Mobile phone companies, after the emergence of 3G/4G services, are striving hard to win customers from each other by offering attractive packages of voice and SMS including free calls — even off-net — and unlimited SMS bundles to their customers.
Cellular Voice Traffic
With 3G/4G services, OTT (Over The Top) services have become a major challenge for the operators to keep up with their their traditional voice and SMS traffic and corresponding revenues.
Availability of high-speed data on mobile networks has enabled the smooth provision of voice and SMS services through OTT channels. However, there is still a vast area of population still to be covered by the 3G and 4G LTE networks.
Moreover, penetration of smartphones in Pakistan market is still hopping around 15-18%, leaving a good number of customers to resort to cellular voice and SMS services for their communication needs.
During all this, telecom companies keep on incentivizing customers by offering extremely low-priced voice packages, tailored for different segments of the society to keep their voice traffic — and corresponding revenues — at par.
Resultantly, despite increasing usage of OTT services, average outgoing minutes used by cellular subscribers per month increased by 19.2 percent from 219 minutes in 2013-14 to 261 minutes in 2014-15.
There has been a significance rise in the cellular to cellular traffic as the operators continue to provide more minutes per rupee due to competition and threat from OTT services.
In terms of voice traffic, total outgoing national cellular traffic (to fixed and mobile networks) increased to 393.5 billion minutes during FY 2014-15 as compared to 345.7 billion minutes during the same period last year.
Cellular SMS Traffic
2014-15 saw the highest number of SMS messages exchanged in the history of Pakistani telecom industry.
In terms of SMS statistics, total of 393 billion SMS were exchange during FY 2014-15, as compared to 301.7 billion SMS during the same period last year, showing a whopping 30.3% increase.
Average SMS sent by each subscriber per month during 2014-15 also increased to 187, up from 180 average SMS per subscriber per month during 2013-14.
Note: All data and statistics mentioned above are provided by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.