Mobile Network Operators
The Pakistani cellular industry reached over 70% population penetration by the end of 2013. This was officially reported as 138 million subscriptions. This has resulted in a strong shift from price wars to value-enhanced offerings, with a focus on customer experience taking shape as operators battle to retain market share.
Regulatory changes in the last year have brought restrictions to the total number of connections that can be held by a single individual. From the initial threshold of 10 connections per operator/per person to the short-term limitation of 10 connections in total for each individual. The new law now limits individuals to a maximum of 5 connections. The key reason for these changes is bringing visibility of SIM users to the authorities in light of the security situation and use of SIMs for terrorist activities.
Mobile Handset Market
It is important to note that the Pakistan handset market still remains split between the grey channel and the manufacturer-led distributor channel. The grey channel accounts for those devices brought in by individuals on a personal basis from overseas, without any duties or custom clearance. For the distributor channel, devices are imported or manufactured locally and require PTA (Pakistan Telecom Authority) clearance; this is a new change where each imported unit is entered into a national database at the airport. All analysis/data below is for the official channel only...