Mobile phone imports in Pakistan have increased by 10.39 percent in the current financial year 2015-16 (July-January) as compared to the same period of previous year.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), total imports of mobile phone stood at $433.276 million while they were $392.493 million in the same period last year.
Overall telecom imports saw a significant decline of 5.5 percent during July- January 2015-16 compared to the same period in the last year. Total telecom imports were recorded at $800.127 million compared to $846.713 million in the same period in the last year.
Other telecom apparatus import also witnessed significant decline of 19.23 percent during this period as it stood at $366.851 million during July-January (2015-16) against $454.220 million during the same period of last year.
In the next two years, smartphones are expected to cross 55% of mobile phone imports. Smart phone adoption in Pakistan is expected to grow due to expanding 3G and 4G networks (currently 3G services are available in more than 200 cities and towns) and more affordable smartphones being available in the market.
Moreover, according to Grappetite Research (July 2014), 77% of the smartphone users are between the ages of 21-30 years, which is the most adaptive segment for the use of smartphones.
Cellular mobile operators have also collaborated with smartphone manufacturers to promote smartphone usage in Pakistan. Companies have also started developing mobile apps and mobile websites keeping in view the fast adoption of smartphones in Pakistan, which will increase the smartphone usage in future.
With the rapid expansion of mobile broadband networks and adoption of smartphones in the society, the telecom import burden has gradually increased over the last five years. In the FY 2014-15, Pakistan imported US$ 1.2 billion worth of telecom equipment, in which a record import of US$ 629.9 million was on account of cellular mobile handsets imports.
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), Pakistan remained one of the fastest growing markets for smartphones shipments in 2015 – 123% growth was registered in smartphone shipments to Pakistan between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015.
Currently, almost 31% of the cellular mobile handsets imported in Pakistan are smartphones, which were only about 7% in 2012. In order to tap the potential of over US$ 1.2 billion market of telecom equipment (including handsets) in Pakistan, government is encouraging foreign investment in this area and has announced fiscal incentives for manufacturing and assembly of telecom equipment.