Mobile phone imports in Pakistan increased by 6.25 percent during the current financial year 2015-16 (July-March) as compared to the same period of previous year.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), total imports of mobile phone stood at $573.282 million while they were $539.581 million in the same period last year.
The import bill for mobile phones is likely to grow as 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 are available in the market.
According to the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Pakistan spends around $600 million each year on import of mobile phones.
As a policy priority, Ministry of IT(MoIT) is engaged with international telephone manufacturing companies to establish local manufacturing/ assembling units through Public Private Partnership or otherwise.
Chinese mobile manufacturers and their Pakistani importers have shown their interest in establishment of manufacturing /assembling units in Pakistan.
In order to facilitate local manufacturing, MoIT after consultation with the relevant stakeholders has succeeded in launch of a special incentive package for local manufacturers of cellular mobile phones in Pakistan which was approved as a part of Finance Bill 2015-16.
These incentives have attracted M/s Haier to set up assembly line for smart phones in Pakistan. M/s G-Five has also established manufacturing/ assembling unit in Pakistan and working on trial basis.
Telecom Equipment Import Declines
Telecom imports, on the other hands, saw decline of 2.18 percent during July-March 2015-16 compared to the same period during last year.
Total telecom imports were recorded at $1047.45 million compared to $1070.776 million in the same period in the last year.
Other telecom apparatus import also witnessed significant decline of 10.4 percent during this period as it stood at $474.166 million during July-March (2015-16) against $531.195 million during the same period of last year.
In the fiscal year 2014-15, Pakistan imported US$ 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. However, with the entry of local manufacturing units, the import bill may be reduced in near future.