Cable TV Operators to Increase Number of Broadband Users

The numbers of broadband subscribers are likely to grow as the telecom regulator has started issuing licenses to Cable TV operator for Direct Subscriber Line (DSL) services on their existing infrastructure, as reported by Daily Times.

Official sources said the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) would issue license to potential cable TV operators after reviewing their working capacity, quality of services, subscriber base and service charges.

Recently, it has approved license to Karachi-based Cable TV operator and examining number of applications it received from big cities in the last couple of months, official sources reported.

Experts said the broadband proliferation would increase manifold with the entry of Cable TV operators in services market particularly in un-served and under-served areas. Besides, the numbers of subscribers are likely to increase in cities with the emergence of competition with other providers on charges.

According to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Pakistan has strong Cable TV profile with 2,346 operators catering more than 8 million users. The new entrants in the broadband services market will also prop up the sector for achieving its target of 5 million by the next year. The latest statistics available informed that the number of broadband subscribers have reached more than 0.688 million by January through different operators employing wired and wireless technologies.

PTA figures show the numbers broadband users have been increasing with five to nine percent growth every month. In the Oct-Dec 2009 quarter, the numbers of users grew by 29 percent as against the first quarter of current fiscal year.

In year-on-year terms, the growth witnessed 141 high in December 2009 comparing with 2008 as the number of broadband users were recorded at 0.376 million. Point Topic, an international research group on broadband, in its recent report has ranked Pakistan 6th in terms of users growth on quarterly basis and 10th on annual basis. PTA in its quarterly report mentioned the forecast of renowned research group, Business Monitor International on the broadband penetration that will be estimated to grow by 33 percent till the 2014.

The present growth pattern along with emerging number of operators in the services markets are kept in the consideration by research group. Also, the operators falling rates as the result of competition among players also suitable to match the affordability of the users. Out of ten major players, five belong to Pakistan broadband markets. Pakistan Telecommu-nication Company Ltd, Wateen and World Call have grabbed the handsome market share among all operators. These operators are providing broadband services through DSL, Wi-max, FTTH, HFC and EvDO. The share of DSL stands at 86 percent among all category of technologies whereas the number of Wi-max (wireless) subscribers are on the rise in different metropolis.

The monthly charges vary from Rs 500 to Rs 5000 depending on the data download capacity and its speed. The speed is offered between 128kps to 4Mps with data download capacity ranging from 5Giga Bites (GB) to unlimited. Besides major players, there are other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who have been providing Internet services to around 5 million users in the country as per figures showed by Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK). Around 50 operational ISPs are providing Internet connection through wire.

Via Daily Times