We have a figure now which suggests that mobile phone operators lost PKR 2.6 billion on Chand Raat and Eid day due to a government directive that lead them to block cellular services in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Quetta.
It maybe recalled that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had directed all mobile phone companies operating in the country to block cellular services in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Quetta for security reasons.
According to ProPakistani’s estimates and data that we have got from cellular companies, a revenue loss of Rs. 2.6 billion was incurred due to cellular shut down.
Here is how we got this figure of PKR 2.6 billion:
According to Wikipedia and other official online resources, combined population of Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Multan is estimated to be around 32 million.
Considering that mobile phone tele-density in Pakistan is at 68.2 percent, then 21.9 million subscribers (total population in four cities x tele-density / 100) or 18.5 percent of total cellular subscriber base in Pakistan went offline on Eid day, leaving them with no way to communicate with their loved ones in Pakistan and abroad on evening of Eid.
Considering that ARPU (Average Revenue Per User Per Month) is around PKR 230, then average revenue per user per day would stand at: PKR 7.66.
At daily ARPU of PKR 7.66, average revenue for 21.9 million subscribers would be: PKR 176.75 million.
Cellular companies, when asked about the issue, told me that mobile phone operators make at least 20 times more revenues on Eid day as compared to any other day of the year. If assumed so, then let’s take 15 times instead of 20 times (to avoid inaccuracies) here is what we get:
- 176.75 x 15 = million or PKR 2.6 billion
Hence, it is speculated that cellular companies lost PKR 2.6 billion during the service shut down on the orders of Minister Interior.
Interestingly, even after bearing a loss of PKR 2.6 billion, no mobile phone operator has reacted in any manner or at any level. From off the record conversations that I had with officials of telecom companies, it appears that no operator is in mood of making any move to protest the blockade of cellular services – making a way for Interior Minister to repeat this stunt in future too.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, a body responsible for regulating and safeguarding the telecom industry, is apparently unmoved on this too. In fact Farooq Awan, Chairman PTA, was happy with the positive results attained by the blockade of cellular services.
With such a “Yes Sir” attitude from regulator, it is likely that we may see more such blockade of cellular services in the name of security. Should I call it democratic revenge or a Eidi gift that political government has bestowed the nation with.
It should not be forgotten that at 19.5 percent tax rate, government lost PKR. 507 million in taxes, that were supposed to be made by cellular subscribers. I am not sure if Rahman Malik sb will be held responsible for this Rs. 507 million loss or not.