“Every minute roughly 11 Pakistanis become a part of the cellular community. More than 430,000 SMS messages and 160,000 voice minutes are being exchanged even now as I speak,” said Rashid Khan, President and CEO Mobilink, Pakistan’s market leader in cellular services, at the ceremony to mark the completion of 100 million cellular subscribers in Pakistan.
Khan said, “This is not only a moment of joy for us gathered here but also a reaffirmation to the common Pakistani man and woman that access to technology is not a privilege limited to the elite, but a right that is available to them – that is accessible and affordable.”
Highlighting the contribution of the telecommunications sector in the country’s growth and development, Khan said, the sector contributes 3% to the country’s GDP whereas the total telecom sector revenue reached at Rs. 357.7 billion in the year 2009-10 compared to Rs. 333 billion in the previous year. This is despite the fact that the cellular industry in Pakistan is paying the highest taxes in comparison to the entire region. Incomes of 6 out of every 1,000 persons in Pakistan are tied with the telecom sector, he added.
Khaled Bichara, Group CEO of Orascom Telecom Holding, Mobilink’s parent company and Egypt’s largest foreign investor in Pakistan was also present at the ceremony.
Bichara congratulated Dr. Muhammad Yaseen, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) and the industry stakeholders on accomplishing this historic milestone.
Hosted by PTA the ceremony was chaired by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani and attended by dignitaries from leading cellular operators as well as Telecom Ministry and industry.