Impacts of 789 on Pakistani Cellular Market

Well, better late than never, at last PTA has achieved the milestone of centralization of databases with NADRA to reduce illegal use of SIMs. But, as every change brings in good and bad aspects with itself; let us review them one by one:

Positive Impacts:

1.    Elimination of illegal use of SIM
2.    Reduction in no-purpose SIM connection issuance

Secure the illegal use of SIM

No doubt, this step will bring good attributes like complete elimination of illegal use of SIMs. Sale of illegal SIMs remained hot issue throughout 2008 and consequently PTA blocked millions of connections due to ill-mannered registrations and ownerships of those connections. 789 will not only bring securing channel for SIM issuance but also provide proper ways to investigate the users of the SIM and will help our crime investigation agencies to reach the right criminals.

Reduction in no purpose sim connection issuance

Well this point is somewhat relative to primary interest of Telco’s, because, by that telco’s can control the dormancy issuance of the secondary SIM’s, as most of the customers will not opt for buying any mobile operator SIM until unless they really need it – because of somewhat hectic process will automatically give customer a situation to think twice before getting a new connection, even for their secondary numbers.

On the other side, Telco’s may bear loss as well, because of lowered sales of secondary connections; but if they manage stuff strategically they don’t need to sell SIMs for dormancy and then launches heavy budgeted promos to cater those dormant customers.

Bad impacts

1.    Decline in Sales
2.    Teledensity

Decline in Sales

Hmmm, decline in sales; definitely this service is going to hit decline in Sales to every operator depending on its 789 infrastructure. By infrastructure I mean call center traffic bandwidth pipe; like how many customers can contact 789 easily, and get through the operator with comfort.

Because, I got the feedback that it takes almost 5 to 10 attempts before connecting a call to 789 and then long music holds. My God, in this intense situation consumer will only opt for those services that are not efficient and proactive. So, definitely we could see some proper declines in services; but later on, I see cellular companies enhancing call center infrastructure.

Mobile Penetration

Well, UAE is about to cross 150% of mobile penetration with such a small population and huge number of expatriates. PTA Q4 results can provide us better picture about mobile penetration, but we cannot ignore the impact of 789 on mobile penetration as well.


I don’t think that Telco’s have taken 789 as a serious note issue because there feedbacks are not fruitful. Longer attempts on 789 could only bring more disloyalty and eventually increase loss of customers to Telco and bad word of mouth for services. But it is also an opportunity for telco’s to grasp the market with their efficient services to grasp customers with single tone of 789 and disperse good word of mouth in market – as 789 will one of the tool to get new customers frequently.