributed Rs105.9 billion. Reduction in tax rates, as well as, "rationalization of taxes on telecom sector can result into better sector growth, and, consequently, better collection for the government in the long run," PTA and the telecom industry believe.
"These telecom revenues are a big, golden apple in the government's budget. It yields more cash than several big industries. So, I doubt, if a major cut is on the cards," an official of the ministry of finance, told Khaleej Times.
Investment in the telecom sector in its boom period of FY-13 to March FY-16 totaled $4 billion, according to PTA. The period saw the number of cellular subscriber rise to 131.4 million out of an officially estimated population of 180 million - and it is still rising.
At the end of March 2016, the number of 3G and 4G LTE subscribers was 27.87 million - up from 13.49 million as of June 2015. It indicates that the subscribers have been added by more than one million a year.
The broadband subscriber base showed a strong growth. At the end of March 2016, their number stood at 30.99 million, up from 16.89 million as on June 30 FY-15. Most of the broadband subscribers belong to mobile broadband, launched in June 2014. The number collectively forms almost 90 per cent of the total broadband subscribers as at now.
The total international traffic, including incoming and outgoing, rose to 14,545 million minutes during July-March FY-16, up from 5,643 million minutes in the like period of FY-15 showing a 158 per cent growth.